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Answeringexamquestionson cells
all cover:
AQA, Fdexce! OCR andWJEC specifrcationsfor AS-kvel or A'Level
. cell structur and ultrastructur€;
. cell fractionation techdqu€s!
. cell differentiation hto differ€nt typ€sofcell and their nicroscopical appeannces
on thesetopicsand adviceon how toanswer thernefrectively'
This Factsheetcnntainsdifrer€nt 6?€s of questionwhich canbe set
""-..,"4 in examinationtechniquewill be described.
Detailsof thingsto be aooiaea,ro,' Jamfi, -*o.
In mark schemesa semi-colonindicates one marking point. An oblique
to the markpoint. An underlined word or phrase
indicatesan alternative
meansthnt it must be usedin the answen Examinerswill only award
point is given correctly and if the
mark if all the information in the marking
point is given in the correct context'
Question 2
plants and
Question I Read ttpough the following passageaboutconducting tissuesin
and a word or words'
The table below refers to a bacterial cell, a palisade mesophyll cell then fill in the spaceswith the most appropriate
liver cell and to the sffuctures which are found inside them.
present in
box and In the stems of flowering plants the conducting tissues are
If a feature is present in the cell, place a tick (/) in the appropriate
cell, place a cross (x) in the appropriate box' Water and ........... are ffansported from roots to
if a feature is absent from the
leaves in continual tubular elementscalled xylem """' and also
Bacterial cell Palisade cell Liver cell
Feature .. The
in elongated cells with perforated end cell walls, called
Cellwall by deposits of ......................
xylem elementshavecell walls sffengthened
Vacuole of the
. This substanceis impermeable and so results in the
Mitochondria the xylem to have a
xylem protoplasts. However, it enables
Mesosomes in non-nucleated
plant. The .......... transports
.... tubes which have associatednucleated """""
Nuclearmembrane stem is a
(6 marks) cells. Between the xylem and phloem tissues in an herbaceous
Mark scheme growth in woodY Plants.
Bacterial cell Palisade cell Liver cell (14 marks)
Cellwall ,/ ,/ x
Vacuole x x
Mitochondria x ,/
Chloroplasts x ,/ x
Mesosomes / x x
Microvilli x x ,/
The important thing when answering this type of question is
to follow the
Nuclearmembrane x ,/ ,/ advice in the question stem and read through the whole passage before

(6 marks) puttingpentopaper.Inthiswayyoushouldgetanoverviewofthesense
1 mark awardedfor each correct line' the
or trr" whole passageso that your inserts are coherent. For example,
words on the first read through
A common error of technique is to only insert ticks and to leave
spaces candidate who immediately fills in the
of the question 'xylem' or 'phloem' as the first answer without noticing that
instead of inserting crosses (or vice versa). The stem could write
penalise given, later in the passage'
insffucts you to insert ticks and crosses and so examiners may these terms are
penalise answers showing
answerswhich do not comply. They will always 'fill in' is marked independently, so if you are not sure of an answer
combinations of ticks, crosses and empty boxes' Each
wrong it will
at least have a guessand write something. If what you write is
If you wish to corTectan elTor, make sure you block out the tick or cross not cause you to lose any other marks.
and then write in the correct answer.If you show a tick-cross combination
(/ ) it will not score a Point.

A frequent biological error is to tick chloroplastsin bacterial cells. Bacteria
do not contain chloroplasts,but they may contain photosynthetic
in mesosome-t)?e structures. Often candidates do not know that liver
cells, (an example specified on specifications), possessmicrovilli.
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Question 4
Question 3
main functions of the The drawingbelow showsthe structureof a chloroplast'
The table be10wdescribes sfucturat features and the
some organelles of eukaryotic cells. Complete the table by
features of
filling in the empty boxes A to H'
Organelle Structural feature Function(s) of feature

