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Name of the Organization : SAASTA – South African Agency for Science & Technology Advancement
Examination Name : National Science Olympiad Exam
Announcement : NSO Physics Exam Question Paper
Subject: Physics
Year : 2017
Type : Past Papers
Website :
Download Question Paper :

SAASTA National Science Olympiad Physics Question Paper

Date : 2 MARCH 2017
Time : 12:00 – 15:00

Related : SAASTA National Science Olympiad Exam Biology Question Paper 2017 :

** Please read the instructions carefully before answering the questions
** Three hours are allowed to answer the questions
** The NRF|SAASTA Education Unit wishes you the best of luck


** This is a multiple choice paper. Please answer all the questions on the answer sheet provided. Each question is followed by answers marked A, B, C and D. Only one answer is correct. Choose the most correct answer and shade the corresponding circle on the answer sheet completely using an HB pencil.

** NB! The answer sheets are marked electronically – do NOT make any other dots or marks on the answer sheet. Select only one answer for each question or your answer will be discarded. Ensure that you shade your selection clearly.

** Note that the question numbers 1 – 100 on the answer sheet moves from top to bottom in several columns. Ensure that the number of your selection on the answer sheet corresponds with the number of the question in your examination paper. Should you make a mistake, please erase the incorrect answer completely.

** The use of non-programmable electronic calculators is permitted.

** To Avoid Disqualification – You are required to complete all the information requested on the answer sheet. Please complete the information in script as well as shade the corresponding blocks. If the corresponding blocks are NOT shaded appropriately, your results will be returned without a name and you will be disqualified.

** Do NOT fold the answer sheets.

Physics Sample Questions

1. If the speed of light in vacuum is c, its speed in a medium of refractive index n is:
A. nc
B. c
C. nc
D. n2c

2. When some oil is spilled on water, many colours are visible. This is due to:
A. Refraction of light
B. Diffraction of light
C. Scattering of light
D. Thin film interference of light

3. Two photons travelling in a vacuum have different energies. This implies that they have different:
A. Velocities
B. Amplitudes
C. Polarizations
D. Frequencies

4. Which one of the following shows the least change in value when measured all over the world?
A. Acceleration due to gravity, g.
B. Speed of sound
C. Density of the air
D. The speed of light

5. John is standing on the bank of a river that is flowing from his left to his right. In which direction should he swim in order to reach the opposite bank in the shortest time?
A. Slightly to his left, (slightly upstream.)
B. He should swim directly towards the opposite bank.
C. slightly to his right, (slightly downstream)
D. Swim in such a direction that he reaches the opposite bank at a point directly opposite starting point.

6. The speed of sound in air is 333 m.s–1. A man, standing 50 m from a cliff, claps his hands regularly so that each clap coincides with the echo of the previous clap. With what frequency, in Hz, does he clap his hands?
A. 0.33
B. 0.167
C. 3.33
D. 6.66

7. Anne is waiting to cross the road, when an ambulance, with its siren wailing, approaches her at a speed of 120 km.h–1. If Anne hears a frequency of 13 kHz, what is the frequency of the ambulance’s siren? (Assume the speed of sound in air is 333 m.s–1.)
A. 7.67 kHz
B. 13.0 kHz
C. 11.7 kHz
D. 18.8 kHz

8. When Vuyo walks into a shop, he sees a plane mirror 9 m away from him. He walks directly towards it at a speed of 1.4 m.s–1. What is the distance between Vuyo and his image 5 s after he started walking towards the mirror? te of emission of energy will increase by a factor of:
A. 2 m
B. 4 m
C. 7 m
D. 16 m

9. When a constant resultant force acts on a body on a smooth horizontal surface, the acceleration …
A. will decrease till the body reaches a constant speed.
B. is constant but not zero.
C. increases uniformly with respect to time.
D. is proportional to the displacement from a fixed point.

10. A “speed trap” is placed on the road to enforce speed limits. Two detector wires are placed on the road, 80 cm apart. A car travelling at 72 km.h–1 passes over the wires. How long does it take for the front wheels of the car to cross over the wires?
A. 40 ms
B. 11 ms
C. 1.1s
D. 90 ms

11. Two projectiles are launched at the same time with the same initial speed and from the same point in the same vertical plane. One is launched at 70o to the horizontal and the other at 20o to the horizontal. Assume that the air resistance is negligible and that the projectiles are launched on a horizontal surface. Which of the following is TRUE?
A. The projectiles will land at the same time
B. Both land at the same point.
C. The projectile launched at 70o to the horizontal will land first.
D. The horizontal component of each is constant and has the same value.

12. A 1000 kg car collides head-on with a 2500 kg minibus. They stop instantly on collision. If before the impact the car was travelling at 20 ms-1, the minibus’ speed was:
A. 5.7 ms-1
B. 8.0 ms-1
C. 14.3 ms-1
D. 20.0 ms-1

13. A toy RC car travels in a straight line across a tiled floor. The tiles are square and are 33 cm each side. The car crosses two consecutive tiles in 3 and 2 seconds respectively, as shown below. What is the acceleration (in m.s–2) of the toy car?
A. 0.0071
B. 0.04
C. 0.022
D. 0.055

car of mass 800kg is freewheeling down a slope, at 30o to the horizontal, at a constant speed of 54 km. h–1. Use this information to answer questions 15, 16 and 17.
15. The loss of potential energy each second is:
A. 12 J
B. 120 J
C. 6 000 J
D. 60 000 J

16. The car is now travelling along a horizontal road at the same speed and all other conditions are the same as before. What is the operating power of the car’s engine?
A. 60 kW
B. 6 kW
C. 43.2 kW
D. 12 kW

17. The car now turns round and drives up the slope at the same speed and all other conditions remain the same. What is the operating power of the engine now?
A. 103.2 kW
B. 60 kW
C. 120 kW
D. 180 kW

18. Which of the following pairs have the units of momentum?
A. J.s–1; N.s
B. kg.m.s–1; N.s
C. N.s–1; N.m. s–2
D. kg.s; N.m.s

19. Two objects, P and Q, have equal momentum. Object P has a mass of 1 kg and object Q has a mass of 4 kg. Which one of the following represents the ratio of their kinetic energies?
A. 2:1
B. 4:1
C. 8:1
D. 16:1

20. An object starts from rest and accelerates in a straight line. The acceleration change of the object with time is shown in the graph below
The speed, in m·s-1, of the object at t = 5 s is:
A. 0
B. 1.6
C. 7.8
D. 14.2

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