Data response questions

Background information on data response questions

This section provides teachers with some practice examples of data response questions to give to their students together with fully worked answers. Apart from the first three, all the examples are completely new so will not have been seen by students before.

One or more of the questions in Section A on Paper 3 will be a data response question. That is, some data will be given either about a topic that is on the programme or about something which is not on the programme but which students should be able to apply their knowledge of topics that are on the programme to understand and answer the questions that follow. The data given may appear in several different formats e.g. graphical and/or tabular. The data may be from some current research or may be from a typical student experiment. The 'data' should not be accompanied by more than about five sentences of writing to help those for whom English is a second language. Because Section A is only worth 15 marks in total the data response question is likely to be worth about 9 or 10 of those marks.

These questions will usually cover understandings and applications and skills from different topics on the core/AHL part of the syllabus. This is one of the reasons why the page on 'Utilization' - Relationships between topics is useful. The data response questions will usually be making links between the core topics rather than the Additional Higher Level (AHL) material as the questions that have so far been given in examinations are virtually the same for Higher Level as for Standard Level.

Apart from straightforward chemistry the data based questions may also include some questions on The Nature of Science and perhaps reference to some of the ten Group 4 Aims. These do not have to be tested in the data response question but it is quite likely that they will.

It makes sense to give students practice at this type of question. Some quite good questions did appear on Paper 2 of the pre-2014 programme. Efforts are being made by the examination paper setters to ensure that good and genuine data based questions are set for the current the new programme. There are now of course several genuine examples of these on the Paper 3 examination papers from May 2016 onwards.

The links on the left give practice questions together with a detailed answer scheme. The first three examples are from past papers. The first Data response Example 1 question is actually from the 2009 specimen paper from the past programme. This paper was  freely available on the now defunct OCC and was not available for purchase, so I have included the actual question even though it is technically IB copyright and I may be asked to remove it. The other two questions are from May 2009 and are the Paper 2 TZ1 and Paper 2 TZ2 questions respectively. As these can be purchased from the IB I have not included the actual questions but you should easily be able to get hold of them. What I have included after the questions is the minimum information/answer a student needed to give to score each point but then I have gone on to explain further the responses expected. For the specimen question I have also given some food for thought in terms of critical thinking that you might like to share with your students.

All the remaining examples are completely new questions that I have made up specifically for this site. Most of the questions only require a knowledge of the Core material so are suitable for both Standard and Higher Level students. However some of them, e.g. Example 4 on iron pentacarbonyl, Example 6 on paracetamol and Example 9, on cis-platin are really for Higher Level students only, as they require a knowledge and understanding of topics on the AHL (e.g. the iron pentacarbonyl questions includes shapes involving 5 & 6 electron domains, and formal charge and the paracetamol questions involve a knowledge of organic reaction mechanisms).

All the questions are worth nine or ten marks. Because I have tried to make the chemistry interesting some of the sub-questions may be a little harder than the actual exam questions and I may have asked students to do a little more to earn the mark than on a real IB paper. However exposure to questions like this beforehand should make students able to face the data response question in the final examination with considerable confidence.

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.