Doc B's revising for KS3 SCIENCE - Doc Brown's Physics

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Introduction to my KS3 physics multiple choice quizzes

Index of multiple choice quizzes for KS3 physics

Summary of the National Curriculum KS3 physics specification

The content of the AQA KS3 physics course specification

OCR knowledge and understanding expected before GCSE Physics

Introduction to my KS3 Physics Multiple Choice Quizzes

I appreciate SAT levels have gone, but I hope these KS3 physics Quizzes will still be of some use. Although I've already produced some combined KS3 physics quizzes, I welcome suggestions from teachers so I may produce useful compilation KS3 physics quizzes suitable for any school doing KS3 physics and any KS3 physics scheme of work. Copying of the KS3 physics quizzes is NOT permitted, but you can printout the questions to use in class or for homework.

The KS3 Physics Multiple Choice Questions

The 10 KS3 Physics Questions are selected at random from big databases.

NOTE (1) <= back on the link bar returns you to the previous web page.

(2) Don't use the usual refresh button on the upper browser to repeat the quiz, use the    REPEAT QUIZ - fresh Q's    on the quiz link bar.

(3) A small proportion of these KS3 physics questions are deliberately very challenging and more like GCSE level, but only the odd one! and most cover the full range of ability of KS3 science students.

This is a BIG website, you need to take time to explore it [website search box]

Use your mobile phone or ipad etc. in 'landscape' orientation when doing the KS3 physics quizzes

email doc brown - comment - query?

Index of Multiple choice question quizzes for KS3 PHYSICS

The individual KS3 physics quizzes are being updated to fit in with the 2018+ National Curriculum and AQA, Edexcel and OCR pre-GCSE KS3 Science expectations-specifications

  1. KS3 Physics Quiz - 7I Energy resources QUIZ 7I on "Energy resources" Questions on examples, properties and uses of fuel combustion, non-renewable energy resources like oil, coal and gas and their formation, renewable resources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass

  2. KS3 Physics Quiz - 7J Electrical circuits QUIZ 7J on "Electrical circuits" Questions on simple circuits, circuit symbols and components, current flow and ammeter readings, useful circuits - hazards and how they work

  3. KS3 Physics Quiz - 7K Forces and their effects QUIZ 7K on "Forces and their effects" Questions on types of force and their effects, density and floating, force meters, mass and weight, friction and braking

  4. KS3 Physics Quiz - 7L The solar system and beyond QUIZ 7L on "The solar system and beyond" Questions on Sun, Earth and Moon orbits, eclipses, phases of the Moon, what causes seasonal changes, the other planets of the solar system, other stars beyond our Sun

  5. KS3 Physics Quiz - 8I Heating and cooling QUIZ 8I on "Heating and cooling" Questions on measuring temperature with thermometer, heating and cooling, expansion and contraction, heat transfer - conduction, convection and radiation, insulation to reduce heat loss, changing state gas <=> liquid <=> solid e.g. melting, boiling, freezing and condensing

  6. KS3 Physics Quiz - 8J Magnets and electromagnets QUIZ 8J on "Magnets and electromagnets" Questions on magnetic materials, north and south poles, magnetic fields, electromagnets, uses of magnets

  7. KS3 Physics Quiz - 8K Light QUIZ 8K on "Light" Questions on reflection of light, mirrors, shadows, light bending, visible spectrum

  8. KS3 Physics Quiz - 8L Sound and hearing QUIZ 8L on "Sound and hearing" Questions on sound waves, pitch/frequency, loudness/amplitude, comparing speed of light/sound, hearing - function of ear

  9. KS3 Physics Quiz - 9I Energy and electricity QUIZ 9I on "Energy and electricity" Questions on how we use energy, energy transfer using electrical circuits, cost of electricity, making electricity, how can we reduce energy waste?

