The problem of activation of students’ cognitive activity is one of the main problems of the modern school. This is due to the changes that take place in society and in education in particular. Cognitive activity is a complex integral dynamic formation of the person. In modern psychological research problem of cognitive activity develops in different directions. The article objective is to study the cognitive activity of pupils during study of physics as psychological problem. This articlefinds out the question of the development of cognitive activity, which is affected by the system of internal and external factors. To the internal factors we apply the biological and psychological characteristics of personality (abilities, character, temperament and orientation), external factors are represented by social and pedagogical. Biological and psychological factors are closely related to age and individual characteristics of students. That is why the development of cognitive activity depends on the course of students’ mental processes (intellectual, emotional, volitional). A special form of students’ activity is the learning process (sense of purpose, deepening the needs and motives, understanding the theme of a new material, self-control and self-esteem results of teaching and learning, etc.). The leading factor in the formation of cognitive motivation is the presence of cognitive needs. Cognitive activity and cognitive needs of the person are interrelated and interdependent qualities. Cognitive activity is the product of cognitive needs and interests of the person. At the same time meeting some cognitive needs (based on cognitive activity) leads to new needs, and through them – to the new activity. An implementation of cognitive need is carried through the formation of cognitive set and cognitive orientation of the person. With the advent of cognitive motivation there is alteration of the psychological processes of perception, memory, thinking and other human capabilities that facilitate implementation of activities. When organizing and managing the process of learning it should be taken into account students’ implicit heritage and directions of its development in the future, learning goals and how to achieve them should be discussed with the students, the needs and capabilities of each student should be respected.