IB Physics Topic 1 Questions (SL & HL)

Topic 1: Measurements & Data

You must login or register for free to use our interactive syllabus checklist and save your progress! This page contains all of the IB physics topic 1 questions created from past IB physics topic 1 past papers. IB physics topic 1 covers the IB physics measurements and uncertainties content from the IB physics course. The sub-topics included are shown below, covering the IB physics topic 1 areas of: units, scientific notation, significant figures, random error, systematic error, uncertainties, vectors & scalar quantities, and vectors.

Our IB physics topic 1 questions on IB physics measurements and uncertainties test your topic 1 syllabus knowledge required for the IB physics topic 1 questions in the exam. They will also prepare you well for IB physics topic 1 past paper questions!

Topic 1 Sub-topics

Question 1

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the fundamental SI unit of charge?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

The SI units of charge are Ampere seconds (A s). Coulomb per second is the derived SI unit of current, Coulombs are the derived SI unit of charge, and Ohms are the derived SI unit of resistance

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Question 2

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of the following are derived units?

I Ohms (Ω)
II Kelvin (K)
III Candelas (cd)
IV Joules (J)

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

Ohms and Joules are derived SI units, whereas Kelvin and Candelas are fundamental SI units.

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Question 3

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

It is estimated that the Sun will implode in 1017 seconds. In how many years would this event occur?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

Converting to seconds, 1017 s ÷ 60 s/min ÷ 60 min/hr ÷ 24 hr/day ÷ 365.25 days/yr = 3.17 billion years

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Question 4

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

How many significant figures are in 5024.070 g?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

All the digits are significant, so there are 7 significant figures

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Question 5

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the equivalent of 0.0000936 m?

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Correct, the answer is C!

The equivalent of 0.0000936 m is 0.0936 mm, 93.6 μm, or 93,600 nm

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Question 6

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the scientific notation of 4,010,000?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

The scientific notation of 4,010,000 is 4.01 x106. Although 40.1 x105 is technically correct, it is not in the range of 1 to 9.99 and thus incorrect notation

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Question 7

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the fundamental SI unit of voltage?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

The fundamental SI units of a Volt is kg m2 s-3 A-1. Volts (V) are the derived SI unit of voltage, A s is the fundamental SI unit of a Coulomb, and A s-3 is not a unit for quantity.

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Question 8

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of the following are correct scientific notation?

I 10.1 x102
II 2.03 x10-4
III 0.930 x102
IV 5.758 x1015

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

10.1 x102 and 0.930 x102 are not within the 1 to 9.99 range of scientific notation, whereas 2.03 x10-4 and 5.758 x1015 are within this range

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Question 9

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the equivalent of 10,482 mW?

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Correct, the answer is D!

The equivalent of 10,482 mW is 10,482,000 μW, 10.482 W, or 0.010482 kW

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Question 10

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the fundamental SI unit of a Newton?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

The fundamental SI unit of a Newton is kg m s-2. The Newton (N) is a derived SI unit, and the other options are not units for quantities

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Question 11

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the standard form of 4.73 x 10-4?

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Correct, the answer is C!

The standard form of 4.73 x 10-4 is 0.000473 as the decimal place is moved left one digit four times

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Question 12

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of these numbers has 4 significant figures?

I 3.024
II 5910
III 0.0304
IV 5.206 x 10-4

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

The two options with 4 significant figures are 3.024 and 5.206 x10-4. In 5910, they're 3 or 4 significant figures depending on the rounding, but is assumed to be 4, and in 0.0304, the leading zeros are non-significant, so they have 3 significant figures.

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Question 13

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

The mass of an electron is 9.109 x 10-31 kg. What is its equivalent?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

The equivalent of 9.109 x 10-31 kg is 9.109 x 10-34 Mg, 9.109 x 10-37 Gg, 9.109 x 10-28 g, and 9.109 x 10-25 mg

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Question 14

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the scientific notation for 0.405 A?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

The scientific notation for 0.405 A is 4.05 x 10-1 A. Although 405 mA and 4.05 x 10-4 kA are equal values, they are not in amperes

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Question 15

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of these units are fundamental SI units?

I Kilograms
II Volts
III Pascals
IV Amperes
V Joules

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

Kilograms and Amperes are fundamental SI units. Volts, Pascals, and Joules are derived SI units

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Question 16

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

The Earth’s circumference is 40,007.8630 km. How many significant figures is this?

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Correct, the answer is D!