NucleolusPresent A

The inner membrane c
is folded into cristae
A vesicle containing Breakdown of old
D organelles. Cell lYsis
hydrolytic enzymes
Smooth endoPlasmic Consistsof flattened E
membrane-bound sacs
reticulum called cisternae
Rough endoPlasmic Hasribosomesbound
reticulum to its surface
G H (a)(i)NamesffuctureslabelledAtoE,onthediagram'(5marks)
(ii) State where in the chloroplast:
(10 marks) (l mark)
1. the light dependentreaction occurs'
(l mark)
2. the light independentreaction occurs'
more than one main
More alert candidateswill realisethat some featureshave and
function. The clues are given in the third column - the plural in the headingand (b) Describe three similarities in the structure of chloroplasts
(3 marks)
the number of allocated
the Wsofunctions n tfre ttrira Uox down. The fact that mitochondria.
also gives a clue'
marks is greater than the number of boxes ( c ) The chloroplast shown in the drawing was magnified 8500
of the chloroplast along axis XY. Show your
Mark scheme calculate the actual length
yo* *t*"r in micrometers' (2 marks)
working and express
Total 12 marks

Nucleolus Present Mark scheme
(5 marks)
D - granum/stackof thylacoids; E = sffoma;
(l mark)
(ii) l.granum/thylacoidmembranes/quantosomes;
(l mark)
Mitochondrion; The inner membrane To increase surface 2. Stroma;
is folded into cristae area for enzyme
attachment; for ft) both have double outer membranes;
electron transPort both have many internal membraneslaluge internal surface
both contain DNA/ribosomes ;
chain /oxidative (max 3 marks)
phosphorYlation; both contain lipid droplets;
(c) Length of XY = 5.1 cm/51 mm which is 51'000
A vesicle containing Breakdown of old = + 8'500;
I-engttrofmitochondrion 51,000
hydrolytic enzymes organelles.Cell lYsis (2 marks)
= 6.0 Pm ;

Smooth endoPlasmic Consists of flattened mistake the lipid droplet
In (aXi) a common error made by candidatesis to
reticulum (SER) membrane-boundsacs be far smaller and probably barely visible
for a ribosome. Ribosomes would
called cisternae problems occ'r with a question like pan (b).
at this magnification. Most
mitochondria and chloroplasts'
Has ribosomes bound To score the marks yo., *.rri refer to both
so do not waste time by giving
to its surface The question asks ior tt'ee similarities
A stack of flattened I AssemblY of three marks. The question asksfor sffucture so do not
waste time in giving
membrane-bound sacs I po$etides into irelevant functional information, which may cause you to lose marks. For
.large internal
be tempted to explain that the
example, candidates may
conjugation of .accommodatemore enzymesfor more efficient activity''
surfacearea,is to
proteins with other
molecules; ability and
One of the skills you have to demonsffateis your mathematical
are frequently asked for to test this skill' To
magnification calculations
ensuregaining the marks alwaYs:
'ribosomes synthesizeprotein"
A common biological error is to state that .showyourworkingforwhichIot(2marks)maybeawarded.
Rememberthattheribosomessynthesizepolypeptides,whicharelater . show units, particularly in the answer.If units are missing marks will
vesicles or within the
assembled into protein, either in RER ffansport not be awarded.
Golgibody,aftertheRERvesiclesfusewiththecisternae. . do not give an answer to more decimal places than can be accurately
measureXY, using
'mitochondrion' (and measured.In the above measurementyou can only
Be careful that you use the singular spelling for a ruler, to the nearesthalf mm (51 t 0.5 mm)' So the answer is 6'0 pm'
,lysosome').In thesecasesthe table obviously refersto single organelles'
'mitochondria' is different from the singular you may If you give 6.02 pm you will lose the mark'
Blcause the spelling
lose the mark.
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Question 5 Question 6
The diagram below shows an electron micrograph of a liver cell. of theplasmamembrane.
Thediagrambelowshowssomeof thecomponents

D (a) (i) Using the information shown and your own knowledge, draw a
diagram to show the structue of the plasma membrane.
(3 marlcs)

(ii) On your diagram label the components drawn and indicate the
outer surface of the membrane. (5 marl<s)

