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    (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
    That's quite obviously a different situation entirely; that was a topic related to what you'd done, whereas, from reading the thread about the exam, it seems many of the questions had no basis in the specification whatsoever.
    Please, please stop presuming you're the only person capable of thinking in an exam.
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    obviously it's ridiculous if the question's aren't relevant... simple as really, unless the exam board and institution expected them to learn more than they taught them which is again ridiculous
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    (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
    My girlfriend studied her ass off for tat exam, literally sat there every night going over past papers and pouring over all the info she could find and she came out of that exam almost in tears, she usually comes out happy as she revises for months before exams and she's expecting three As.
    I havn't met a single person who found it managable.
    Aparantly they had no knowledge in it, and she learnt all these really complicated words and only needed it for 4 marks or something.
    Damn right they should complain.
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    (Original post by Princesschickenbelly)
    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.

    Ah so this was GCSE? fair enough. Thing is at a-level, you choose to be there, and you're taking incharge of your learning, teachers are there just as a tool
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    (Original post by Jeester)
    My girlfriend studied her ass off for tat exam, literally sat there every night going over past papers and pouring over all the info she could find and she came out of that exam almost in tears, she usually comes out happy as she revises for months before exams and she's expecting three As.
    I havn't met a single person who found it managable.
    Aparantly they had no knowledge in it, and she learnt all these really complicated words and only needed it for 4 marks or something.
    Damn right they should complain.
    but it was a new specification, there was probably only one 'example' paper
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    (Original post by Revolution is my Name)
    That's quite obviously a different situation entirely; that was a topic related to what you'd done, whereas, from reading the thread about the exam, it seems many of the questions had no basis in the specification whatsoever.
    Please, please stop presuming you're the only person capable of thinking in an exam.

    I have done a-levels, i remember what it's like but i also know the lessosn i learnt that came from it.

    If there was a genuine reason for concern, AQA would have taken this 'complaint' much more seriously
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    In response to those who say that we should be "reading around the topic" - Our biology teachers frequently made us do this and gave us their own sheets to read as extra material, but it is very hard to decide for ourselves just exactly what to research. Besides, with a topic such as conservation and ecology, the choice of extra reading we could've done is phenomenal. I can assure you that in this case, "reading around the subject" gave us no advantage to sitting this exam whatsoever.

    I personally think that the questions themselves weren't actually that hard. What was hard, however, was the timing for me. The questions were written in such an open way it was hard to discern what we had to write to get those marks, and nearly every question was a short essay styled one. Given the fact that reading seemingly irrelevant facts about snow geese, shrews, hair tubes, hair tube indexes and faunagoo, which certainly required a fair amount of time to get over the initial shock/bemusement of it being in the exam, the timing was extremely tight.

    It also seemed very unfair that the exam was 80% ecology. To be honest, when I look at the ecology questions on the paper, I still can't figure out what aspect of ecology it was meant to be, apart from very few questions. Where was the speciation, succession and conservation that I so painstakingly forced myself to learn and understand? Yes, understand. I understand the topics and yes, I'd like to think that I can apply them to other situations as opposed to regurgitating facts. Apart from the fact that the questions contained animals, it was very hard to see where biology had any more significance on the question than geography or statistics. This exam just seemed like one, giant ISA/EMPA paper.
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    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?)
    It didn't follow the spec! You're blatently ignoring the fact that some of the paper was not on the specification. People have said this like 5-6 times so far in this thread. The problem here is that exam board didn't follow the spec.

    If a textbook designed by the examboard tells you it's not going to be on the exam, you don't revise it. It wastes time you have to revise other important parts of the exam. Reading around the subject gives you no advantage either. You can't make an exam that way. The topics are too vast and broad some students read X, some Y. It would be unfair to test on X or Y or even both because some students would not have covered it, through no fault of their own.

