Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    Offline

    0
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    how old was the textbook?

    you may not needed to have known about it, but how about apply knowledge of stats tests in general to the question?
    It was the new textbook for the new specification, it says something likes 'you will not need to know about statistical tests for this exam, but you will later on' or something along those lines

    To be honest im not really complaining, i don't think the test was that hard, but i agree with everyone saying it had little to do with the specification. I just can't believe it missed out the whole topic of genetics, which i spend longest revising. ah well
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    OP, I'd agree with you in principle, that the scenario that we should perhaps aspire to is one where independent learning is encouraged, and to some extent required, for success in A-Level exams. However, I'd also say that a fair exam should be one where you have some idea what to expect. While this should in no way preclude an expectation of some unfamiliar material, if the specification and specimen papers differ substantially from the actual paper, this would seem to be unfair to me (with the proviso this is coming from a position where I have no direct experience of the exam in question).

    I'd say that in most (if not all) cases, an exam should at least give some indication of what you can do to succeed at it; without this indication, it becomes very much a 'lottery' where success depends primarily on whether you happen to direct your work in the direction of the topics that end up being examined. I don't have any particular problem with exams that are narrowly focussed on a few small subject areas; I just feel that those taking the exam should be led to expect this to be the case, and certainly not given a false expectation from specimen papers.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    how old was the textbook?

    you may not needed to have known about it, but how about apply knowledge of stats tests in general to the question?
    Why the hell do you keep presuming you know more about this exam and specification than people who actually did the exam?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    When I was in high school my entire class failed or got awful marks on our Geography exam because our teacher was never there - his wife was apparently very sick - and therefore when it came to the revision lecture the day before the exam the head of Geography nearly had a heart attack when we told him we had not covered 90% of what was in the revision pack he had given us.

    Nothing was ever done about the fact that we had not actually been taught anything even after it was discovered that the teachers wife was fine and he was in fact out selling drugs and pimping on the days he never showed up.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    was it in the specification though? it's silly to complain its not in the textbook..when they should look to the specification and guidelines first, it's also more than viable the question may have seemed to be giving a problem the students 'viewed' as not needing to know, but i'm ready to bet it was asking them to use skills, and knowledge around the area to come up with an answer.
    No it wasn't, and it was specifically in the new AQA text book for this exam they would not need it, yet they were asked about it. Most people are upset they spent months learning stuff for none of it to come up except in 1/8th of the paper.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Princesschickenbelly)
    When I was in high school my entire class failed or got awful marks on our Geography exam because our teacher was never there - his wife was apparently very sick - and therefore when it came to the revision lecture the day before the exam the head of Geography nearly had a heart attack when we told him we had not covered 90% of what was in the revision pack he had given us.

    Nothing was ever done about the fact that we had not actually been taught anything even after it was discovered that the teachers wife was fine and he was in fact out selling drugs and pimping on the days he never showed up.


    sooo you didn't go to the exam board website, print off the specification, get textbooks out, speak to your head of department, organise small study sessions and liase with other geography teachers in the mean time, when there was clearly a problem...?
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Biology is a course that you HAVE to be taught though IMO.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by letsdothetimewarpagain)
    No it wasn't, and it was specifically in the new AQA text book for this exam they would not need it, yet they were asked about it. Most people are upset they spent months learning stuff for none of it to come up except in 1/8th of the paper.

    But just because someone may learn about..i dunno, protein synthesis, it doesn't mean a question will come up saying

    "describe the process of protein synthesis"

    I remember a few years ago (2006) i was doing an as-level exam and there was a question about genetic technology, i'd never done gene technology yet as that was a-level work, however although it spooked me, as i'd not known ABOUT what the question was asking- I did know the theory behind the use of genetics

    It seems really really petty to complain about the textbook..when the specification is something more reliable to use!
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    sooo you didn't go to the exam board website, print off the specification, get textbooks out, speak to your head of department, organise small study sessions and liase with other geography teachers in the mean time, when there was clearly a problem...?
    I think you've missed a fairly big point here. This is A level, NOT university.

    You can't "read around" a subject so much at A level because the exams are very specific. It's the reason why pre-degree is often described as learning mark schemes, or being taught to pass an exam not taught a subject.

    The big issue with this exam was that they asked irrelivent questions. They missed out the big hard hitters that always come up and replaced them with irrelevent rubbish. You can't make an exam with a specification and a text book specificaly stating certain things would NOT come up, then ignore it all for 7/8s of the paper.

    When you have a brand new specification and bring out a text book designed by the exam board then ignore it. Damn straight you can complain about the text book.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I think it is a valid grievance. I've had similar situations at Uni and it is so frustrating. You study really hard for weeks and then when the exam comes it is asking you about things you don't know and you don't use anything you have learnt so it appears you know nothing. I remember a lecturer saying last year that If we couldn't answer a question in the exam we should make up our own question and answer it to show the marker what you do know. Seems odd but it does make some sense.
    Offline

    0
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    It seems really really petty to complain about the textbook..when the specification is something more reliable to use!
    I see where you're coming from, but it wasn't in the specification at all either.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8480563.stm

    I think this campaign set up by the students is ridiculous. I know I've come out atleast of one of my GCSE/a-level exams thinking 'we didn't do that in class' but then realising that- it was touched on, but it was my responsibility to also learn it.