  10. KS3 Physics Quiz - 9J Gravity and space QUIZ 9J on "Gravity and space" Questions on understanding gravity, mass and weight, the Solar System, planet orbits, satellites and their uses

  11. KS3 Physics Quiz - 9K Speeding up QUIZ 9K on "Speeding up" Questions on understanding the relationship between speed, distance and time, the connection between forces, speed and friction, understanding parachuting

  12. KS3 Physics Quiz - 9L Pressure and moments QUIZ 9L on "Pressure and moments" Questions on pressure, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, levers, moments and balancing situations

SEE ALSO the KS3 Science Quiz compilations

20 Question multiple choice QUIZ on  ORGANISMS, BEHAVIOUR and HEALTH

20 Question multiple choice QUIZ on CHEMICAL and MATERIAL BEHAVIOUR

20 Question multiple choice QUIZ on ENERGY, ELECTRICITY and FORCES

20 Question multiple choice QUIZ on THE ENVIRONMENT, EARTH & UNIVERSE

National Curriculum KS3 Science PHYSICS specification

Subject content – KS3 Physics Pupils should be taught about:

KS3 physics Energy      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

KS3 physics Calculation of fuel uses and costs in the domestic context

comparing energy values of different foods (from labels) (kJ)

 comparing power ratings of appliances in watts (W, kW)

 comparing amounts of energy transferred (J, kJ, kW hour)

 domestic fuel bills, fuel use and costs

fuels and energy resources.

KS3 physics Energy changes and transfers      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

simple machines give bigger force but at the expense of smaller movement (and vice versa): product of force and displacement unchanged

heating and thermal equilibrium: temperature difference between two objects leading to energy transfer from the hotter to the cooler one, through contact (conduction) or radiation; such transfers tending to reduce the temperature difference: use of insulators

other processes that involve energy transfer: changing motion, dropping an object, completing an electrical circuit, stretching a spring, metabolism of food, burning fuels.

KS3 physics Changes in systems      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

energy as a quantity that can be quantified and calculated; the total energy has the same value before and after a change

comparing the starting with the final conditions of a system and describing increases and decreases in the amounts of energy associated with movements, temperatures, changes in positions in a field, in elastic distortions and in chemical compositions

using physical processes and mechanisms, rather than energy, to explain the intermediate steps that bring about such changes.

KS3 physics Motion and forces      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

KS3 physics Describing motion      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

speed and the quantitative relationship between average speed, distance and time (speed = distance ÷ time)

the representation of a journey on a distance-time graph

relative motion: trains and cars passing one another.

KS3 physics Forces      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

forces as pushes or pulls, arising from the interaction between two objects

using force arrows in diagrams, adding forces in one dimension, balanced and unbalanced forces

moment as the turning effect of a force

forces: associated with deforming objects; stretching and squashing – springs; with rubbing and friction between surfaces, with pushing things out of the way; resistance to motion of air and water

forces measured in newtons, measurements of stretch or compression as force is changed

force-extension linear relation; Hooke’s Law as a special case

work done and energy changes on deformation

non-contact forces: gravity forces acting at a distance on Earth and in space, forces between magnets and forces due to static electricity.

KS3 physics Pressure in fluids      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

atmospheric pressure, decreases with increase of height as weight of air above decreases with height

pressure in liquids, increasing with depth; upthrust effects, floating and sinking

pressure measured by ratio of force over area – acting normal to any surface.

KS3 physics Balanced forces      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

opposing forces and equilibrium: weight held by stretched spring or supported on a compressed surface.

KS3 physics Forces and motion      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

forces being needed to cause objects to stop or start moving, or to change their speed or direction of motion (qualitative only)

change depending on direction of force and its size.

KS3 physics Waves       (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

KS3 physics Observed waves      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

waves on water as undulations which travel through water with transverse motion; these waves can be reflected, and add or cancel – superposition.

KS3 physics Sound waves      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

frequencies of sound waves, measured in hertz (Hz); echoes, reflection and absorption of sound

sound needs a medium to travel, the speed of sound in air, in water, in solids

sound produced by vibrations of objects, in loud speakers, detected by their effects on microphone diaphragm and the ear drum; sound waves are longitudinal

auditory range of humans and animals.

KS3 physics Energy and waves      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

pressure waves transferring energy; use for cleaning and physiotherapy by ultra-sound; waves transferring information for conversion to electrical signals by microphone.

KS3 physics Light waves      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

the similarities and differences between light waves and waves in matter

light waves travelling through a vacuum; speed of light

the transmission of light through materials: absorption, diffuse scattering and specular reflection at a surface

use of ray model to explain imaging in mirrors, the pinhole camera, the refraction of light and action of convex lens in focusing (qualitative); the human eye

light transferring energy from source to absorber leading to chemical and electrical effects; photo-sensitive material in the retina and in cameras

colours and the different frequencies of light, white light and prisms (qualitative only); differential colour effects in absorption and diffuse reflection.

