Check your learners’ understanding of experimental skills and strategies

This resource accompanies the article How to teach practical planning, part of the Teaching science skills series in Education in Chemistry.

Use these exam-style questions to see if learners can evaluate given methods, make suggestions for improvements, select appropriate apparatus and plan experiments. The questions are based on chromatography, making salts and neutralisation practicals. Two versions of the worksheet are available depending on support needs of your learners.

Learning objectives

  1. Identify the mistakes in methods for planned practical experiments.
  2. Explain why the mistakes you have found would not lead to a valid outcome.
  3. Select the appropriate equipment needed to carry out a given investigation.
  4. Plan a method that would lead to a valid outcome.
The word skills with a molecule over the i and a measure on an l. Inside a circle.

This resource is part of our Teaching science skills series, bringing together strategies and classroom activities to help your learners develop essential scientific skills, from developing hypotheses to understanding ethics.

How to use this resource

There are several ways you could use this resource:

  • As part of a revision lesson on required practicals or working scientifically.
  • As part of separate lessons on chromatography, making salts or titrations (neutralisation). Giving the questions at the end of a practical lesson or at the start of the following lesson.

You may wish to use one or more of the techniques below:

  • Complete the questions as a ‘walking talking’ mock. Explain how to determine what the question is asking and prompt learners to highlight the key words/command words.
  • Get learners to complete the questions under timed exam conditions, go through the answers and have them make improvements.
  • Use cold calling to choose learners and check for understanding.
  • Show learner answers under a visualiser and discuss with the class.


Use the support worksheet (indicated with an ‘S’ icon in the header) when additional support with the questions is needed.


A mark scheme for both worksheets can be found in the teacher notes.

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