All the digits are significant, so there are 9 significant figures in 40,007.8630 km

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Question 17

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the equivalent of 40,369 mΩ?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

The equivalent of 40,369 mΩ is 40,369,000 nΩ, 40.369 Ω, or 0.040369 kΩ

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Question 18

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the fundamental SI unit of a Pascal?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

The fundamental SI unit of a Newton is kg m s-2, whereas kg m2 s-3 A-1 is a Volt, kg m2 s-2 is a Joule, and kg m-1 s-2 is a Pascal

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Question 19

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

How many significant figures are in the number 0.00024857400?

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Correct, the answer is C!

There are 8 significant figures in 0.00024857400. The leading zeros are non-significant

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Question 20

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

What is the equivalent of 258,000,000 Hz?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

The equivalent of 258,000,000 Hz is 258,000 kHz, 258 MHz, or 0.258 GHz

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Question 1

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

A piece of paper is measured to be 26 cm with a ruler marked in mm. What is the final measurement, including the uncertainty?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

The ruler in this question is analog and its smallest unit is 1 mm or 0.1 cm. The uncertainty is thus ± 0.5 mm or ± 0.05 cm

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Question 2

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

Which of the following is correct?

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Correct, the answer is D!

Precision is how close repeat values are to one another. Accuracy is how close the values are to the true value. Therefore, a measurement can be precise but not accurate. Random errors are minimized with repeated trials, whereas systematic errors are no

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Question 3

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

An object’s mass is measured three times on a digital balance and shown in the table below

Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3
Mass (± 0.1 g) 2.1 g 2.0 g 2.0 g

What is the average mass of the object?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

The average mass is (2.1 + 2.0 + 2.0) ÷ 3 = 2.033 g. The uncertainty is the sum of the uncertainties divided by the number of repeats, so (0.1 + 0.1 + 0.1) ÷ 3 = ± 0.1

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Question 4

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

When an 80°C liquid is left to cool overnight, its temperature drops down to 16°C, measured with a thermometer marked with 2°C increments. What is the change in temperature of the liquid?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

The thermometer in this question is analog and its smallest unit is 2°C. The uncertainty is thus ± 1°C.

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Question 5

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

A liquid was measured in a burette marked with 0.2 mL increments. Which of the following would be a measurement with the correct uncertainty?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

The burette in this question is analog and its smallest unit is 0.2 mL. The uncertainty is thus ± 0.1 mL

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Question 6

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

The current in a wire is 5.0 A ± 0.2 A. What is the percentage uncertainty?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

Percentage uncertainty = (absolute uncertainty ÷ value) * 100. So, (0.2 ÷ 5.0) * 100% = 4%

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Question 7

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of the following is a correctly drawn graph?

IB Physics sub-topic 1.2 exam question 7

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

A drawn graph has labelled and scaled axes for quantitative measurement, shown by graphs II and IV. Graphs I and III do not have scaled axes and are sketched graphs

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Question 8

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

A barometer measures pressure with a 5% percentage uncertainty. If the reading is 500 kPa, what is the absolute uncertainty?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

Absolute uncertainty = (% uncertainty * value) ÷ 100. So, (5 * 500) ÷ 100 = 25

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Question 9

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

A stopwatch is used to measure the time it takes for a ball to drop from a building. The ball falls at 5.02 seconds. What is the uncertainty?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

The stopwatch in this question is a digital instrument and its smallest unit is 0.01 s. The uncertainty is thus ± 0.01 s

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Question 10

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of the following will reduce random errors in an experiment?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

A random error is reduced by performing repeated trials of an experiment. Using an instrument with a higher level of precision only increases precision. The remaining options are methods to reduce systematic error

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Question 11

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

The mass and volume of a cube have percentage uncertainties of ± 5% and ± 3%. What is the percentage uncertainty of the density of the cube?

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Correct, the answer is A!

The formula for density is density = mass ÷ volume. During division of two values, percentage uncertainties are summated and thus ± 5% + ± 3% = 8%

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Question 12

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

What is true about a line of best fit?

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Correct, the answer is B!

The maximum slope is the gradient of the line between the lowest value of the first point and highest value of the last point. However, a line of best fit should go through as many data points and error bars as possible, its uncertainty is the maximum and minimum slopes, and the minimum y-intercept is found from the maximum slope

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Question 13

[Total Marks: 1] Hard

A cube has a side length of 20 mm ± 1 mm. What is its volume?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

The equation for the volume of a cube is V = s3. So, V is 203 = 8000 mm3. Since the values are multiplied, their percentage uncertainties are added.
Percentage uncertainty = (absolute uncertainty ÷ value) * 100. So, (1 ÷ 20) * 100 = 5%.
Since the value was multiplied by itself three times, the total percentage uncertainty is 15%
Absolute uncertainty = (% uncertainty * value) ÷ 100. So, (15 * 8000) ÷ 100 = ± 1200 mm3.
The lowest number of significant figures used was 1, so the uncertainty becomes ± 1000 mm3

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Question 14

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Absolute uncertainties are summated when

I Two values are added
II Two values are multiplied
III Two values are divided

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

Absolute uncertainties are summated when two values are added or subtracted. Percentage uncertainties are summated when two values are multiplied or divided

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Question 15

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

A systematic error affects an experiment by

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Correct, the answer is D!