    Have you ever looked at a science/maths mark scheme for A level? This is an honest question. Have you ever looked at science/maths mark schemes for the past 6-7 years? Honestly, if you can sit there and tell me they're non-specific and you can't spot patterns you're even stupider than I thought.
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    The problem here is that nominally at A-level every subject should be standardised and each module should be standardised. This is because they are often directly compared in university offers. This is not the case with university exams and therefore it is more acceptable for them to include curveballs.
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    Ah so this was GCSE? fair enough. Thing is at a-level, you choose to be there, and you're taking incharge of your learning, teachers are there just as a tool
    Yeah it was GCSE, I'm sure I said school, thought I made it clear sorry :o:
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)

    If there was a genuine reason for concern, AQA would have taken this 'complaint' much more seriously
    By doing what exactly?
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    (Original post by DeeDub)
    The problem here is that nominally at A-level every subject should be standardised and each module should be standardised. This is because they are often directly compared in university offers. This is not the case with university exams and therefore it is more acceptable for them to include curveballs.

    I do think there should just be one big exam board, but this could cause some problems- plus exams are a buisness, competition etc.
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    (Original post by Princesschickenbelly)
    Yeah it was GCSE, I'm sure I said school, thought I made it clear sorry :o:

    school still = college, uni for me..i still say i'm going to school when i have lectures in the morning lol
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    (Original post by Kimnjinx)
    I took the exam and it really was as ridiculous as everyone is making out. For instance there was a question about a statistical test which the AQA textbook specifically stated we didn't have to know about.
    did you check the date on the textbook and the date of the new curriculum?
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    (Original post by Trigger)
    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.
    I was actually talking about high school, so she was asking a bunch of 14/15 year olds to be that organised :p:
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    I have done a-levels, i remember what it's like but i also know the lessosn i learnt that came from it.

    If there was a genuine reason for concern, AQA would have taken this 'complaint' much more seriously
    They are. And pretty much everyone who sat the exam has made a little 'complaint'

    I think a levels should ask you to apply your knowledge- it's the only true indicator of understanding as opposed to someone memorising a text book. But how much prior knowledge of shrews and faunagoo are we expected to have? Sure, write a question involving shrews (don't drag it on for 6 pages, but hey...) and let us apply our knowledge of material we have been taught in order to answer the question. Imagine being given a question asking you to apply your knowledge of a subject and never having been taught that subject. It just won't work.
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    It's probably because a lot of people who take biology do so because it's a humanity equivilent of a science; you're meant to be able to learn a load of facts and get good marks. When this doesn't happen, outrage. Without over generallisng, I would also add that the average Biology student is stuipder than the average Chemistry student for example, adding to the impact of a paper which makes you think.

    Having done AS biology and looking at this paper, I would expect to get a high B/A on it having not even loooked at a A2 textbook, which implies there probably isn't enough covered material on it.

    Personally, I would have loved a paper like this, but I can understand others wouldn't. Still no need for the outcry however, people need to learn to man up. Life isn't fair.
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    school still = college, uni for me..i still say i'm going to school when i have lectures in the morning lol
    Looking back I actually said high school but never mind :p:
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    (Original post by Illusionary)
    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.
    I don't know about the specifics of the exam paper in question, but this is definitely the most accurate examination of the subject of independant learning.

    Nothing wrong with trying to get candidates to apply their knowledge in an unfamiliar context. I'm fully in support of those. You find them a lot in Chemistry exams, and they're instrumental in distinguishing between the candidates. However, you can't just have an exam where all the questions have nothing to do with what anyone has learnt. That's just horrible. Sure pupils should be encouraged to do background reading, but it should be on stuff related and closely linked to the course surely? Otherwise how would anyone know what they should read up on? Biology is a pretty fricking huge topic you know? You can't just tell them to go do background reading on Biology. While some students might be interesting in gaining scientific knowledge, and that's good and should be encouraged, but at the end of the day, they want good grades, and they want to have some way of being able to get them.

    Did anyone here actually do the paper by the way? Because your input would be very helpful. There has to be SOMEONE here. Really anyone who didn't do the paper can't really say much on it. Certainly the OP can't comment anything valuable because he appears to think he's the only one in the country who can do problem solving questions
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    (Original post by Princesschickenbelly)
    I was actually talking about high school, so she was asking a bunch of 14/15 year olds to be that organised :p:
    Even worse :lolwut:
 
 
 
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