(b) State two functions of the proteins in the plasma membrane.
(2 marlcs)
(a) (i) Name parts labelled A to F. (6 marks)
(c) Explain how the following substancescross the plasma membrane:
(ii) Name two structuresshown in the diaeram which would not be (i) carbondioxide. (2 marl<s)
presentin a plant cell. (2 marlcs) (ii) glucose. (3 marl<s)
(iii) Name two sffuctures present in a palisade mesophyll cell which Tbtal 15 marl<s
are not present in a liver cell. (2 marlcs)
Mark scheme
(b) What evidence, shown in the diagram of the liver cell, suggeststhat (a) (i) and (ii) correct orientation of phospholipids in a bilayer;
it is: intrinsic protein drawn in correctly;
(i) metabolically active and involved in the secretion of enzymes? extrinsic protein and glycocalyx drawn in correctly; (3 marlcs)
(4 marks)

(ii) involved in the synthesis or modification of lipids? (l mark)
Total 15 marks
Mark scheme
(a) (i) A - golgibody/cisterna; B = cenffiole; C = doublenuclear
membrane;D = nucleolus; E = mitochondrion; surface/
F = rough endoplasmic reticulum; (6 marks)
i zJ-

(ii) centriole; microvilli; (2 mark)
. extrinsic

(iii) large vacuole; chloroplasts; cell wall; (max 2 marks)
(b) (i) the presenceof many mitochondria; internaVintrinsic protein ;
large/much rough endoplasmic reticulum with many ribo somes;
presenceof microvilli ; (5 marl<s)
largenucleus; (mar 4 marks)
(b) Any t'wo of: tansport/receptors/recognition/attachment
(ii) the presenceof much smooth endoplasmic reticulum; (I mark) (2 marl<s)
(c) (i) diffusion;
A common error made by candidates in (aXi) is to confuse the smooth down concentration gradient;
endoplasmic reticulum (SER) with the golgi body. Remember that ttre golgi as hydrogen carbonateions/as dissolved CO"; (max 2 marlcs)
body is more 'sffuctured' than the SER, consisting of a stack of 'penny-
shaped' cisternae.Candidatesoften fail to refer to 'double' in the nuclear (ii) either: facilitated diffusion;
membrane label, but examiners invariably insist on its inclusion for the glucose binds to carrier/protein;
mark to be awarded. In part (a)(iii) 'chloroplasts' is acceptablebut not protein changesshape/carriesglucose across;
becausechlorophyll is not a structure. or: active transport:
glucose binds to carrier/protein;
In a question such as (bXi) candidates often become sidetracked into energy or AIP required;
explaining the evidence.The question only askswhat the evidenceis. Thus protein changesshape/carriesglucose across;
the candidate who writes 'presence of many mitochondria to generate ref. needsNa+ to be carried at the sametime;
energy to enable protein synthesis' will score no more marks than the (max 3 marks)
candidate who gives the basic point stated in the mark scheme. Do not
waste time answering more than is asked for, and remember that if you do The commonest error in part (a) is to show a glycocalyx on both sides of the
give unwanted information which is incorrect you will almost certainly membrane. The glycocalyx is only on the outside surface. In part (cxi)
lose marks, becauseyour answerswill be out of context. The allocation of candidatestend to omit referencesto hydrogen carbonateions/carbondioxide
four marks in (bxi) should indicate to the candidate that four pieces of must be dissolved to passthe membrane.In (cXii) candidatesrarely refer to
evidencearerequired. the association between glucose and sodium transport.
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Question 7 In part (b) the verb used is 'explain' and your answer should reflect this.
Read through the following passageabout cell fractionation in animal tissues For example, in pan (bxiii) a simple statement that 'pH changes are
and then answer the questions relating to it. minimised' would only scoreone of the available marks - further explanation
is needed to score the second mark. In part (cXii) the mark allocations
Cellfractionation is a techniqueusedto prepare samplesof the various cell
indicate how many answersthere are for each sediment - but you have to
organelles. The organelles can be separated into fractions according to
remember, (from your revision), the relative masses of the different
their massusing dffirential centrifugation. Tissuesarefirst cut into small
organelles so that you can work out the answer. In part (c) (iii) the verb
pieces and placed into chilled, isotonic, buffered saline. The tissue is then
used is 'explain' and so a simple descriptive statement will not suffice as
homogenisedto break open the cells and to release the organelles. The
an answer. For example, a simple statementthat 'the organelles separate
resulting suspensionis thenfiltered and centrifuged at low speedto remove
due to the different 'g' forces acting on them' would be unlikely to score.
large debris and unopened cells. The supernatant then contains the
An answer with the detail shown in the marks scheme would be expected.
organelles suspendedin chilled, isotonic, buffered saline.
Section (c)(iv) has a hard answer, probably only known to really well-
The suspensionof organelles is then subjectedto thefollowing sequenceof prepared candidates,but remember, exam questions must be designed to
dffirential centrifugation, the sedimentsbeing collected at each stageand distinguish betweencandidatesof high, medium and low capability. If you
the supernatant centrifuged again in the next step. learn all your work thoroughly you should become a candidate of high
capability. Similarly, in (cXiii) the 'fragments of endoplasmic reticulum'
I. suspensioncentrifugedat 500 - 600 g for 5 - l0 minutes. mark will probably only be scored by really knowledgeable candidates.
SedimentI collected.
2. supernatantcentrifuged at 10,000 - 20,000 g for 15 - 20 minutes. Question 8
Sediment2 collected. The photograph below shows a voluntary motor nerve fibre, cut in
3. supernatant centrifuged at 100,000 g for 60 minutes. Sediment 3 transversesection, as seenunder the low power of an electron microscope.

