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Science controlled assessment tests

Exam tips


Controlled Assessment Tests

Test 1

This part of the controlled assessment is going to ask you questions about your research and method. These include:

What was your hypothesis?

  • Here you will need to write down what you thought would happen- mention what will happen to the dependent variable when you change the independent variable (1 mark), followed by a brief scientific explanation (1 mark)


Name 2 sources that you used in your research.

  • You need to write a full reference list e.g. Higher Science 1, Mark Levesley, Longman, 2002for textbooks.
  • For Websites, write the full URL e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/greenworld/waterrev3.shtml (just saying bbc bitesize is not enough)


Which of these sources was useful and why? 

Explain in terms of usefulness of the source, for example:

  • The source gives you a clear and full method to follow.
  • The source gives you a simple diagram for the equipment to use and this equipment may be readily accessible in your school.
  • The source gives you all the relevant contextual applications -it tells you how your investigation can be applied to everyday or industrial uses.
  • The source gives you most of the key terms/words and relevant detail.

 Which variable did you control?

  • During your planning end experimentation, identify which variables could also affect the investigation and control them.


Explain briefly why you needed to control this variable.

  • This requires you to explain in terms of how this variable would affect the dependent variable.

Describe how you plan to use your method, listing all the equipment that you will use (9 marks).

  • Write your method as a list; like a recipe (do not write an essay). Use instruction language (Measure 10ml of ... instead of I will measure 10 ml of ...)
  • Make sure it tells the examiner how you will use the equipment
  • Explain what will be the dependent variable (what you will measure, how many measurement you will make), independent variable (what you will change) and control variable (what you will keep the same and how)
  • Do a risk assessment. the easiest way is to use a table:
Risk Level of risk (Low, medium, high) Control

You may draw a diagram if you wish

Explain why you used this particular method instead of other that you found in your research.


Draw a blank table to show how you are going to record your results.

  • Normally you table should show the independent variable on the Left hand side (1st column) and the dependent of the second and subsequent columns.
  • The columns should have good descriptive headings (water or leaf are not good enough, amount of water in the test tube (ml) or type of leaf are more appropriate) with units in brackets.
  • There should be no units inside the table

Test 2

The second test will ask you questions about your investigation/experiment and also about case study data that you will be given.

The questions will be about:

What was your dependent variable?

What was your control variable?

What was your independent variable?

What was the range of your independent variable?

  • This wants you to mention the spread of your independent variable, from smallest to highest. You may be asked why you settled for this range and you can justify this in terms of the ability to give you enough data to answer the question or to be able to identify a pattern.

How did you make sure your results were reliable?

  • Reliable evidence can be trusted, it can be used to make a valid conclusion.
    * Reliable evidence is replicable or reproducible. It does not show wide variations or fluctuations.

  • *In science, these variations or changes are called anomalies (anomaly- not in agreement with something else).
  • How can we make evidence reliable?
  • 1. Repeat measurements/ Compare with others students results    *To test the consistency, repeatability or replicability- If we get similar data without wide variations  after repeating, then our data is probably reliable.
  • 2. Repeat using a different technique
  • This is particularly useful if you have doubts about your method.

Did your results support your hypothesis? Explain why/why not?


You are given results from a case study similar to your experiment. Do these results support your hypothesis?

  • For these case studies, check if the study tested a similar independent variable to yours. It is most likely that one of them will test an irrelevant independent variable and as such will be irrelevant to your investigation.

In what real-life context would your results be useful?

This wants you to apply findings from the investigation to real-life. It could be: Who might be interested in knowing or using this? (Scientists, people doing a particular job or ordinary citizens). How will they use these findings?