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Are exams getting easier?

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    I dunno about other subjects but I think English lit has stayed the same. My english teacher sais the exam we're doing is like what she was doing in her first year at uni (WJEC)
    That being said, I think French (and possibly other languages) has got easier.
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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    Those where the only ones reviewed, so what about the rest? Also, "The A-level chemistry review found the exams had become easier between 2003 and 2008, as the questions were structured differently", so not just GCSE as you claim.

    But yes, multiple exam boards has made education worse as teachers chose which exam board is easier over quality of content.





    Sorry, that is such crap.
    You could only achieve 90%+ if you were a genius who would walk into Oxbridge then proceed to get a distinction. Past papers did not help to achieve such high marks because the questions were utterly unique and could only be answered with a perfect understanding of the question.
    If past papers are helping people achieve better results, then this means exams are now tailored to remembering how to decode a question, not understand it.

    Pressure is greater, but the exams are easier, and lets not forget, the introduction of AS and A2's which also made it far easier which people seem to overlook.
    You just don't have a clue. If you think you needed to be a genius to get 90% in the exams 5 years ago you must be thick. I personally know someone who finished A levels in 2004 and got ~ 90% in everything and still got rejected by Cambridge. I start on the early papers (2000+ Pure 4 AQA) when revising and personally I found it pretty easy to get 90%+ right from the off with no prior use of past papers. While I do hold an offer from Cambridge, I am by no means a 'genius' as you think you need to be. Many people in my FM class have had similar experiences.
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    I've not done a past paper from any time after 2001 so I don't know if they are getting easier but I think that the older generation are saying they are because they now know more from what they did in their late teens so that will always be a factor. I haven't researched the earlier a level structure but I think it is one big paper at the end of A2 so I would expect that to be harder because there is more to remember for one exam but modules are not good either. You must be good in almost everything to get a good grade, but with the introduction of A*'s I would say its gotten easier to get good grades but even though its included another high grade tbh its just the same as putting an F in the 40 ums slot. Taking all that into account I would say just because of the amount needed for one exam, yes exams are getting easier but not by a lot but just because they have split the areas into modules so you can revise certain things rather than everything
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    I know you're talking about A Levels, but saw the following question on a GCSE Maths paper.

    "Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is calculated by taking 220 and subtracting the person's age. Geoff is 22. What's his MHR?"

    For 2 marks.
    On a calculator paper.


    Something's wrong with the world.
    Well you said that it's a GCSE paper, and then said


    (Original post by Drewski)
    Something like 'Functional Skills Maths' or a similarly window-licking level of nonsense.
    Hence that is not a GCSE paper, but a pointless "functional skills" paper. It doesn't help to stop the sensationalism within the news

    People had to do that in college, where they did not get the necessary GCSE grade for maths/English - there's a version for English as well

    Function skills is in no way equivalent to GCSE maths.
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    (Original post by de_monies)
    Well you said that it's a GCSE paper, and then said

    Hence that is not a GCSE paper, but a pointless "functional skills" paper. It doesn't help to stop the sensationalism within the news

    People had to do that in college, where they did not get the necessary GCSE grade for maths/English - there's a version for English as well

    Function skills is in no way equivalent to GCSE maths.
    When the front sheet says "GCSE Functional Skills Mathematics" what else are you suggesting it be thought of as? While it might not meet the expectations of the universities people on this site typically apply to, it is an exam, it is a grade that people achieve and it's not there to waste their time, but to give them something they can put qualification-wise on a CV.

    It most certainly is not an equivalent in terms of difficulty, but to people who are not au fait with the current examination system - and let's be honest, that's everybody who isn't in school as either a student or teacher these days as there are chuffing hundreds around - it is represented as the same. Blame the media, blame the exam boards, blame whoever you want, but it doesn't stop it being true. These kids have been told, essentially, that they can't fail, that they will have *something* no matter how little they know. To say that that isn't an example of the exam system getting easier is wrong, in my opinion.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    When the front sheet says "GCSE Functional Skills Mathematics" what else are you suggesting it be thought of as? While it might not meet the expectations of the universities people on this site typically apply to, it is an exam, it is a grade that people achieve and it's not there to waste their time, but to give them something they can put qualification-wise on a CV.

    It most certainly is not an equivalent in terms of difficulty, but to people who are not au fait with the current examination system - and let's be honest, that's everybody who isn't in school as either a student or teacher these days as there are chuffing hundreds around - it is represented as the same. Blame the media, blame the exam boards, blame whoever you want, but it doesn't stop it being true. These kids have been told, essentially, that they can't fail, that they will have *something* no matter how little they know. To say that that isn't an example of the exam system getting easier is wrong, in my opinion.
    You have a fair point, however if the schools continue to have the old style SAT's like mine did, then they're not exactly going to have things like "functional skills" which is just ridiculously easy.
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    "Introduction into Working Life"... :cool:
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    (Original post by poyyo)
    i found that the earlier papers were more straightforward while the more recent ones, while still similar, had more less standard and slightly trickier questions (though the difference is small and i've really only noticed this in maths)



    hence the reason some boards have been increasing the difficulty to prevent this and make it more about understanding than memory (eg aqa for maths)

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ed...s-7282725.html

    i don't understand your point about the introduction of AS and A2
    Yet that policy will not come into affect for 3-4 years, and a recent study founded that exams have become easier.

    A levels were harder as you had to remember 2 years of work, rather than just one, and had no resists.