(a) Suggesta reasonfor obtaining samplesof specific typesof organelle.
( I mark)
(b) Explain why:
(i) the temperature during the process is kept low. (2 marks)
(ii) the saline must be isotonic. (2 marks)
(iii) the saline is buffered . (2 marks)

(c) (i) When centrifuging, what does the letter 'g' denote? ( I mark)
(ii) What organelles would you expect to find in:
sediment1? (1 mark)
sediment2? (2 marks)
sediment3? (2 marks)

(iii) Explain why different organelles separateinto the different
sediments. (2 marks) (a) Label structgresA. B and C. (3 marks)
(iv) Sedimenttwo containstwo types of cell organelle.Suggesta
technique that could be used to separatethem. (I mark) (b) Make an accurate drawing of the nerve fibre in the photograph. Your
Total 16 marks drawing should show the photographedfibre at X2 magnification. Do
not label your drawing. (4 marks)
Mark scheme Total T marks
(a) so that their functions/biochemistry can be srudied; (l mark)
Mark scheme
(b) (i) to slow down/inactivate their metabolism so that they are less (a) A = schwann cell; B = myelin sheath; C = axon; (3 marks)
likely to be damaged;
to minimise self-digestion/autolysis of the organelles; (2 marks) (b) correct magnification;
(ii) to prevent osmosisfrom damaging of the organelles; relative proportion of different parts correct;
by swelling/bursting due to water uptakeAhrinking due to water loss; amount of detail acceptable and accurate;
(2 marks) good quality of drawing; (4 marks)
(iii) to minimise pH changesduring the process;
A skill that you must develop, and which examiners frequently test, is
so that enzymes in the organelles do not denature; (2 marlcs)
the ability to observe biological structures for accurate detail and to
(c) (i) 1 'g' is normal earth gravity, so 100 'g' denotes 100times normal illustrate them. Examiners will expect your drawings to be an accurate,
gravity; (I mark) detailed illustration of the structure, not a textbook diagram of the
(ii) sediment 1 = nuclei; (I mark) sffucture. You must use a sharp pencil (do not draw in ink), lines should
sediment 2 = mitochondria; lysosomes; join up cleanly, (no 'little tails' should appear),and shading,if necessary,
(2 marks)
sediment 3 = ribosomes; fragments of endoplasmic reticulum; should be judicious and appropriate. A small amount of tolerance will be
(2 marks) given on the magnification factor, but not much.
(iii) different types of organelle have different masses/nucleiheaviest,
In part (a) the questionasksfor 'sffuctures'. Thus 'myelin' will not score
ribosomes lightest;
becauseit is a substance- 'myelin sheath' is required.
organelleswhich have small massneed a larger 'g' force to
sediment them than organelles of high mass; (2 marks)
(iv) sucrosedensity gradient centrifugation; (l mark)
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