KS3 physics Electricity and electromagnetism      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

KS3 physics Current electricity      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

electric current, measured in amperes, in circuits, series and parallel circuits, currents add where branches meet and current as flow of charge

potential difference, measured in volts, battery and bulb ratings; resistance, measured in ohms, as the ratio of potential difference (p.d.) to current

differences in resistance between conducting and insulating components (quantitative).

KS3 physics Static electricity      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

separation of positive or negative charges when objects are rubbed together: transfer of electrons, forces between charged objects

the idea of electric field, forces acting across the space between objects not in contact.

KS3 physics Magnetism      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

magnetic poles, attraction and repulsion

magnetic fields by plotting with compass, representation by field lines

Earth’s magnetism, compass and navigation

the magnetic effect of a current, electromagnets, D.C. motors (principles only).

KS3 physics Matter       (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

KS3 physics Physical changes      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

conservation of material and of mass, and reversibility, in melting, freezing, evaporation, sublimation, condensation, dissolving

similarities and differences, including density differences, between solids, liquids and gases

Brownian motion in gases

diffusion in liquids and gases driven by differences in concentration

the difference between chemical and physical changes.

KS3 physics Particle model      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

the differences in arrangements, in motion and in closeness of particles explaining changes of state, shape and density, the anomaly of ice-water transition

atoms and molecules as particles.

KS3 physics Energy in matter      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

changes with temperature in motion and spacing of particles

internal energy stored in materials.

KS3 physics Space physics      (National Curriculum KS3 science-physics)

gravity force, weight = mass x gravitational field strength (g), on Earth g=10 N/kg, different on other planets and stars; gravity forces between Earth and Moon, and between Earth and Sun (qualitative only)

our Sun as a star, other stars in our galaxy, other galaxies

the seasons and the Earth’s tilt, day length at different times of year, in different hemispheres

the light year as a unit of astronomical distance.

AQA KS3 Physics course specification

AQA KS3 physics 3.1 Forces

3.1.1 Speed Investigate variables that affect the speed of a toy car rolling down a slope

AQA KS3 physics Know

If the overall, resultant force on an object is non-zero, its motion changes and it slows down, speeds up or changes direction.

Skill Use the formula: speed = distance (m)/time (s) or distance-time graphs, to calculate speed.

Facts A straight line on a distance-time graph shows constant speed, a curving line shows acceleration.

The higher the speed of an object, the shorter the time taken for a journey.


Speed: How much distance is covered in how much time.

Average speed: The overall distance travelled divided by overall time for a journey.

Relative motion: Different observers judge speeds differently if they are in motion too, so an object’s speed is relative to the observer’s speed.

Acceleration: How quickly speed increases or decreases.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Illustrate a journey with changing speed on a distance-time graph, and label changes in motion.

Describe how the speed of an object varies when measured by observers who are not moving, or moving relative to the object.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Suggest how the motion of two objects moving at different speeds in the same direction would appear to the other.

Predict changes in an object’s speed when the forces on it change


AQA KS3 physics 3.1.2 Gravity

AQA KS3 physics Explain the way in which an astronaut’s weight varies on a journey to the moon

AQA KS3 physics Know

Mass and weight are different but related. Mass is a property of the object; weight depends upon mass but also on gravitational field strength.

Every object exerts a gravitational force on every other object. The force increases with mass and decreases with distance. Gravity holds planets and moons in orbit around larger bodies.

Skill Use the formula: weight (N) = mass (kg) x gravitational field strength (N/kg).

Fact g on Earth = 10 N/kg. On the moon it is 1.6 N/kg.


Weight: The force of gravity on an object (N).

Non-contact force: One that acts without direct contact.

Mass: The amount of stuff in an object (kg).

Gravitational field strength, g: The force from gravity on 1 kg (N/kg).

Field: The area where other objects feel a gravitational force.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Explain unfamiliar observations where weight changes.

Draw a force diagram for a problem involving gravity.

Deduce how gravity varies for different masses and distances.

Compare your weight on Earth with your weight on different planets using the formula.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Compare and contrast gravity with other forces.

