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Are exams getting easier?

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    it's offensive when this is said

    i'm currently doing GCSES and i'm working my arse off

    for someone to turn around and say '' exams are getting easier''

    total discards my efforts as the exam was ''easy''
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    (Original post by Moiraclaire)
    Attachment 151126Attachment 151127Attachment 151128

    I don't think theses are any harder than today's maths paper.
    The style has definitely changes but in terms of actual difficulty - pretty similar ?
    The content is very similar but the questions require more thought, they dont hold your hand through the questions. Is that maths a level or further maths a level?

    (Original post by DingDong!)
    I'd say the was pretty similar to my C2 exam last week . In fact I prefer that one better, you get to choose 8 questions of your own rather than having to answer everything.
    Are we looking at the same thing? Half of it is further maths?
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    whether an exam is harder or not is purely subjective as it relies entirely on the knowledge, experience and skills of the person sitting them. My parents found the past papers I did in revision for my higher tier WJEC Maths GCSE hard past the first five questions, but that's because what was taught/on the exam when they sat it was completely different.

    Plus, nowadays the use of the Uniform Mark Scheme actually ensures only certain percentages get certain grades, whereas in the past it was all based on raw marks so if the paper was easy and everyone got higher marks than usual they would all just get higher grades whereas nowadays their grades may not be any higher than the mocks they had done. In my opinion, in some cases this can make it hard to achieve the highest grades A/A*
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    Although I'm sure many will disagree with me, in my opinion A Levels have become easier and there's plenty of evidence to prove it.

    For example, in the recent AS stats exam (OCR) not only do they give you two marks for completing a probability tree I could give to an eight year old and they'd probably be able to do it blindfolded... or three marks for stating obvious Spearman's Rank value (1, -1, 0) from a set of judge's opinons three times in a row, then give you another three marks for stating whether they agree, disagree or neither.

    In many A Levels they give you multiple choice questions nowadays, such as the economics paper I sat this afternoon, not to mention spamming five marks at you for being able to remember a simple definition and eight marks for being able to read a graph. And it's not just A Levels, it's GCSEs too.

    Not only have they made it easier to get the grades at A Level easier by fiddling the UMS each year and dumbing down the questions, but they've also scrapped all the qualifications such as Advanced Extension Awards that used to give high achieving students the ability to show off to Russell Group universities come UCAS time each year.

    In addition to this, most courses are now simply about jumping through hoops and I know I feel that many exams are simply a "stamina of the hand" contest (the whole "mark a minute" thing in particular) rather than an opportunity to be able to show your applied knowledge of a subject you really enjoy learning.

    This combined together with how shockingly badly some papers have been written this year and last year, I think the exam system in the UK is shameful and it only does us out of being able to shine really. It makes qualifications less relevant and far less valued by universities and prospective employers when we try our hardest to achieve and stand out from the crowd.

    Well, that's my opinion at least. If I'm honest, I'm quite glad I never had to sit any of the exams my older brother or parents sat...

    Rant over, peace out.
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    (Original post by desijut)
    The content is very similar but the questions require more thought, they dont hold your hand through the questions. Is that maths a level or further maths a level?



    Are we looking at the same thing? Half of it is further maths?
    Maths, but it's the easier bits of further maths (summing series, not hard) and not all of normal maths.
    So approximately the same level of difficulty to normal maths.
    Also you have choice. admitedly 8/10 is nto much choice, but some are a lot easier than others. The logs question on jan 72? could take like 4 minutes whereas you could spend around 20 (180/8) minutes on each question

    Further more back then, people didn't do FM,
    they did pure and applied if they did 2 a-levels. Therefore there is inevitably more pure in normal a-level maths as they did no stats or mechanics, or decisions
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    I'm an exam invigilator, the other day one kid asked me what a certain word meant. We're not allowed to help so I simply said sorry I can't and walked away.

    The word was extravagance. The kid was in yr 12.

    You reckon kids are getting smarter, eh?
    One kid.
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    (Original post by H011y94)
    whether an exam is harder or not is purely subjective as it relies entirely on the knowledge, experience and skills of the person sitting them. My parents found the past papers I did in revision for my higher tier WJEC Maths GCSE hard past the first five questions, but that's because what was taught/on the exam when they sat it was completely different.

    Plus, nowadays the use of the Uniform Mark Scheme actually ensures only certain percentages get certain grades, whereas in the past it was all based on raw marks so if the paper was easy and everyone got higher marks than usual they would all just get higher grades whereas nowadays their grades may not be any higher than the mocks they had done. In my opinion, in some cases this can make it hard to achieve the highest grades A/A*
    I'm pretty sure the opposite is true.

    It used to be that 20% of students got an A for every exam. But soem exam papers have clever students sitting them then others, so they scrapped that,

    http://store.aqa.org.uk/over/stat_pd...ATS-JUNE11.PDF

    as an example
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    I would say they got easier up until recently now they are DEFINATELY making a conscious effort to make it harder in some subjects/exam boards.

    AQA C1/C2 2012 anyone?!
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    In my believe, the content is not bad. Only becoming easier for people to comphrehend if they willing to put the work in.. take it 30/40 years ago, there has been much changes in advances which make it easier for students to get the resources and learn, like through the internet; youtube etc. Also the content takes in the fact that other people sturggle too, so they have taken that into account.
    But what hasn't changed, is the exam experience, the struggle and pressure which students have on their shoulders to do well and that their whole future is based on this phase of life. I know, I felt the same at GCSE and now when I help my brothers out, and see the content, it's like,... what was the fuss. And I realised that no matter how easy or hard the content was,, it was the situation which made it hard.

