I say this not because I'm one of those idiots praying for a hard paper for the sake of it being hard, but I fail to see how this paper will identify the students with true mastery of the subject with those who have seen enough questions.
For one, the final question was pretty much a direct copy of a previous years question. In fact, I checked the marking scheme to see exactly how they wanted it answered (the values of k, where k is the exponent of ln x).
Every paper has contained one question that was in a league of its own, requiring not only critical understanding of the subject, but also a creative impulse. I don't want to go compare Math HL -- a strictly school level subject -- with truly higher-order math and brilliant thinking, but some of the questions I have seen in past papers at least required a skillful manipulation of concepts not immediately apparent.
This years paper lacked any creativity on the part of the writers, testing largely mundane concepts easily read from the formula booklet.
Have any of you solved the November 2008 paper or even question 5 of many of the papers in the past three years. Solving the final problem was always, at least for me, something to quickly (internally) celebrate.
This year paper 2 was by far the most challenging for me, certainly an odd turn-of-events. Your thoughts on this paper?