Draw conclusions from data about orbits, based on how gravity varies with mass and distance.

Suggest implications of how gravity varies for a space mission.


AQA KS3 physics 3.1.3 Contact forces

AQA KS3 physics Investigate factors that affect the size of frictional or drag forces

AQA KS3 physics Know

When the resultant force on an object is zero, it is in equilibrium and does not move, or remains at constant speed in a straight line. One effect of a force is to change an object’s form, causing it to be stretched or compressed. In some materials, the change is proportional to the force applied.

Skill Sketch the forces acting on an object, and label their size and direction.


Equilibrium: State of an object when opposing forces are balanced.

Deformation: Changing shape due to a force.

Linear relationship: When two variables are graphed and show a straight line which goes through the origin, and they can be called directly proportional.

Newton: Unit for measuring forces (N).

Resultant force: Single force which can replace all the forces acting on an object and have the same effect.

Friction: Force opposing motion which is caused by the interaction of surfaces moving over one another. It is called ‘drag’ if one is a fluid. Tension:

Force extending or pulling apart.

Compression: Force squashing or pushing together.

Contact force: One that acts by direct contact.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Explain whether an object in an unfamiliar situation is in equilibrium.

Describe factors which affect the size of frictional and drag forces.

Describe how materials behave as they are stretched or squashed.

Describe what happens to the length of a spring when the force on it changes.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Evaluate how well sports or vehicle technology reduces frictional or drag forces.

Describe the effects of drag and other forces on falling or accelerating objects as they move.

Using force and extension data, compare the behaviour of different materials in deformation using the idea of proportionality.

Explain how turning forces are used in levers.


AQA KS3 physics 3.1.4 Pressure

Investigate how pressure from your foot onto the ground varies with different footwear

AQA KS3 physics Know

Pressure acts in a fluid in all directions. It increases with depth due to the increased weight of fluid, and results in an upthrust. Objects sink or float depending on whether the weight of the object is bigger or smaller than the upthrust.

Different stresses on a solid object can be used to explain observations where objects scratch, sink into or break surfaces.

Skill Use the formula: fluid pressure, or stress on a surface = force (N)/area (m2).


Fluid: A substance with no fixed shape, a gas or a liquid.

Pressure: The ratio of force to surface area, in N/ m2, and how it causes stresses in solids.

Upthrust: The upward force that a liquid or gas exerts on a body floating in it.

Atmospheric pressure: The pressure caused by the weight of the air above a surface.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Use diagrams to explain observations of fluids in terms of unequal pressure.

Explain why objects either sink or float depending upon their weight and the upthrust acting on them.

Explain observations where the effects of forces are different because of differences in the area over which they apply.

Given unfamiliar situations, use the formula to calculate fluid pressure or stress on a surface

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Use the idea of pressure changing with depth to explain underwater effects.

Carry out calculations involving pressure, force and area in hydraulics, where the effects of applied forces are increased.

Use the idea of stress to deduce potential damage to one solid object by another.

AQA KS3 physics 3.2 Electromagnets

AQA KS3 physics 3.2.1 Voltage and resistance

Compare the voltage drop across resistors connected in series in a circuit

AQA KS3 physics Know

We can model voltage as an electrical push from the battery, or the amount of energy per unit of charge transferred through the electrical pathway.

In a series circuit, voltage is shared between each component.

In a parallel circuit, voltage is the same across each loop.

Components with resistance reduce the current flowing and shift energy to the surroundings.

Skill Calculate resistance using the formula: resistance (Ω) = potential difference (V) ÷ current (A).


Potential difference (voltage): The amount of energy shifted from the battery to the moving charge, or from the charge to circuit components, in volts (V).

Resistance: A property of a component, making it difficult for charge to pass through, in ohms (Ω).

Electrical conductor: A material that allows current to flow through it easily, and has a low resistance.

Electrical insulator: A material that does not allow current to flow easily, and has a high resistance.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Draw a circuit diagram to show how voltage can be measured in a simple circuit.

Use the idea of energy to explain how voltage and resistance affect the way components work.

Given a table of voltage against current. Use the ratio of voltage to current to determine the resistance.

Use an analogy like water in pipes to explain why part of a circuit has higher resistance.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Predict the effect of changing the rating of a battery or a bulb on other components in a series or parallel circuit.

