Flexi Says: A chemical reaction or physical change is endothermic if heat is absorbed by the system from the surroundings. In the course of an endothermic process, the system gains heat from the surroundings and so the temperature of the surroundings decreases. The quantity of heat for a process is represented by the letter "q". The sign of "q" for an endothermic process is positive because the system is gaining heat. A chemical reaction or physical change is exothermic if heat is released by the system into the surroundings. Because the surroundings are gaining heat from the system, the temperature of the surroundings increases. The sign of "q" for an exothermic process is negative because the system is losing heat.