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.

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

  1. Do we need to have some specific company’s geometry instruments because in the physics oct/nov 2020 paper 61 in that in Q1 a (i) we have to measure lengths so in the mark scheme the answers is 3.1cm but my scale is showing it 2.95cm

    • Hello Peter John,

      Thank you for your kind words!

      Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help!

  2. How can I start training and taking courses?? I just got into family can’t rlly afford the expensive courses so can I learn IGCSE courses for free?

  3. what is the best way to study for the physics igcse exam? I have my caie exams coming up in May June but I’m not fully prepared and not able to answer the past paper question easily

    • Hello Rabeeah,

      We usually suggest students to start their revision at least 5 months before their exams so they will have sufficient time to cover everything.

      But since you only have 2 months, you may do targeted revision. You can go through the topics that you are not so confident about. Learn what is expected from you ( and answer topic specific practices. But we also suggest that you allot time to answer past exam papers ( Answering past exam papers will help you familiarise with the question styles and formats.

      You may also consider our single payment course. You can access the full course materials at once for four months. You can go through the topics and watch the video tutorials. Then answer the exam-style assessments for each topic. For more information, please have a read at this page:

      We hope this helps. Thank you.

      • Our CAIE Exams in may June are canceled now. Which step should be taken now? Should we start studying for AS? Is it a good idea to take exams in OCT-NOV? I would but my AS would start in August or September so I would have to study for AS and If I study for O level I would fall behind in my classes. But im also afraid I might have to repeat a grade again

        • Hello Emily,

          Thank you for your message.

          We believe that exams remain the fairest and most reliable way to assess student achievement and the assessed grade may not reflect your true capability. We strongly suggest that you consider withdrawing your June entry and re-enter for the November exam series. This will be beneficial for you in the long run because your certificate will reflect your true capability as well as a proper qualification for your future.

          You will not fall behind your AS Level classes, if you start your IGCSE November exam preparation from now. By August/September you should be fully ready for your IGCSE November exams. Your AS Level study has just started, so they would be easy to catch up later.

          You may want to consider taking our world-renowned A* online courses. Follow our course guidelines diligently and you will have less stress worrying with your exam preparations. Please find out more here:

          Should you have further questions, feel free to write to us. Thank you.

          • Hello I’m having difficulties in physics I feel like no matter how hard I try I fail will igcse physics paper be as hard or is it a sign to frop

          • Hello Athenah,

            You may want to consider our A* Online Courses. These courses had produced thousands of A*/A achievers worldwide. Follow our programme diligently, and you will build your confidence to ace your exams.

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