Physicopoeia

φυσικοποιΐα
THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN WHEN I STARTED TEACHING PHYSICS

Uncertainties

I've seen this come and go from specifications over the years, sometimes implied and sometimes explicit. What I've seen cause teachers particular concern is that a new specification will sometimes make a general statement about analysis of uncertainties being expected, but no further detail is given about exactly what methods of combining uncertainties will or won't be accepted.

Below is a document which I wrote to explain this whole area to pupils, with some practice questions at the end. Of course, I can't make any claims that the techniques described will or won't be accepted by any given exam board - and it's also worth noting that this issue becomes more involved at undergraduate level and beyond - but it's a reasonable way of dealing with the issue without overcomplicating it, and the methods described seem to fit with every past paper question I've come across so far:

Uncertainties.pdf

Solutions to Uncertainty questions.pdf