Revision summary help for the 9-1 Edexcel GCSE Combined Science 1st physics exam paper 5 - learning objectives

Edexcel GCSE Grade 9-1 Combined Science 1SC0 Paper 5 Physics 1 - Edexcel Grade 9-1 GCSE Combined Science physics Topic 1 "Key concepts of physics", Topic 2 "Motion and forces", Topic 3 "Conservation of energy", Topic 4 "", Topic 5 "Waves", Topic 6 "Light and the electromagnetic spectrum"

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  1. ALL my unofficial GCSE (Grade 9-1) revision help summaries are based on the NEW 2016 official Edexcel (Grade 9-1) GCSE CHEMISTRY/combined science physics specifications.

  2. Make sure you know whether you are doing separate science Edexcel GCSE grade 9-1 PHYSICS OR Edexcel GCSE grade 9-1 Combined Science physics.

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Syllabus-specification CONTENT INDEX of revision summary notes

Revision summaries for Edexcel 9-1 GCSE Combined Science Paper 5 Physics 1 (this page)

What's assessed in this paper?

SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics   (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 5 physics 1)

SUMMARY Topic 2 – Motion and Forces   (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 5 physics 1)

SUMMARY Topic 3 – Conservation of energy   (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 5 physics 1)

SUMMARY Topic 4 – Waves   (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 5 physics 1)

SUMMARY Topic 5 – Light and the electromagnetic spectrum  (Edexcel GCSE comb. sci. paper 5 physics 1)

SUMMARY Topic 6 – Radioactivity   (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 5 physics 1)


Revision summaries for Edexcel 9-1 GCSE Combined Science Paper 6 Physics 2 (separate page)

What's assessed in this paper?

SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics  (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)

SUMMARY Topic 8 – Energy - Forces doing work  (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)

SUMMARY Topic 9 – Forces and their effects  (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)

SUMMARY Topic 10 – Electricity and circuits  (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)

SUMMARY Topic 12 – Magnetism and the motor effect   (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)

SUMMARY Topic 13 – Electromagnetic induction  (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)

SUMMARY Topic 14 – Particle model   (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)

SUMMARY Topic 15 – Forces and matter  (Edexcel GCSE combined science paper 6 physics 2)


TOPICS  for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Combined Science Paper 5 Physics 1



TOPICS for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Combined Science Paper 5 Physics 1

Note: a P after the learning objective indicates it is for Edexcel GCSE Physics ONLY, NOT for Combined Science

(HT only) means higher tier only (NOT FT), (Edexcel GCSE physics only) means NOT for Combined Science physics

Topic 1 is common to all Physics Papers


Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics 

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 1 "Key concepts of physics")

1.1 Be able to recall and use the following SI units:

metre, unit symbol: m;   kilogram unit symbol: kg;   second unit symbol: s

ampere unit symbol: A;  kelvin unit symbol: K;   mole unit symbol: mol;

AND some derived units with special names: name unit abbreviation:

Frequency hertz Hz,  Force newton N, Energy joule J, Power watt W, Pressure pascal Pa, Electric charge coulomb C

Electric potential difference volt V,  Electric resistance ohm Ω,  Magnetic flux density tesla T

1.2 Be able to recall and use multiples and sub-multiples of units, including:

giga (G, 109),  mega (M, 106),  kilo (k, 103), centi  (c, 10-2),  milli (m, 10-3),  micro (μ, 10-6)  and  nano (n, 10-9)

1.3 Be able to convert between different units, including hours to seconds.

1.4 Be able to use significant figures and standard form where appropriate


Topics for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Combined Science Paper 5 physics 1

Topic 2   Motion and forces

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 2 "Motion and forces")



Topic 2 Motion and Forces 

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 2 "Motion and forces")

You should be able to ....