    The whole point of a-levels is to promote an independance and different approach to your learning, to take responsibility for it. If a teacher doesn't cover a topic- big deal! You go and make sure what you need to learn for yourself, those who were spoon fed students at school now struggle in the first semester at university, complain about 'but the lecturer only spent 5 minutes on that topic, what are we going to do?' - how about go and do your own work?!
    Another huge part of a-levels, is also collaberating your knowledge as a whole, and coming up with more detailed and analytical answers- thinking outside the box, putting 2 and 2 together- yes so the questions may not have been about directly what they were taught, but i'm ready to bet a huge part of it was linked in, and they had to use their brains to answer it!

    If the exam board looked at it, agreed that the questions covered the specification- and i'm sure the exam standards board (can't remember the name!) will look into it and also come up with the conclusion


    What does everyone else think about this? to sum up, i think on the students part its very petty and immature
    lol i can imagine what the above quote would say if it was you sitting the exam, mr. all-knowing.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    sooo you didn't go to the exam board website, print off the specification, get textbooks out, speak to your head of department, organise small study sessions and liase with other geography teachers in the mean time, when there was clearly a problem...?
    Everyday we were told to work on this piece of coursework we were doing, we were never given a substitute teacher, the head just came and checked in on us every now and then.

    We were 14/15 year old kids we didn't think anything was wrong. As far as we knew we had learned everything we had to.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    But just because someone may learn about..i dunno, protein synthesis, it doesn't mean a question will come up saying

    "describe the process of protein synthesis"

    I remember a few years ago (2006) i was doing an as-level exam and there was a question about genetic technology, i'd never done gene technology yet as that was a-level work, however although it spooked me, as i'd not known ABOUT what the question was asking- I did know the theory behind the use of genetics

    It seems really really petty to complain about the textbook..when the specification is something more reliable to use!
    No, but what you wouldn't expect is for the majority of the paper to not actually be about the subject :p:

    Besides I did say it was blown out of proportion but they do have a point.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I honestly hate AQA for changing the specification.
    New spec causes too many confusion for both teachers and students.

    I really struggle with trying to revise for one of their exam last year because it was new spec and the teachers only had one example paper.
    So it just mean that I couldn't even go through past paper to see what kind of stuff the examiners are looking for.

    And how they kept changing the god damn boundaries, I never really know what grade I'm actually on D:

    And all my exams are AQA. :'(
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    Well you clearly weren't in the exam.

    The questions were completely irrelevant to the material we had covered, and many topics that we actually had covered, weren't in the paper. I think if nearly 9000 people are protesting against it, then there must be even the slightest bit of validity in their argument. As someone who didn't take the exam, you can't assume the 20000 candidates that took the exam are all at fault for not reading between the lines. People can put up with tough exams, they'll whinge about it for a while then shut up about it, but this one was really unfair and completely ambiguous.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I think its poor form from the exam board and to say its the students fault is wrong. The majority of students take their exams in the safety that what will be included in the exam, they will have been taught. I know that outside reading and research is ideal and holds them in well for university but for an exam board to (if we can believe some of the comments made in the article) have not matched their questions to what has been taught, is bad.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    sooo you didn't go to the exam board website, print off the specification, get textbooks out, speak to your head of department, organise small study sessions and liase with other geography teachers in the mean time, when there was clearly a problem...?
    Are you seriously asking a bunch of 16/17 year olds to be that organised? Stop bull ******** about your education and actually see the problem for what it is. The text told them that a certain part of the syllabus would not be covered in the exam and then that exact same part came up. If someone told you that genetics wouldn't be on your exam would you wasted precious revision time covering it just because you want to prove a point about "adult learning"? Honestly you just get worse.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Sorry but if there was stuff in any of my exams that they hadn't covered in class I would have been annoyed.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by RollerBall)
    I think you've missed a fairly big point here. This is A level, NOT university.

    You can't "read around" a subject so much at A level because the exams are very specific. It's the reason why pre-degree is often described as learning mark schemes, or being taught to pass an exam not taught a subject.

    The big issue with this exam was that they asked irrelivent questions. They missed out the big hard hitters that always come up and replaced them with irrelevent rubbish. You can't make an exam with a specification and a text book specificaly stating certain things would NOT come up, then ignore it all for 7/8s of the paper.

    When you have a brand new specification and bring out a text book designed by the exam board then ignore it. Damn straight you can complain about the text book.
    I disagree with a-levele exam questions being specific, the whole point of them is to apply knowledge, not describe what you know which is GCSE level standard, university then asks you to provide a rational for your applied knowledge.

    i can imagine it will feel crap when you revise for what you may percive to be the big main questions for an exam and topics, but you can never fully predict what will come up. If the exam board is happy it follows it's specification, then the students should simply accept what has happened and learn from mistakes (same goes for exam board too- maybe in the future produce clearer textbooks?)
 
 
 
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: January 27, 2010
Poll
Do you agree with the PM's proposal to cut tuition fees for some courses?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.