    Got luck to all who are doing exams.
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    Doesnt really matter if the exam is harder or not when they give out 28% A's. Could be the hardest exam ever, but if you only need 55% for an A in it ( like one of my biology A level papers) then whats the point. A levels are mainly used to discriminate between students, so fix the grade boundaries to a certain % of students, and be done with it.
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    (Original post by pshewitt1)
    For me this year having revised hard for my physics 3 paper I would have expected an A due to the past papers I did being hard, the exam I sat was so easy the grade boundaries screwed my grade to a C
    it'd be easy to scoff at exams so easy it's difficult to do well in them... but imo it's a related problem, the amount hand holding questions where you fill in the intermediate answers in the spaces provided instead of working out how you're going to tackle a multi stage problem for yourself has caused mark compression... It's become harder for weak candidates to do really badly so everyone's marks are squeezed up into a tighter band meaning people get graded harshly for just making a trivial mistake.
    It's not something you could test for by giving a really strong candidate an old paper and seeing if they still got an A.
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    (Original post by desijut)
    The content is very similar but the questions require more thought, they dont hold your hand through the questions. Is that maths a level or further maths a level?



    Are we looking at the same thing? Half of it is further maths?
    no calculators in 72... You've got a book trig tables working out dms or sqrts to 6 dp's is going to slow you down.
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    (Original post by diggy)
    it's offensive when this is said

    i'm currently doing GCSES and i'm working my arse off

    for someone to turn around and say '' exams are getting easier''

    total discards my efforts as the exam was ''easy''
    Easier =/= Easy.

    No one is saying you're not working hard, though you probably don't -need- to to do well.
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    (Original post by Spungo)
    Easier =/= Easy.

    No one is saying you're not working hard, though you probably don't -need- to to do well.
    Well said; just to add further to my rant earlier.

    Of course we all work hard, nobody's denying that. But it's probably quite right to say that exams are easier today than they were say fifteen or twenty years ago.

    But work hard and you'll do well, that's my motto, no matter what you want to do in life. Good luck with the exams "diggy", if that is your real name...
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    (Original post by desijut)
    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



    Foundation tier? Or maybe the very first question in higher?
    Sorry but you are wrong. Ever since the A* grade has come in, maths papers have got a lot harder. I'm doing further maths on AQA and the equivalent of FP2 papers for around 2000-2004 that out teacher has given us are hilariously easy compared to papers from about 2010. I've got 100% raw in every one I've tried with no problem. I do agree that it is stupid giving students the substitutions, but even if they didn't it wouldn't make much difference as the substitutions are ridiculously obvious and teachers would show you how to spot them better. Also, they often don't give substitutions in further maths anyway. Different challenging questions are coming up lately to separate the good mathematicians.
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    (Original post by Amos36)
    Well said; just to add further to my rant earlier.

    Of course we all work hard, nobody's denying that. But it's probably quite right to say that exams are easier today than they were say fifteen or twenty years ago.

    But work hard and you'll do well, that's my motto, no matter what you want to do in life. Good luck with the exams "diggy", if that is your real name...
    Not sure if you meant to reply to me or diggy.
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    (Original post by Moiraclaire)
    All I read was there were no past papers - my mum said that she got her A in maths (34 years ago) by doing millions of past papers, ergo you/ your school just didn't know where to get them.

    Sorry for being to lazy to read the rest Was just strolling through mid revision

    Of course the school had access to past papers, it was one of the top independent schools in the country with one of the largest Oxbridge intakes each year. We were taught properly, not simply to pass an exam that was the point I was making.

    ANYONE can get an A by doing as you claim 'millions of past papers' that's kind of the point, it used be called cheating!
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    (Original post by boomersooner)
    Of course the school had access to past papers, it was one of the top independent schools in the country with one of the largest Oxbridge intakes each year. We were taught properly, not simply to pass an exam that was the point I was making.

    ANYONE can get an A by doing as you claim 'millions of past papers' that's kind of the point, it used be called cheating!
    Most idiotic thing I've ever read. Also, there is no way anyone could get an A in some of the recent AQA further maths exams. No way. Much harder than any old papers I've attempted.
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    (Original post by stefl14)
    Most idiotic thing I've ever read. Also, there is no way anyone could get an A in some of the recent AQA further maths exams. No way. Much harder than any old papers I've attempted.
    You are entitled to your opinion but it's far preferable to learn to express it without rudeness. I merely pointed out how the practice of using past papers used to be viewed at decent educational establishments having basically been called a liar for saying that students did not used to have access to past papers for revision purposes twenty years ago by a previous respondent to this thread.

    As for AQA Further Maths, if you do your research you'll discover that 30.1% of those who took the AS exam in January 2012 (the most recent exam series for which stats are available) achieved an A and 25.7% an A or A* in the A2 so clearly it is not impossible for everyone.
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    (Original post by stefl14)
    Most idiotic thing I've ever read. Also, there is no way anyone could get an A in some of the recent AQA further maths exams. No way. Much harder than any old papers I've attempted.
    Most idiotic thing I've ever read. Many people will have 100% in those exams.

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