A systematic error is an inaccuracy that offsets all data equally. It thus decreases accuracy and does not affect precision

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Question 16

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

A digital balance is used to measure a mass. The screen flickers and gives a measurement of 12.43 g, 12.44 g, and then finally lands on 12.45 g. What is the measurement with the correct uncertainty?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

The measurement is the final one used, which is 12.45 g. A digital instrument has an uncertainty of ± the smallest unit, which is ± 0.01g in this question. Thus, the final measurement is 12.45 g ± 0.01 g

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Question 17

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

The minimum y-intercept can be determined from

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

The minimum y-intercept and maximum x-intercept are determined from the maximum line of best fit. The maximum y-intercept and minimum x-intercept are determined from the minimum line of best fit. The y-value 0 seconds could be the normal, maximum, or minimum y-intercept

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Question 18

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

Which of the following will reduce systematic errors in an experiment?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

Systematic errors are reduced by eliminating methodological errors such as checking for zero error and calibration of the instrument. Performing repeated trials of an experiment reduces random error and using an instrument with a higher level of precision only increases precision

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Question 19

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

A teacher is preparing a class presentation on the effect of temperature on pressure and wants to show the observed trend. Which is the appropriate graph to display this information?

IB Physics sub-topic 1.2 exam question 19

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

Sketched graphs have labelled but unscaled axes and show qualitative trends. The graphs matching this description are graphs I and III. Graphs II and IV are drawn graphs with labelled and scaled axes to show quantitative measurements

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Question 20

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Percentage uncertainties are summated when

I Two values are subtracted
II Two values are divided
III Two values are multiplied

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

Percentage uncertainties are summated when two values are multiplied or divided. Absolute uncertainties are summated when two values are added or subtracted

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Question 1

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of the following is a scalar quantity?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

A scalar is a quantity with only magnitude, such as distance. A vector is a quantity with magnitude and a direction, such as force, voltage, and momentum

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Question 2

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

The two vectors below are added

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 2

What is the resultant vector?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

Two vectors are added via the head-tail rule. The addition is shown below and forms the third vector

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam answer 2

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Question 3

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Two cars A and B travel towards a junction with velocities VA and VB as shown below.

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 3

What is the velocity vector of car A relative to car B?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

Relative to car B, car A moves towards it. Thus, its velocity vector is down and right

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Question 4

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

Vectors m, n, and o are shown below

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 4

What is the equation of vector o in terms of vectors m and n?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is A!

In this question, the reverse head-tail rule can be used to put the first and last vector tails together and show the needed second vector. Doing this creates the complete vector diagram below

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam answer 4

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Question 5

[Total Marks: 1] Hard

Resolve the following vector into its x and y components

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 5

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

The equation for the x-component of a vector is vx = v * cosθ. So, vx is 5 * cos(37) = 4
The x-component is in the negative direction and thus becomes - 4
The equation for the y-component of a vector is vy = v * sinθ. So, vy is 5 * sin(37) = 3
The y-component is in the positive direction and thus stays positive

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Question 6

[Total Marks: 1] Hard

A vector is shown below. What is the magnitude of its y-component?

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 6

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

The equation for the y-component of a vector is vy = v * sinθ. So, vy is 8 * sin(30) = 4
The y-component is in the negative direction and thus becomes - 4

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Question 7

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

From the vectors shown below, m is subtracted from n.

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 7

What is the resultant vector?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is D!

Two vectors are added via the head-tail rule. The addition is shown below and forms the third vector

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam answer 7

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Question 8

[Total Marks: 1] Easy

Which of the following is a vector?

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is B!

A vector is a quantity with magnitude and a direction, such as current. A scalar is a quantity with only magnitude, such as length, mass, and temperature

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Question 9

[Total Marks: 1] Hard

A vector is shown below. What is the magnitude of its x-component?

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 9

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

The equation for the x-component of a vector is vx = v * cosθ. So, vx is 20 * cos(60) = 10. The x-component is in the positive direction and thus stays positive

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Question 10

[Total Marks: 1] Medium

Vectors m, n, and o are shown below. What is the equation of vector o in terms of vectors m and n?

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam question 10

Select an answer from the options

Correct, the answer is C!

In this question, the reverse head-tail rule can be used to put the first and last vector tails together and show the needed second vector. Doing this creates the complete vector diagram below

IB Physics sub-topic 1.3 exam answer 10

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