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GUIDE TO PHYSICS

PRACTICALS
1. Measurement and Observation
2.

Presentation of results
3.
Graphical Work

MEASUREMEN
T AND
OBSERVATION

1.1 Points and Interval Required


Linear Trend 6 readings

required
Curved Trend 9 readings
required
Sensible interval must be chosen
e.g. 15cm < d < 75cm
(Take until 6 readings)
20cm, 30cm, 40cm, 50cm, 60cm,
70cm

1.2 Repeated Readings.


Candidates expected to repeat readings and

calculate average. (at least 3 readings)


ALL raw data (readings) must be recorded,

for example to find the period of a simple


pendulum, readings should include:
l/cm
30.0

Time for 20 Oscillation


t1/s
t2/s
t3/s
16.2

16.6
RAW DATA

16.0

Average, Period
<t>/s
T/s
16.3

0.813

FINAL AVERAGE
VALUE

1.3 Significant Figures


The number of significant figures in the final

calculated quantity should be related to the


number of s.f in the Raw Data
Example:

If bigger numbers, for instance

Resistance of voltmeter is 50 000, Better to


write in in scientific notation (standard form)
R = 5 x 104 (1 Sig fig)
R = 5.0 x 104 (2 Sig fig, 1 d.p)

For logarithmic quantities, the no.


of decimal should be considered. It
is sensible to quote log x to 3d.p if
the values of x is correct to 3s.f

PRESENTATIO
N OF DATA

2.1 Column headings


It must have:
A quantity
A unit
Examples : l/cm or l (cm), t/s or t (s)

In case of logarithms log (l/cm), log

(t/s)

2.2 Consistency of raw data


ALL raw data should be recorded to
the same number of decimal places
which should be consistent

Reading (2) is acceptable since all the


raw data are given to the same
degree of accuracy

2.3 Significant figures


Calculated quantities should be given to the
same number as s.f. as in the measured
quantity of least accuracy.

3. Graphical Work
Choice of scale
ii. Plotting Points
iii. Line of Best fits
iv. Calculation of gradients
v. Determination of y-intercept.
i.

3.1 Choice of scales.


Scale must be chosen so that plotted points will

cover/occupy more than half the graph for both


x axis and y axis.

Each scale must be labeled with the quantity

and units.
Chose scale that is easy to read
E.g. 1:1, 1:2, 1:5, 1 :10
Unacceptable scales are 1:3, 2:3 etc.

3.2 Plotting Points & Line Best Fit


Points should be accurately plotted, to within

one half of the small square.


Plot points using cross or a dot.
Line best fit
There must be a balance of points about the
line(i.e. plotted points should be scattered
equally about the line.
The line must be thin and clear. Thick lines
will not be accepted!

3.4 Calculation of Gradients


ALL working must be shown
The triangle should be drawn and the

coordinates of the vertices clearly labeled.


The coordinates used when calculating the
gradient must be on the straight line.

3.5 Finding y-intercept


Find the yintercept on the
graph itself, or by
calculation. y =
mx +c

Find the gradient and the y-intercept of


this graph

Example of recording data.

Plot this graphs T2/S2 vs l/m, and find the


gradient and y-intercept. (y=mx+c)
Y axis versus x-axis