2.1 Be able to explain that a scalar quantity has magnitude (size) but no specific direction

2.2 Be able to explain that a vector quantity has both magnitude (size) and a specific direction

2.3 Be able to explain the difference between vector and scalar quantities

2.4 Be able to recall vector and scalar quantities, including:

(a) displacement/distance

(b) velocity/speed

(c) acceleration

(d) force

(e) weight/mass

(f) momentum

(g) energy

2.5 Be able to recall that velocity is speed in a stated direction

2.6 Be able to recall and use the equations:

(a) (average) speed (metre per second, m/s) = distance (metre, m) ÷ time (s)

(b) distance travelled (metre, m) = average speed (metre per second, m/s) × time (s)

2.7 Be able to analyse distance/time graphs including determination of speed from the gradient

2.8 Be able to recall and use the equation:

acceleration (metre per second squared, m/s2) = change in velocity (metre per second, m/s) ÷ time taken (second, s)

 a = (v - u) / t

2.9 Be able to use the equation:

(final velocity)2 ((metre/second)2, (m/s)2) – (initial velocity)2 ((metre/second)2, (m/s)2)

= 2 × acceleration (metre per second squared, m/s2) × distance (metre, m)

v2 – u2 = 2 × a × x

2.10 Be able to analyse velocity/time graphs to:

(a) compare acceleration from gradients qualitatively

(b) calculate the acceleration from the gradient (for uniform acceleration only)

(c) determine the distance travelled using the area between the graph line and the time axis (for uniform acceleration only)

2.11 Be able to describe a range of laboratory methods for determining the speeds of objects such as the use of light gates

2.12 Be able to recall some typical speeds encountered in everyday experience for wind and sound, and for walking, running, cycling and other transportation systems

2.13 Be able to recall that the acceleration, g, in free fall is 10 m/s2 and be able to estimate the magnitudes of everyday accelerations

2.14 Be able to recall Newton’s first law and use it in the following situations:

(a) where the resultant force on a body is zero, i.e. the body is moving at a constant velocity or is at rest

(b) where the resultant force is not zero, i.e. the speed and/or direction of the body change(s)

2.15 Be able to recall and use Newton’s second law as:

 force (newton, N) = mass (kilogram, kg) × acceleration (metre per second squared, m/s2)

F = m × a

2.16 Be able to define weight recall and use the equation:

weight (newton, N) = mass (kilogram, kg) × gravitational field strength (newton per kilogram, N/kg)

W = m × g

2.17 Be able to describe how weight is measured

2.18 Be able to describe the relationship between the weight of a body and the gravitational field strength

2.19 Revise investigating the relationship between force, mass and acceleration by varying the masses added to trolleys

2.20 (HT only) Be able to explain that an object moving in a circular orbit at constant speed has a changing velocity (qualitative only)

2.21 (HT only) Be able to explain that for motion in a circle there must be a resultant force known as a centripetal force that acts towards the centre of the circle

2.22 (HT only) Be able to explain that inertial mass is a measure of how difficult it is to change the velocity of an object (including from rest) and know that it is defined as the ratio of force over acceleration

2.23 Be able to recall and apply Newton’s third law both to equilibrium situations and (HT only) to collision interactions and relate it to the conservation of momentum in collisions

2.24 (HT only) Be able to define momentum and recall and use the equation:

momentum (kilogram metre per second, kg m/s) = mass (kilogram, kg) × velocity (metre per second, m/s)

p = m × v

2.25 (HT only) Be able to describe examples of momentum in collisions

2.26 (HT only) Be able to use Newton’s second law as:

force (newton, N) = change in momentum (kilogram metre per second, kg m/s) ÷ time (second, s)

F = (mv - mu) / t

2.27 Be able to explain methods of measuring human reaction times and recall typical results

2.28 Be able to recall that the stopping distance of a vehicle is made up of the sum of the thinking distance and the braking distance

2.29 Be able to explain that the stopping distance of a vehicle is affected by a range of factors including:

(a) the mass of the vehicle

(b) the speed of the vehicle

(c) the driver’s reaction time

(d) the state of the vehicle’s brakes

(e) the state of the road

(f) the amount of friction between the tyre and the road surface

2.30 Be able to describe the factors affecting a driver’s reaction time including drugs and distractions

2.31 Be able to explain the dangers caused by large decelerations and (HT only) estimate the forces involved in typical situations on a public road

Practicals worth revising

Investigate the acceleration, g, in free fall and the magnitudes of everyday accelerations.

