How To Answer Short-answer Questions and Structured Questions in IGCSE Physics 0625

IGCSE Physics

IGCSE Physics 0625 paper 3 and paper 4 exam techniques.

The short-answer questions and structured questions on Papers 3 (Core) and 4 (Extended) are designed to test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of physics theory and the ability to apply the knowledge to situations described on the paper. This article includes tips on how to read the questions and advice in particular items.

Basic Guidelines:

  1. Be at ease in using your calculator. We suggest that you get familiar with it and its features.
  2. Do not repeat any facts given in the question set. You must answer the questions directly.
  3. If you’re having trouble answering a question, leave it first and come back to it later. Put a mark by the side of the question so you can find it easily.
  4. Do not waste time and write a long answer to a question which has one or two marks. You will not gain extra marks even if your answer is full of many correct and relevant statements.
  5. The number of marks will guide you on how long to spend on each question or parts of a question.
  6. If a part of the question is worth three marks you should make at least three separate points. Be careful not to make the same point three times - no marks are awarded for the repeated points.
  7. When drawing diagrams, you must draw it with a ruler and label it with straight lines.

Read the whole question carefully and fully

Read the question once right through and then again more slowly. It is best to highlight the main features of a question by underlining or circling the keywords in the question. This will help you decide which area of physics is being asked. Any explanation of the relevant physics statement that does not answer the question set will not earn marks.

The questions usually include stimulus materials that contain all the relevant information. The information can be given in different ways: a diagram, a graph or a table. Study the materials thoroughly as they often provide clues and answers to the question. Read the introductory sentences as it often includes information that is required in your answer.

Be familiar with the Command Words

Command words aim to guide the candidates in providing the right response to each question. It is best to review each of these phrases and words to understand the meaning of a term. A table of command words and its brief definition are listed below. However, the meaning of a term may vary slightly according to how the question is worded.

Physics Command Words

When answering calculation, always show the working of your answer

All science papers include calculations. You should learn a set method for solving a calculation and use that method. You must write out all the working for your calculation as it can gain marks for the method even if there’s a mistake with the final answer. For example, if there are three marks available for a calculation, two of the three marks are for showing the proper method of calculation.

Some questions require you to carry out the calculation and add the result to a table. In these cases, your answer must be the same way as the figures are given. Be consistent with your final answers. If the figures are 5.63 and 4.65, then the answer should be given to two decimal places. Even if the answer is a whole number, the answer should be written as 7.00, not 7. When using a calculator, round up or down the figures – don’t copy all the figures after the decimal point.

Remember to write the correct symbols and units

Candidates must be able to state symbols for the different physical quantities and, where indicated, state the units in which they are measured. The table below lists the quantity, the usual symbol and usual unit used in Physics syllabus.

Familiarise with the following multipliers: M mega, k kilo, c centi, m milli as these may be included in many calculations. Make sure to show the units in the calculation. If the units are not given on the answer line, then always write them after the numerical answer.

Quantity, Symbol and Unit

* Note: All relevant info taken from CIE.

14 Replies to “How To Answer Short-answer Questions and Structured Questions in IGCSE Physics 0625”

  1. Hi IGCSE Centre! I am writing this to clarify whether you can suggest any IGCSE Centres in Munich, Germany so that I can take up my IGCSE/O Level exams.

    • Hi Aishwarya,

      We will be opening the subscription to our online Revision Course very very soon. These courses had produced many A* candidates worldwide. In the meantime you can have a read at this page: to understand how it works. Furthermore, we only have online operations at the moment.

      If you need further clarifications, feel free to write to us again. Thank you.

  2. Question no. 10 in igcse physics FM 2020 paper is regarding eddy currents! Nothing is mentioned regarding that in our syllabus copy nor have I found any igcse material regarding eddy currents… Then how come there is a possibility of such a question arriving? I am very disheartened to say this to you but you too betrayed us. Like other boards… If I am saying something wrong then plz correct me. I will be desperately and eagerly waiting for your reply regarding this problem. Hope to see a solution… (And I hope u would understand my desperation to get an answer to this question…)

    • Hi Ria,

      Thank you for addressing this concern with us. Unfortunately we are not the exam board. We strongly suggest you to write to CAIE, the exam board, and address this issue with them.

      It is good to write to CAIE and let them know what is happening on the ground at students’ side. Especially when it’s related to exam questions and the syllabus.


  4. Hi IGCSE Centre,
    I have a question about Physics 0625 Paper 2- MCQ (Extended)
    Even though I practice many past papers, I don’t get the desired results. How do I make sure that I am able to get the results that I want?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Pooja,

      Here are some tips for you:

      – Work through the paper carefully. Do not miss out any question for any reason – you may then start placing your answers in the wrong places.

      – Do not attempt to look for any pattern or any lack of pattern in the answers. In other words, do not worry about how many questions have been answered A, B, C or D and do not worry about the distribution of As, Bs, Cs and Ds.

      – Be confident in answering the questions. When you are well-prepared, confidence will follow.

  5. Hi IGCSE centre,
    I have a question about physics… I solve numerous past papers but still don’t get good marks… Also, what is the most asked question, usually, from the previous papers? Let me know! Thanks!

  6. hi , i am little confused for my igcse coordinated science paper 2. In the paper we would get 2 booklets:- one is in which the questions would be written and we are supposed to tick the answers with pencil and the second would be the “OMR SHEET” in which we would fill the same answers which we would tick in the booklet. So my doubt is that how can i make sure that while filling the appropriate circles in the OMR SHEET i donot fill the wrong one, out of tension or nervousness and if i fill some wrong circles , is there anything that i can do to correct it??
    IGCSE CENTRE please help

    • Hi Devi,

      First of all, take a deep breath and relax. This article will help you:

      You must put your mind on answering your paper, not stressing. When you concentrate on one thing, your mind can’t think of another thing. Believe in yourself and your abilities.

      Furthermore, we suggest that you use a pencil and if you still have time, double check your answers and compare your answers from the booklet and the OMR sheet.

      You may want to subscribe to our newsletter where we send out valuable FREE email courses. You will learn exam techniques & it will help you score A* in your exam.

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