I reckon exams have got harder. There is not nearly as much recall questions as there was in older papers. I think pass rates have gone up as Students have a large resource to gather information, and they have access to the syllabus and past papers. Also, a lot students work harder than they did in the past. Before, a C was a good grade, but nowadays it doesn't seem to be good enough.
(Original post by -aimz)
They've changed, not necessarily got harder or easier. Now, knowing what the examiner wants is half the battle of doing the exam.
I know! It's such a shame. Half of my revision now is looking at mark schemes and examiner reports. Especially for essay based subjects like English Literature and History, where they claim to value "independent thinking"..
(Original post by JulietheCat)
In my opinion, Maths A Level is getting harder and harder with more tricky questions every year.
Economics A Level - no change from past papers.
Languages - no change from past papers
English language - same question in Section A, just different texts to analyse. No change from past papers.
I always thought that apart from Maths, A Levels have stayed the same difficulty?
No way is maths getting harder. Just 10 years ago, the four core modules were in 3 modules (P1, P2, P3) and you had to still do 6 modules in total, so you had to do an extra applied module. Also, with a level maths (even further maths), it's the same thing, plus they give you too much help i.e C4 integration, "use this substitution..." also, the same thing comes up year after year. There is very little variety in questions so originality or mathematical flair arent required to answer the questions
(Original post by TheWaugh)
I remember a question from a past paper we did in math GCSE, the question was write two thousand six hundred and fifty six as a number.........-.-
Foundation tier? Or maybe the very first question in higher?
I think the style of exam questions have become harder, not necessarily the content. In the past, we might have gotten away with cramming everything, but now we are being forced to think outside the box.
I guess you could say that we're becoming smarter, by gaining more knowledge that has recently become available to us But this isn't necessarily the case all the time.
It must be pretty difficult to compare the difficulty of exams.
During 'their' day, they probably learnt different things. But, as the years go by, exam boards and school will become more experienced as to what pupils require for jobs - what skills they need, what knowledge they need etc.
So, the specification will change.
One things for certain, people in Year 8 (right now, that is) will have very difficult exams! A lot more is based on communication, and, they have a restricted amount of chances. So, no retakes. I don't think anyone can say exams have gotten easier unless they've experienced the older exams, and the current exams themselves!
I personally think harder not because of the content/syllabus but because you don't really know what the examiner is looking for..when I wrote my biology mocks which was derived from past exam questions,I got an A* but in the final I got a D. And I don't think it was because I didn't know the answers just that the way I wrote the answers may have been different then what the mark scheme had. And a lot of questions especially in biology require applied knowledge and not study content..its sad because sometimes I think I'm writting an English Comprehension exam or something! (Bio unit 5)
(Original post by boomersooner)
I would say that the exams themselves have not necessarily become easier but the transparency of information available to students has increased and this has greatly improved the ability of students to prepare for exams. I say this as someone who is a mature student taking A-Levels for personal interest at the moment in preparation for another degree and who also sat A-Levels 20 years ago.
When I first did them there was zero availability to students of past papers and mark schemes and the the courses were all linear so you studied for 2 years before doing a mock exam and that was generally your first encounter with any kind of past paper. If someone failed and needed to retake that meant a summer on a crammer course if your parents could afford it or you were stuck with the grades you had. The seemingly constant resits and remarks that students see as normal was non-existent at least at my school. That said there was less pressure overall I feel as there was only one exam period so the stress of exams and waiting for results was confined to just a few months from the June through August at the end of the second year.
I don't think it's as simple as comparing a paper from 1972 to one from 2012 because these days the volume of information that a student needs to learn per exam is greatly reduced and students have access not only to the specification/syllabus but also to the internet and so many diverse ways of learning. Believe me it took a lot longer to study back then when the main option was books and there was none of this immediate technology available.
In many ways I think the current system of mainly teaching to test is the primary reason that grades have increased and papers seem easier these days but I also think it is a shame that the system has become like that because I think students these days miss out on really understanding and enjoying their subjects because the entire exercise has become about filling a bucket rather than lighting a fire.