CIE IGCSE Chemistry

Revision Notes

2.1.1 Measurement

Time, Temperature, Mass & Volume


  • Time can be measured using a stopwatch or stopclock which are usually accurate to one or two decimal places
  • The units of time normally used are seconds or minutes although other units may be used for extremely slow reactions (e.g. rusting)
  • 1 minute = 60 seconds


  • Temperature is measured with a thermometer which can normally give readings to the nearest degree Celsius
  • Digital thermometers are available which are more precise than traditional thermometers
  • Traditional thermometers rely upon the uniform expansion and contraction of a liquid substance with temperature; they tend to be more accurate than digital thermometers which often need to be re-calibrated
  • The units of temperature are degrees Celsius (ºC)


  • Mass is measured using a digital balance which normally give readings to two decimal places. These must be tared (set to zero) before use
  • The standard unit of mass is kilograms (kg) but in chemistry grams (g) are most often used
  • 1 kilogram = 1000 grams


  • The volume of a liquid can be determined using several types of apparatus, depending on the level of accuracy needed
  • For approximate volumes where accuracy isn´t an important factor, measuring cylinders are used. These are graduated (have a scale so can be used to measure) and are available in 25 cm3, 50 cm3, 100 cm3 and 250 cm3
  • Pipettes are the most accurate way of measuring a fixed volume of liquid, usually 10 cm3 or 25 cm3
  • Burettes are the most accurate way of measuring a variable volume of liquid between 0 cm3 and 50 cm3 (e.g. in a titration)

Equipment used for measuring liquids, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notesDiagram of a burette with conical flask and pipette with filler



  • The volume of a gas sometimes needs to be measured and is done by collecting it in a graduated measuring apparatus
  • A gas syringe is usually the apparatus used
  • A graduated cylinder inverted in water may also be used, provided the gas isn’t water-soluble
  • If the gas happens to be heavier than air and is colored, the cylinder can be used upright

Equipment used to collect gas from chemical reactions, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notesDiagram of the set-up for an experiment involving gas collection

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Morgan’s passion for the Periodic Table begun on his 10th birthday when he received his first Chemistry set. After studying the subject at university he went on to become a fully fledged Chemistry teacher, and now works in an international school in Madrid! In his spare time he helps create our fantastic resources to help you ace your exams.

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