Investigate conservation of momentum during collisions.

Investigate inelastic collisions with the two objects remaining together after the collision and also ‘near’ elastic collisions.

Investigate the relationship between mass and weight.

Investigate how crumple zones can be used to reduce the forces in collisions.


Topic 3   Conservation of energy

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 3 "Conservation of energy")



Topic 3 Conservation of energy 

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 3 "Conservation of energy")

3.1 Recall and use the equation to calculate the change in gravitational PE when an object is raised above the ground:

change in gravitational potential energy (joule, J) = mass (kilogram, kg) × gravitational field strength (newton per kilogram, N/kg) × change in vertical height (metre, m)

ΔGPE = m × g × Δh

3.2 Be able to recall and use the equation to calculate the amounts of energy associated with a moving object:

kinetic energy (joule, J) = ˝ × mass (kilogram, kg) × (speed)2 ((metre/second)2, (m/s)2)

KE = ˝ × m × v2

3.3 Be able to draw and interpret diagrams to represent energy transfers

3.4 Be able to explain what is meant by conservation of energy

3.5 Be able to analyse the changes involved in the way energy is stored when a system changes, including:

(a) an object projected upwards or up a slope

(b) a moving object hitting an obstacle

(c) an object being accelerated by a constant force

(d) a vehicle slowing down

(e) bringing water to a boil in an electric kettle

3.6 Be able to explain, with examples, that, where there are energy transfers in a system, there is no net change to the total energy of a closed system

3.7 Be able to explain that mechanical processes become wasteful when they cause a rise in temperature so dissipating energy in heating the surroundings

3.8 Be able to explain, using examples, how in all system changes, energy is dissipated so that it is stored in less useful ways

3.9 Be able to explain ways of reducing unwanted energy transfer including through lubrication, thermal insulation

3.10 Be able to describe the effects of the thickness and thermal conductivity of the walls of a building on its rate of cooling qualitatively

3.11 Be able to recall and use the equation:

efficiency = (useful energy transferred by the device) / (total energy supplied to the device)

multiply by 100 to get percentage efficiency

3.12 (HT only) Be able to explain how efficiency can be increased

3.13 Be able to describe the main energy sources available for use on Earth (including fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, bio-fuel, wind, hydroelectricity, the tides and the Sun), and compare the ways in which both renewable and non-renewable sources are used

3.14 Be able to explain patterns and trends in the use of energy resources

Practical investigating conservation of energy


Topic 4  WAVES

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 4 "Waves")



Topic 4 Waves 

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 4 "Waves")

You should be able to ....

4.1 Be able to recall that waves transfer energy and information without transferring matter

4.2 Be able to describe evidence that with water and sound waves it is the wave and not the water or air itself that travels

4.3 Be able to define and use the terms frequency and wavelength as applied to waves

4.4 Be able to use the terms amplitude, period, wave velocity and wavefront as applied to waves

4.5 Be able to describe the difference between longitudinal and transverse waves by referring to sound, electromagnetic, seismic and water waves

4.6 Be able to recall and use both the equations below for all waves:

wave velocity (metre/second, m/s) = frequency (hertz, Hz) wavelength (metre, m),   v = f x

wave velocity (metre/second, m/s) = distance (metre, m) ÷ time (second, s),    v = x / t

4.7 Be able to describe how to measure the velocity of sound in air and ripples on water surfaces

4.10 Be able to explain how waves will be refracted at a boundary and, (HT only), in terms of the change of speed and direction

4.11 (HT only) Be able to recall that different substances may absorb, transmit, refractor reflect waves in ways that vary with wavelength

4.17 Revise investigating the suitability of equipment to measure the speed, frequency and wavelength of a wave in a solid and a fluid

Suggested practicals you hopefully will do

Investigating models to show refraction, such as toy cars travelling into a region of sand.

