Electrical Circuit
Electricity and Magnetism

Testing an understanding of parallel circuits

Diagnostic Questions for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

The diagnostic questions can be used to check the pupils' understanding of key ideas introduced in this episode.

What to Prepare

  • printed copies of these questions

Support sheet

What Happens During this Activity

The questions might be used for homework or as the basis for discussion in class.

The Same circuit? question is designed to probe pupils' ability to recognise equivalent ways of drawing a circuit with two parallel branches.

In fact, all of the circuit diagrams are correct representations.

The Identical resistors question probes understanding about the relative sizes of the electric current at different points in a parallel circuit.


  • The current at c is the same size as the current at b.
  • The current at d is the same size as the current at b.
  • The current at a is bigger than the current at b.
  • The current at e is the same size as the current at a. EndList
  • The Ammeter readings question probes whether pupils can apply their understanding of electric current to a parallel circuit.

    Circuit a: A1 is 0.3 ampere Circuit b: A1 is 0.5 ampere; A3 is 0.3 ampere.


    Download the support sheet / student worksheet for this activity.

    Limit Less Campaign

    Support our manifesto for change

    The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

    Sign today