Required Practicals

Required practicals and scientific key words

When answering questions about practical work in an exam you will need to be confident with using scientific key words such as the ones below. You can find a full list of key words and definitions by clicking here.

Biology Required Practical List


  • Microscopy - Use a light microscope to observe, draw and label a selection of plant and animal cells. A magnification scale must be included.
  • Osmosis - Investigate the effect of a range of concentrations of salt or sugar solutions on the mass of plant tissue.
  • Enzymes - Investigate the effect of pH on the rate of reaction of amylase enzyme.


  • Food tests - Use qualitative reagents to test for a range of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.


  • Photosynthesis - Investigate the effect of light intensity on the rate of photosynthesis using an aquatic organism such as pondweed.


  • Reaction time - Plan and carry out an investigation into the effect of a factor on human reaction time.


  • Field investigations - Measure the population size of a common species in a habitat. Use sampling techniques to investigate the effect of a factor on the distribution of this species.

Chemistry Required Practical List

Chemical Changes

  • Making salts - Preparation of a pure, dry sample of a soluble salt from an insoluble oxide or carbonate, using a Bunsen burner to heat dilute acid and a water bath or electric heater to evaporate the solution.
  • Electrolysis - Investigate what happens when aqueous solutions are electrolysed using inert electrodes.

Energy Changes

  • Temperature changes - Investigate the variables that affect temperature changes in reacting solutions, eg acid plus metals, acid plus carbonates, neutralisations, displacement of metals.

Rates of reactions

  • Rates of reaction - Investigate how changes in concentration affect the rates of reactions by a method involving measuring the volume of a gas produced and a method involving a change in colour or turbidity.

Chemical Analysis

  • Chromatography - Investigate how paper chromatography can be used to separate and tell the difference between coloured substances.

Chemical Resources

  • Water purification - Analysis and purification of water samples from different sources, including pH, dissolved solids and distillation.

Physics Required Practical List


  • Specific heat capacity - An investigation to determine the specific heat capacity of one or more materials.


  • Resistance - Use circuit diagrams to set up and check appropriate circuits to investigate the factors affecting the resistance of an electrical circuit. Click here to test yourself on the practical.
  • I-V characteristics - Use circuit diagrams to construct appropriate circuits to investigate the I-V characteristics of a variety of circuit elements including a filament lamp, a diode and a resistor at constant temperature.

Particle Model

  • Density - Use appropriate apparatus to make and record the measurements needed to determine the densities of regular and irregular solid objects and liquids.


  • Force and extension - Investigate the relationship between force and extension for a spring.
  • Acceleration - Investigate the effect of varying the force on the acceleration of an object of constant mass and the effect of varying the mass of an object on the acceleration produced by a constant force.


  • Waves - Make observations to identify the suitability of apparatus to measure the frequency, wavelength and speed of waves in a ripple tank and waves in a solid and take appropriate measurements.
  • Radiation and absorption - Investigate how the amount of infrared radiation absorbed or radiated by a surface depends on the nature of that surface.