Investigating refraction in rectangular glass blocks.


Topic 5  Light and the electromagnetic spectrum

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 5 " Light and the electromagnetic spectrum")



Topic 5 Light and the electromagnetic spectrum

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 5 " Light and the electromagnetic spectrum")

You should be able to ....

5.7 Be able to recall that all electromagnetic waves are transverse, that they travel at the same speed in a vacuum

5.8 Be able to explain, with examples, that all electromagnetic waves transfer energy from source to observer

5.9 Revise the investigation into refraction in rectangular glass blocks in terms of the interaction of electromagnetic waves with matter

5.10 Be able to recall the main groupings of the continuous electromagnetic spectrum including (in order) radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible (including the colours of the visible spectrum), ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma rays

5.11 Be able to describe the electromagnetic spectrum as continuous from radio waves to gamma rays and that the radiations within it can be grouped in order of decreasing wavelength and increasing frequency

5.12 Be able to recall that our eyes can only detect a limited range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation

5.13 (HT only) Be able to recall that different substances may absorb, transmit, refract or reflect electromagnetic waves in ways that vary with wavelength

5.14 (HT only) Be able to explain the effects of differences in the velocities of electromagnetic waves in different substances.

5.20 Be able to recall that the potential danger associated with an electromagnetic wave increases with increasing frequency

5.21 Be able to describe the harmful effects on people of excessive exposure to electromagnetic radiation, including:

(a) microwaves: internal heating of body cells

(b) infrared: skin burns

(c) ultraviolet: damage to surface cells and eyes, leading to skin cancer and eye conditions

(d) x-rays and gamma rays: mutation or damage to cells in the body

5.22 Be able to describe some uses of electromagnetic radiation

(a) radio waves: including broadcasting, communications and satellite transmissions

(b) microwaves: including cooking, communications and satellite transmissions

(c) infrared: including cooking, thermal imaging, short range communications, optical fibres, television remote controls and security systems

(d) visible light: including vision, photography and illumination

(e) ultraviolet: including security marking, fluorescent lamps, detecting forged bank notes and disinfecting water

(f) x-rays: including observing the internal structure of objects, airport security scanners and medical x-rays

(g) gamma rays: including sterilising food and medical equipment, and the detection of cancer and its treatment

5.23 (HT only) Be able to recall that radio waves can be produced by, or can themselves induce, oscillations in electrical circuits

5.24 Be able to recall that changes in atoms and nuclei can

(a) generate radiations over a wide frequency range

(b) be caused by absorption of a range of radiations

Suggested practicals worth revising

Investigating the total internal reflection using a semi-circular block (glass or plastic).

Constructing devices using two converging lenses of differing focal lengths.

Constructing a simple spectrometer, from a CD or DVD, and use it to analyse common light sources.

Investigating the areas beyond the visible spectrum, such as the work of Herschel and Ritter in discovering IR and UV respectively.


Topic 6  Radioactivity

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 6 " Radioactivity")



Topic 6 Radioactivity

(Exam revision summary for Edexcel GCSE 9-1 combined science paper 5 physics 1, Topic 6 " Radioactivity")

You should be able to ....