Justify the sizes of voltages in a circuit, using arguments based on energy.

Draw conclusions about safety risks, from data on voltage, resistance and current.

AQA KS3 physics 3.2.2 Current

Compare and explain current flow in different parts of a parallel circuit

AQA KS3 physics Know

Current is a movement of electrons and is the same everywhere in a series circuit.

Current divides between loops in a parallel circuit, combines when loops meet, lights up bulbs and makes components work.

Around a charged object, the electric field affects other charged objects, causing them to be attracted or repelled.

The field strength decreases with distance.

Fact Two similarly charged objects repel, two differently charged objects attract.


Negatively charged: An object that has gained electrons as a result of the charging process.

Positively charged: An object that has lost electrons as a result of the charging process.

Electrons: Tiny particles which are part of atoms and carry a negative charge.

Charged up: When materials are rubbed together, electrons move from one surface to the other.

Electrostatic force: Non-contact force between two charged objects.

Current: Flow of electric charge, in amperes (A).

In series: If components in a circuit are on the same loop.

In parallel: If some components are on separate loops.

Field: The area where other objects feel an electrostatic force.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Describe  how current changes in series and parallel circuits when components are changed.

Turn circuit diagrams into real series and parallel circuits, and vice versa.

Describe what happens when charged objects are placed near to each other or touching.

Use a sketch to describe how an object charged positively or negatively became charged up.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Compare the advantages of series and parallel circuits for particular uses.

Evaluate a model of current as electrons moving from the negative to the positive terminal of a battery, through the circuit.

Suggest ways to reduce the risk of getting electrostatic shocks.

AQA KS3 physics 3.2.3 Electromagnets

Investigate ways of varying strength of an electromagnet

AQA KS3 physics Know

An electromagnet uses the principle that a current through a wire causes a magnetic field.

Its strength depends on the current, the core and the number of coils in the solenoid.

Fact The magnetic field of an electromagnet decreases in strength with distance.


Electromagnet: A non-permanent magnet turned on and off by controlling the current through it.

Solenoid: Wire wound into a tight coil, part of an electromagnet.

Core: Soft iron metal which the solenoid is wrapped around.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Use a  diagram to explain how an electromagnet can be made and how to change its strength.

Explain the choice of electromagnets or permanent magnets for a device in terms of their properties.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Critique the design of a device using an electromagnet and suggest improvements.

Suggest how bells, circuit breakers and loudspeakers work, from diagrams.

AQA KS3 physics 3.2.4 Magnetism

Explore the magnetic field pattern around different types or combinations of magnets

AQA KS3 physics Know

Magnetic materials, electromagnets and the Earth create magnetic fields which can be described by drawing field lines to show the strength and direction.

The stronger the magnet, and the smaller the distance from it, the greater the force a magnetic object in the field experiences.

Facts Two ‘like’ magnetic poles repel and two ‘unlike’ magnetic poles attract.

Field lines flow from the north-seeking pole to the south-seeking pole.


Magnetic force: Non-contact force from a magnet on a magnetic material.

Permanent magnet: An object that is magnetic all of the time.

Magnetic poles: The ends of a magnetic field, called north-seeking (N) and south-seeking poles (S).

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Use the idea of field lines to show how the direction or strength of the field around a magnet varies.

Explain observations about navigation using Earth’s magnetic field.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Predict the pattern of field lines and the force around two magnets placed near each other.

Predict how an object made of a magnetic material will behave if placed in or rolled through a magnetic field.


AQA KS3 physics 3.3 Energy

AQA KS3 physics 3.3.1 Energy costs

AQA KS3 physics Compare the running costs of fluorescent and filament light bulbs

AQA KS3 physics Know

We pay for our domestic electricity usage based on the amount of energy transferred.

Electricity is generated by a combination of resources which each have advantages and disadvantages.

Calculate the cost of home energy usage, using the formula: cost = power (kW ) x time (hours) x price (per kWh).

Fact Food labels list the energy content of food in kilojoules (kJ).


Power: How quickly energy is transferred by a device (watts).

Energy resource: Something with stored energy that can be released in a useful way.

Non-renewable: An energy resource that cannot be replaced and will be used up.