    (Original post by stefl14)
    You just don't have a clue. If you think you needed to be a genius to get 90% in the exams 5 years ago you must be thick. I personally know someone who finished A levels in 2004 and got ~ 90% in everything and still got rejected by Cambridge. I start on the early papers (2000+ Pure 4 AQA) when revising and personally I found it pretty easy to get 90%+ right from the off with no prior use of past papers. While I do hold an offer from Cambridge, I am by no means a 'genius' as you think you need to be. Many people in my FM class have had similar experiences.
    Seeing that every syllabus has changed since 2000, I am amazed that you still were able to answer every question, including the ones you had not bee taught :rolleyes: And yes, to get 90% across all subjects at A2 5 years ago was extremely hard and rare.
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    I think a large part of it is that the exam system has changed a lot since, say, 30 odd years ago that it's hard to draw a comparison. The workforce nowadays is required to be more qualified than in the past, so people put more effort into it knowing how much more important it is (well, this is based on what others have told me).

    A nice little note, I did an 80's style maths paper last week. Not sure on my mark yet, but I finished almost all of it in the time allocated and that included waiting 20 minutes halfway through to ask what I had to do for the second section, not to mention the fact that the format was very different and I wasn't used to it.

    Making a blanket statement that "exams have gotten easier" does get on my nerves a lot, although for a different reason. Half the time I have heard it said it seemed to me that the people saying it were using it to actively diminish students' efforts and results to make them feel more secure in themselves.
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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    Yet that policy will not come into affect for 3-4 years, and a recent study founded that exams have become easier.

    A levels were harder as you had to remember 2 years of work, rather than just one, and had no resists.




    Seeing that every syllabus has changed since 2000, I am amazed that you still were able to answer every question, including the ones you had not bee taught :rolleyes: And yes, to get 90% across all subjects at A2 5 years ago was extremely hard and rare.
    I know the syllabi have changed but you can check for yourself if you want. The old pure 4 papers are exactly the same content as today's mfp2 papers.
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    I got a D when I decided to do someone's practice foundation French paper, despite the fact I learnt German at school and don't speak a word of French!
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    (Original post by Swanbow)
    I got a D when I decided to do someone's practice foundation French paper, despite the fact I learnt German at school and don't speak a word of French!
    Wow that shows how bad you are at french.
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    (Original post by desslop)
    Wow that shows how bad you are at french.
    Meh, it's not my type of language.
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    People who complain that exams are becoming easier - have they tried writing the exams themselves?

    Just because people are working harder - it's not right to assume that exams are getting easier.
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    Its all relative as long as the exam you sit is of the same level of difficulty as the people who are applying for the same universitys and jobs its ok, I dont think you need to worry about some one in 1971 getting a better grade than you in A level chemistry because that would make them about 60 so I wouldn't worry I highly doubt you will be in competition over a university place.
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    Are they kidding? I hear on tv all the time about how exams are getting easier. As a knee-jerk reaction the examiners tried to destroy the talks by giving us the hardest biology paper (imo) :teeth:
    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App
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    humm, I haven't personally done any research into it, so am unable to comment on whether or not the exams/content is getting easier or not, though my mum did pretty similar A levels to me and reckons that I have to know stuff in more detail than she ever did (though it's very possible she's pulled this right out of her bottom)

    However, I would argue that it is harder because we have to work hard consistently throughout 2 years. I have been told by a number of people who went to universities which are very well regarded and are very clever people that when they did their A levels, they didn't do anything for 2 years and in the last couple of months they just crammed it all in. They had no coursework and no exams in January or at AS so they just didn't do any work. To me, the fact that we have to work hard for a longer period of time in order to achieve makes modern exams harder. If I could do a shruggy face, I would.
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    There are several different factors at work here.

    1. A lot of people are commenting over a short timescale- five years or so. One only gets perspective if one looks over a minimum of 10 years and preferably 15-20.
    2. The introduction of the GCSE reduced the number of A level boards and syllabuses. That had a huge impact on the A level textbook market. There is now a textbook for every course. That reduces the scope for bad teaching.
    3. It is almost impossible to compare anything other than maths/sciences because in arts and social science subjects the issue is the depth and insight of the answer. Nevertheless subjects such as economics seem to have eliminated essay questions.
    4. It is generally accepted that syllabus content has been significantly reduced.
    5. It is frequently thought that modern questions tend to lead candidates by the nose to a greater extent.
    6. Modular examinations require candidates to retain less information for shorter periods.
    7. Multiple resits lead to grade inflation but have no impact on exam difficulty.
    8. Teaching to the test has increased.
    9. Modern exams are designed to be more skills and less knowledge orientated. It is debatable whether that is a good thing, but if you take what was there is the past as the benchmark, you are bound to be disappointed by the present. A modern Jaguar car clearly isn't as good as one from the 1950s because there isn't a starting handle and part of the joy of driving is double de-clutching.

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    If anyone has ever sat AQA physics A-level exams, they will totally agreee (unless you are a genius) but that is a representation that exams are NOT getting easier but they are getting more CRAZY HARD!

    If anyone has sat F325 OCR chemistry A, Alevel exam (module 5) its pretty tough the cleverest girl in my year got 95/100!
    She did physics probably worked 10 TIMES as hard (no joke) I got a C.. its the STUPID board and the stupid subject! literally IMPOSSIBLE
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    I tried an A level Maths paper from the 1970's and found it no harder than today's equivalent of C3 and C4

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Updated: June 30, 2012
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