First year mechanics question bank

First Year
Assessment, Problem set
Mechanics, Physics
University of New South Wales
Oct 2021

A bank of over 80 three-part questions covering the mechanics topic. Questions provided as Moodle STACK question type and as a PDF.

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About this resource


A bank of over 80 three-part questions covering the mechanics topic in a calculus-based introductory physics course. Questions are available in the Moodle STACK question type and as a PDF. Each question includes answers, solutions, and feedback.



Pedagogical backing


Studies have shown that the most efficient study techniques students can utilise are distributed practice (answering questions throughout a semester) and practice testing (taking practice tests) [Dunlosky, 2013]. We created a bank of questions that are used by students throughout the first half of the semester for both formative and summative assessment. The questions are programmed with useful feedback so that students can see where they made mistakes and learn from them. There are at least five questions of similar length aligned to the learning outcomes covered in each lecture. This ensures constructive alignment between lectures and assessment.
These questions have also been programmed with carry-on marking where possible; if a student makes a mistake in an early part of a question and then uses the correct method to answer a later part, they receive full marks for the later part. The questions use randomised variables wherever possible. This means that if students do try an memorize the answers they need to memorize the solution rather than the answer itself and hence they learn how to solve this type of problem.

Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58.

How is the resource used

In our course, students have a weekly quiz with four questions covering the content from the previous week’s lectures; the questions are pulled randomly from the bank. Students have unlimited attempts at the quizzes, with their highest mark counting (1.25% per quiz) towards their grade. If they make a mistake during the quiz, they get feedback about how to answer the question. After the mechanics part of the course, students sit an invigilated test (in our lab) in which they have 40 minutes to answer four questions randomly pulled from the bank. This forms 10% of their grade. They do not get detailed feedback on how to solve the questions during this test, but they can check if their answer is correct.
To navigate this resource we recommend you refer to the “PHYS1121/1131 Physics 1A Lecture Learning Outcomes” to identify which set of questions you are interested in and then use the Moodle XML files for the STACK questions if you have access to Moodle with the STACK question type installed or use the .pdf files if not.

Student evaluation

This question bank was first introduced in 2017 and has been used with around 2000 students a year since. When these quizzes were introduced, exam marks improved by over 10%, which we attribute to the distributed practice the students are performing over the term. The students appreciate the immediate feedback and ample practice that the banks provide.


Elizabeth Angstmann,

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