Renewable: An energy resource that can be replaced and will not run out. Examples are solar, wind, waves, geothermal and biomass.

Fossil fuels: Non-renewable energy resources formed from the remains of ancient plants or animals. Examples are coal, crude oil and natural gas.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Compare the amounts of energy transferred by different foods and activities.

Compare the energy usage and cost of running different home devices.

Explain the advantages and disadvantages of different energy resources.

Represent the energy transfers from a renewable or non-renewable resource to an electrical device in the home.

AQA KS3 physics Extent

Evaluate the social, economic and environmental consequences of using a resource to generate electricity, from data.

Suggest actions a government or communities could take in response to rising energy demand.

Suggest ways to reduce costs, by examining data on a home energy bill.

AQA KS3 physics 3.3.2 Energy transfer

AQA KS3 physics Explain the energy transfers in a hand-crank torch

AQA KS3 physics Know

We can describe how jobs get done using an energy model where energy is transferred from one store at the start to another at the end.

When energy is transferred, the total is conserved, but some energy is dissipated, reducing the useful energy.


Thermal energy store: Filled when an object is warmed up.

Chemical energy store: Emptied during chemical reactions when energy is transferred to the surroundings.

Kinetic energy store: Filled when an object speeds up.

Gravitational potential energy store: Filled when an object is raised.

Elastic energy store: Filled when a material is stretched or compressed.

Dissipated: Become spread out wastefully.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Describe how the energy of an object depends on its speed, temperature, height or whether it is stretched or compressed.

Show how energy is transferred between energy stores in a range of real-life examples.

Calculate the useful energy and the amount dissipated, given values of input and output energy.

Explain how energy is dissipated in a range of situations.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Compare the percentages of energy wasted by renewable energy sources.

Explain why processes such as swinging pendulums or bouncing balls cannot go on forever, in terms of energy.

Evaluate analogies and explanations for the transfer of energy.

AQA KS3 physics 3.3.3 Work

AQA KS3 physics Explain how an electric motor raising a weight is doing work

AQA KS3 physics Know

Work is done and energy transferred when a force moves an object.

The bigger the force or distance, the greater the work.

Machines make work easier by reducing the force needed.

Levers and pulleys do this by increasing the distance moved, and wheels reduce friction.


Work: The transfer of energy when a force moves an object, in joules.

Lever: A type of machine which is a rigid bar that pivots about a point.

Input force: The force you apply to a machine.

Output force: The force that is applied to the object moved by the machine.

Displacement: The distance an object moves from its original position.

Deformation: When an elastic object is stretched or squashed, which requires work.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Draw a diagram to explain how a lever makes a job easier.

Compare the work needed to move objects different distances.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Use the formula: work done (J) = force (N) x distance moved (m) to compare energy transferred for objects moving horizontally.

Compare and contrast the advantages of different levers in terms of the forces need and distance moved.

AQA KS3 physics 3.3.4 Heating and cooling

Investigate how to prevent heat loss by conduction, convection and radiation

AQA KS3 physics Know

The thermal energy of an object depends upon its mass, temperature and what it’s made of.

When there is a temperature difference, energy transfers from the hotter to the cooler object.

Thermal energy is transferred through different pathways, by particles in conduction and convection, and by radiation.


Thermal conductor: Material that allows heat to move quickly through it.

Thermal insulator: Material that only allows heat to travel slowly through it.

Temperature: A measure of the motion and energy of the particles.

Thermal energy: The quantity of energy stored in a substance due to the vibration of its particles.

Conduction: Transfer of thermal energy by the vibration of particles.

Convection: Transfer of thermal energy when particles in a heated fluid rise.

Radiation: Transfer of thermal energy as a wave.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Explain observations about changing temperature in terms of energy transfer.

Describe how an object’s temperature changes over time when heated or cooled.

Explain how a method of thermal insulation works in terms of conduction, convection and radiation.

Sketch diagrams to show convection currents in unfamiliar situations.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Sketch a graph to show the pattern of temperature change against time.

Evaluate a claim about insulation in the home or for clothing technology.

Compare and contrast the three ways that energy can be moved from one place to another by heating.

AQA KS3 physics 3.4 Waves

AQA KS3 physics 3.4.1 Sound

Relate changes in the shape of an oscilloscope trace to changes in pitch and volume

AQA KS3 physics Know

Sound consists of vibrations which travel as a longitudinal wave through substances.

