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Just recently, a parent on our Parent Support Group asked us for help with a question from Vitamindz Science. This question is testing the student concepts from the topics of Energy & Forces.


Application Based Questions

Application-based questions typically involve a greater degree of critical thinking. Your child must know how to apply relevant Science concepts to such questions while including appropriate keywords and key phrases in his/her answer.

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Application-based questions are becoming increasingly common in PSLE Science examination papers.

As such, in today’s article, I’ll show you how we tackle the question posted by the parent.




The management of ‘Good Buy Shopping Centre’ decided to do some maintenance work on the escalators in the shopping centre. They engaged “Easi-Life Pte Ltd’ to do the job.

The picture below shows the two escalators serving Level One of the shopping centre. The two escalators were separated by a wide staircase.

‘Easi-Life Pte Ltd’ started work on the up-riding escalator first, so they shut down the power to the escalator.


Question (a): What should the workers of Easi-Life Pte Ltd’ have done to minimise the inconvenience to shoppers?

Answer: The workers should have changed the direction of the down-riding escalator to move upwards instead.


Question (b): Explain your answer in (a).

Answer: When the up-riding escalator is not functioning, the shoppers will have to climb up the stairs. Therefore, shoppers will have to use more Energy to climb up the stairs, in order to overcome the gravitational force that is acting on them. On the other hand, if the down-riding escalator is not functioning, the shoppers will have to walk down the stairs. Lesser energy is needed as they need not overcome the gravitational force acting on them.

I hope that this article has shown you the thought process that students should apply when they encounter such questions. This is especially because application-based questions are increasingly common in examination papers. In order to score well, students will have to know the concepts being tested and apply them appropriately while being mindful of the keywords or phrases that are required in the answer.