6.1 Be able to describe an atom as a positively charged nucleus, consisting of protons and neutrons, surrounded by negatively charged electrons, with the nuclear radius much smaller than that of the atom and with almost all of the mass in the nucleus

6.2 Be able to recall the typical size (order of magnitude) of atoms and small molecules

(c) doc b6.3 Be able to describe the structure of nuclei of isotopes using the terms atomic (proton) number and mass (nucleon) number and using symbols in the format using symbols in the format

6.4 Be able to recall that the nucleus of each element has a characteristic positive charge, but that isotopes of an element differ in mass by having different numbers of neutrons

6.5 Be able to recall the relative masses and relative electric charges of protons, neutrons, electrons and positrons

6.6 Be able to recall that in an atom the number of protons equals the number of electrons and is therefore neutral

6.7 Be able to recall that in each atom its electrons orbit the nucleus at different set distances from the nucleus

Atomic structure, fundamental particles and radioactivity

What it is an atom like?, quarks and proton & neutron structure

6.8 Be able to explain that electrons change orbit when there is absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation

6.9 Be able to explain how atoms may form positive ions by losing outer electrons

6.10 Be able to recall that alpha, β– (beta minus), β+ (positron), gamma rays and neutron radiation are emitted from unstable nuclei in a random process

What is Radioactivity? Why does it happen? Three types of atomic-nuclear-ionising radiation

6.11 Be able to recall that alpha, β– (beta minus), β+ (positron) and gamma rays are ionising radiations

6.12 Be able to explain what is meant by background radiation

6.13 Be able to describe the origins of background radiation from Earth and space

6.14 Be able to describe methods for measuring and detecting radioactivity limited to photographic film and a Geiger–Müller tube

6.15 Be able to recall that an alpha particle is equivalent to a helium nucleus, a beta particle is an electron emitted from the nucleus and a gamma ray is electromagnetic radiation

6.16 Be able to compare alpha, beta and gamma radiations in terms of their abilities to penetrate and ionise

Alpha, beta & gamma radiation - properties of 3 types of radioactive nuclear emission & symbols

6.17 Be able to describe how and why the atomic model has changed over time including reference to the plum pudding model and Rutherford alpha particle scattering leading to the Bohr model

6.18 Be able to describe the process of β– decay (a neutron becomes a proton plus an electron)

6.19 Be able to describe the process of β+ decay (a proton becomes a neutron plus a positron)

6.20 Be able to explain the effects on the atomic (proton) number and mass (nucleon) number of radioactive decays (α, β, γ and neutron emission)

6.21 Be able to recall that nuclei that have undergone radioactive decay often undergo nuclear rearrangement with a loss of energy as gamma radiation

6.22 Be able to use given data to balance nuclear equations in terms of mass and charge

6.23 Be able to describe how the activity of a radioactive source decreases over a period of time

6.24 Be able to recall that the unit of activity of a radioactive isotope is the Becquerel, Bq

6.25 Be able to recall that the half-life of a radioactive isotope is the time taken for half the undecayed nuclei to decay or the activity of a source to decay by half

6.26 Be able to explain that it cannot be predicted when a particular nucleus will decay but half-life enables the activity of a very large number of nuclei to be predicted during the decay process

6.27 Be able to use the concept of half-life to carry out simple calculations on the decay of a radioactive isotope, including graphical representations

The half-life of a radioisotope - how long does material remain radioactive? implications!

6.29 Be able to describe the dangers of ionising radiation in terms of tissue damage and possible mutations and relate this to the precautions needed

6.31 Be able to explain the precautions taken to ensure the safety of people exposed to radiation, including limiting the dose for patients and the risks to medical personnel

The dangers of radioactive emissions - health and safety issues and ionising radiation

6.32 Be able to describe the differences between contamination and irradiation effects and compare the hazards associated with these two

Suggested practicals

investigate models which simulate radioactive decay.

teacher demonstrations of alpha, beta and gamma sources - detection and absorption experiments


PAST PAPERS    (Practice exam question papers for Edexcel 9-1 GCSE Combined Science Paper 5 Physics 1 for questions on Topic 1 "Key concepts of physics", Topic 2 "Motion and forces", Topic 3 "Conservation of energy", Topic 4 "", Topic 5 "Waves", Topic 6 "Light and the electromagnetic spectrum")



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