The denser the medium, the faster sound travels.

The greater the amplitude of the waveform, the louder the sound.

The greater the frequency (and therefore the shorter the wavelength), the higher the pitch.


Sound does not travel through a vacuum.

The speed of sound in air is 330 m/s, a million times slower than light.


Vibration: A back and forth motion that repeats.

Longitudinal wave: Where the direction of vibration is the same as that of the wave.

Volume: How loud or quiet a sound is, in decibels (dB).

Pitch: How low or high a sound is. A low (high) pitch sound has a low (high) frequency.

Amplitude: The maximum amount of vibration, measured from the middle position of the wave, in metres.

Wavelength: Distance between two corresponding points on a wave, in metres.

Frequency: The number of waves produced in one second, in hertz.

Vacuum: A space with no particles of matter in it. Oscilloscope:

Device able to view patterns of sound waves that have been turned into electrical signals.

Absorption: When energy is transferred from sound to a material.

Auditory range: The lowest and highest frequencies that a type of animal can hear.

Echo: Reflection of sound waves from a surface back to the listener.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Explain observations where sound is reflected, transmitted or absorbed by different media.

Explain observations of how sound travels using the idea of a longitudinal wave.

Describe the amplitude and frequency of a wave from a diagram or oscilloscope picture.

Use drawings of waves to describe how sound waves change with volume or pitch.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Suggest the effects of particular ear problems on a person’s hearing.

Evaluate the data behind a claim for a sound creation or blocking device, using the properties of sound waves.

Use diagrams to compare the waveforms a musical instrument makes when playing different pitches or volumes.


AQA KS3 physics 3.4.2 Light

Use ray diagrams to model how light passes through lenses and transparent materials

AQA KS3 physics Know

When a light ray meets a different medium, some of it is absorbed and some reflected.

For a mirror, the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.

The ray model can describe the formation of an image in a mirror and how objects appear different colours.

When light enters a denser medium it bends towards the normal; when it enters a less dense medium it bends away from the normal.

Refraction through lenses and prisms can be described using a ray diagram as a model.

Skill Construct ray diagrams to show how light reflects off mirrors, forms images and refracts.


Light travels at 300 million metres per second in a vacuum.

Different colours of light have different frequencies.


Incident ray: The incoming ray.

Reflected ray: The outgoing ray.

Normal line: From which angles are measured, at right angles to the surface.

Angle of reflection: Between the normal and reflected ray.

Angle of incidence: Between the normal and incident ray.

Refraction: Change in the direction of light going from one material into another.

Absorption: When energy is transferred from light to a material.

Scattering: When light bounces off an object in all directions.

Transparent: A material that allows all light to pass through it.

Translucent: A material that allows some light to pass through it.

Opaque: A material that allows no light to pass through it.

Convex lens: A lens that is thicker in the middle which bends light rays towards each other.

Concave lens: A lens that is thinner in the middle which spreads out light rays.

Retina: Layer at the back of the eye with light detecting cells and where an image is formed.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Use ray diagrams of eclipses to describe what is seen by observers in different places.

Explain observations where coloured lights are mixed or objects are viewed in different lights.

Use ray diagrams to describe how light passes through lenses and transparent materials.

Describe how lenses may be used to correct vision.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Use a ray diagram to predict how an image will change in different situations.

Predict whether light will reflect, refract or scatter when it hits the surface of a given material.

Use ray diagrams to explain how a device with multiple mirrors works.

AQA KS3 physics 3.4.3 Wave effects

Relate the impact of different types of waves on living cells to their frequency & the energy carried by the wave

AQA KS3 physics Know

When a wave travels through a substance, particles move to and fro.

Energy is transferred in the direction of movement of the wave.

Waves of higher amplitude or higher frequency transfer more energy.


Ultrasound: Sound waves with frequencies higher than the human auditory range.

Ultraviolet (UV): Waves with frequencies higher than light, which human eyes cannot detect.

Microphone: Turns the pressure wave of sound hitting it into an electrical signal.

Loudspeaker: Turns an electrical signal into a pressure wave of sound.

