Sarah Taylor


Position vs. Time Graph Study Guide

A position vs time graph conveys where the object can be discovered after a period of time.


Many people are afraid of graphs and become uneasy when they have to use them. Position graphs are not terrifying creatures. They can be attractive, and they are an effective way to visually express a large quantity of information regarding an object's motion in a little space. Let's take a closer look at the position graphs and their characteristics.


  • Definition of position can be stated as the location of an object at any given time.
  • We should be able to define the position of any item in order to explain its motion.
  • The position vs. time graph, which lets us describe the motion of an object, is among the most basic types of graphs in mechanics.
  • In such graphs, the vertical axis represents the object's location, and the horizontal axis represents the time spent.
  • We can examine the trajectory and position of the object exactly by interpreting a position-time graph.

graph Source

Position-time graph represents the position x of a particle on the y-axis and the time t on the x-axis. Graphs in the x-y plane can be drawn by keeping the following in mind.

  • On the x-axis, always include an independent variable.
  • On the y-axis, dependent variables must be represented.
  • The dependent variable is reliant on the independent variable due to a mathematical function.


  • The gradient of a position vs. time graph represents the velocity of the object.

  • As a result, the value of the slope at a given moment shows the object's velocity at that moment.

  • The speed is determined by the numeric values of the tangent's slope.

  • Another thing to remember is that the instantaneous velocity is determined by the slope of a position vs. time graph at a given point in time.

  • You may get the average velocity between two distinctive points in time by computing the mean slope between them.

  • The average velocity does not have to match the instantaneous velocity.

  • If, on the other hand, the slope remains constant over time, the instantaneous velocity equals the average velocity between two points.

grapjh Source

  • The graph above is an example of a position vs. time graph.
  • Here, the velocity of the object in motion from 0 to 5 seconds will be 5 √2 m/s.
  • In between the time frame of 5 to 10 seconds, the instantaneous velocity will be equal to the average velocity as the gradient here remains constant.


  • Position can be defined as the location of an object at any given time
  • A position vs time graph depicts motion by plotting position relative to the starting point on the y-axis and time on the x-axis.
  • The velocity is represented by the gradient of a position vs time graph. The faster the motion changes, the steeper the slope.


1. How do you graph a position vs. time graph?

A position vs. time graph can be plotted by determining the time of the motion on the x-axis and the position on the y-axis.

2. Why is position vs. time graphs important?

Position vs. time graphs is important as we can examine the trajectory and position of the object precisely using this.

3. What does the slope of position vs. time graph mean?

The gradient/slope of a position vs. time graph represents the velocity of the object.

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  1. Position Time Graphs: https://flexbooks.ck12.org/cbook/ck-12-physics-flexbook-2.0/section/2.8/primary/lesson/position-time-graphs-ms-ps/. Accessed 8th April 2022.
  2. Position vs Time Graphs Examples: https://physexams.com/lesson/position-vs-time-graph-examples-for-high-schools_48Accessed 8th April 2022