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GCE A-Level Physics Syllabus

Chapter 1: Measurements

Chapter Topics:

Physical quantities and SI Units
Scalars and vectors
Errors and uncertainties

Question Bank:

Learning Objectives:

(a) Recall the following base quantities and their SI units: mass (kg), length (m), time (s), current (A), temperature (K), amount of substance (mol).

(b) Express derived units as products or quotients of the base units.

(c) Use SI base units to check the homogeneity of physical equations.

(d) Show an understanding of and use the conventions for labelling graph axes and table columns as set out in the ASE publication Signs, Symbols and Schematics (The ASE Companion to 16-19 Science, 2000).

(e) Use the following prefixes and their symbols to indicate decimal sub-multiples or multiples of both base and derived units: pico (p), nano (n), micro (μ), milli (m), centi (c), deci (d), kilo (k), mega (M), giga (G), tera (T)

(f) Make reasonable estimates of physical quantities included within the syllabus.

(g) Distinguish between scalar and vector quantities, and give examples of each.

(h) Add and subtract coplanar vectors.

(i) Represent a vector as two perpendicular components.

(j) Show an understanding of the distinction between systematic errors (including zero error) and random errors.

(k) Show an understanding of the distinction between precision and accuracy.

(l) Assess the uncertainty in a derived quantity by addition of actual, fractional, percentage uncertainties or by numerical substitution (a rigorous statistical treatment is not required).

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