Pressure wave: An example is sound, which has repeating patterns of high-pressure and low-pressure regions.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Explain differences in the damage done to living cells by light and other waves, in terms of their frequency.

Explain how audio equipment converts sound into a changing pattern of electric current.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Suggest reasons why sound waves can agitate a liquid for cleaning objects, or massage muscles for physiotherapy.

Evaluate electricity production by wave energy using data for different locations and weather conditions.


AQA KS3 physics 3.4.4 Wave properties

Use the wave model to explain observations of the reflection, absorption and transmission of waves

AQA KS3 physics Know

A physical model of a transverse wave demonstrates it moves from place to place, while the material it travels through does not, and describes the properties of speed, wavelength and reflection.


Waves: Vibrations that transport energy from place to place without transporting matter.

Transverse wave: Where the direction of vibration is perpendicular to that of the wave.

Transmission: Where waves travel through a medium rather than be absorbed or reflected.

AQA KS3 physics Apply

Describe  the properties of different longitudinal and transverse waves.

Use the wave model to explain observations of the reflection, absorption and transmission of a wave.

AQA KS3 physics Extend

Compare and contrast the properties of sound and light waves.

Suggest what happens when two waves combine.

OCR Twenty First Century Science knowledge and understanding expected before GCSE Physics

Chapter P1 Radiation and waves

What you should have learned and experienced from KS3 science about light, sound, and waves ...

observed waves on water, spring, and strings

know the meaning of the terms longitudinal, transverse, superposition, and frequency, in the context of waves

know that sound waves are longitudinal and need a medium to travel through and that sound travels at different speeds in solids, in water, and in air

know that sound is produced when objects vibrate and that sound waves are detected by the vibrations they cause

know that light travels at a very high speed and can pass through a vacuum

know some of the similarities and differences between light waves and waves in matter

be able to use a ray model of light to describe and explain reflection in mirrors, refraction and dispersion by glass and the action of convex lenses

know that light incident on a surface may be absorbed, scattered, or reflected, and that light transfers energy from a source to an absorber, where it may cause a chemical or electrical effect.


Chapter P2 Sustainable energy

What you should have learned and experienced from KS3 science about energy ...

compared energy uses and costs in domestic contexts, including calculations using a variety of units

considered a variety of processes that involve transferring energy, including heating, changing motion, burning fuels and changing position in a field


Chapter P3 Electric circuits

What you should have learned and experienced from KS3 science about light, sound, and waves ...

be familiar with the basic properties of magnets, and use these to explain and predict observations

know that there is a magnetic field close to any wire carrying an electric current

be aware of the existence of electric charge, and understand how simple electrostatic phenomena can be explained in terms of the movement of electrons between and within objects

understand the idea of an electric circuit (a closed conducting loop containing a battery) that conducts an electric current and be able to predict the current in branches of a parallel circuit

understand the idea of as a measure of the ‘strength’ of a battery or power supply

know that electrical resistance is measured in ohms and can be calculated by dividing the voltage across the component by the current through it

know that the power ratings of electrical appliances are related to the rate at which the appliances transfers energy.


Chapter P4 Explaining motion

What you should have learned and experienced from KS3 science about force and motion ...

describe motion using words and with distance–time graphs

use the relationship average speed = distance ÷ time

identify the forces when two objects in contact interact; pushing, pulling, squashing, friction, turning

use arrows to indicate the different forces acting on objects, and predict the net force when two or more forces act on an object

know that the forces due to gravity, magnetism and electric charge are all non-contact forces

understand how the forces acting on an object can be used to explain its motion.


Chapter P5 Radioactive materials

What you should have learned and experienced from KS3 science about ? ...

recall that in each atom its electrons are arranged at different distances from the nucleus

recall that gamma rays are emitted from the nuclei of atoms

be able to describe how ionising radiation can have hazardous effects, notably on human bodily tissues.


Chapter P6 Matter – models and explanations

What you should have learned and experienced from KS3 science about matter and particles ...

be able to use a particulate model of matter to explain states of matter and changes of state

have investigated stretching and compressing materials and identifying those that obey Hooke’s law

be able to describe how the extension or compression of an elastic material changes as a force is applied, and make a link between the work done and energy transfer during compression or extension

have investigated pressure in liquids and related this to floating and sinking

be able to relate atmospheric pressure to the weight of air overhead.

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