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Pupils complaining about "Unfair" exam paper watch

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    It's all very well talking about how the questions "don't look that hard" and how we should be able to "apply our knowledge," but don't forget - we're sitting here comfortably on our laptops/computers, sifting through the questions and we posess hindsight. Looking through the questions now and thinking "I could do that" and looking through the questions in the exam, under exam conditions are two very different situations that can't really be fairly compared.
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    but it was a new specification, there was probably only one 'example' paper
    Well she was doing something, maybe questions from a book, I dunno, I was too absorbed in Physics at the time.
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    There are plenty of exams in which many of us have thought 'Oh, I didn't revise that, nor did it cross my mind I needed to'. Following this I doubt the majoirty of students would have had to audacity to create a Facebook group critising the exam board. The idea for the group was probably taken from the absurd number of pointless and irritating groups created by pre-pubescent Beboers. Okay, the quantity of Biology students complaining is rather high, which suggests that the paper may not have been adequate, but, you have to learn to deal with this, move on and pass the retake.
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    (Original post by Kytiane)
    It's all very well talking about how the questions "don't look that hard" and how we should be able to "apply our knowledge," but don't forget - we're sitting here comfortably on our laptops/computers, sifting through the questions and we posess hindsight. Looking through the questions now and thinking "I could do that" and looking through the questions in the exam, under exam conditions are two very different situations that can't really be fairly compared.

    Ive taken this into account

    I've had a look at the exam, and gone through each question and referred back to the specifcation when doing so. I cannot find a single question that is not related back to the spec- if someone knows of one, please say. The 'statistical test' isn't even a proper question about a statistical test, but explaining why it may be needed- common knowledge + basic research knowledge is needed to answer this!
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    (Original post by T-Star*)
    There are plenty of exams in which many of us have thought 'Oh, I didn't revise that, nor did it cross my mind I needed to'. Following this I doubt the majoirty of students would have had to audacity to create a Facebook group critising the exam board. The idea for the group was probably taken from the absurd number of pointless and irritating groups created by pre-pubescent Beboers. Okay, the quantity of Biology students complaining is rather high, which suggests that the paper may not have been adequate, but, you have to learn to deal with this, move on and pass the retake.

    if you were 16, you just did an exam and a group of your mates were going to campaign for action against the exam as it was hard..you'd join in just for the slim chance they may up your grades!
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    (Original post by Jeester)
    Oh how nonchalant! It's okay for you, who's already done your A- Levels and in uni, but it's not okay for those thousands of 18 year olds who arn't going to make it to their uni of choice becase of a "bump [down of] grades."
    It's not as if the % of people getting an A is going to vanish this year, only perhaps fall by 2% rather than rise by 2% like the last 5 years or whatever. The majority of the paper still covered content that I was taught when I did this course last year, but I have a feeling that teachers spent too much time teaching the difficult concepts (ATP for example). If you look in the spec it says 3.4.2 and then 2 lines of explanation, whereas the other sections on ecology are much longer.

    There are 8 'bullet points' in the spec:
    1) Populations - 1 page of notes on this
    2) ATP - 2 lines of notes
    3) ATP in photosynthesis and 4) reactions in the mitochondria - 1 page of notes combined.
    5) Energy in ecosystems and 6) chemicals in ecosystems - 1 page combined
    7) Succession in ecosystems - 1/2 page
    8) Selection and inheritances - 1 page

    Total: 4 1/2 pages

    So the big topic last syllabus was on ATP and what not, yet it only covered 20-25% of the specification. There were about 15 marks on ATP in this exam - worth 20% of the paper. A proportional representation of the topic was asked in the paper.
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    (Original post by Diminutive)
    The exam paper is online... the spec is online... why don't people go compare them themselves.

    Personally, I do think it was unfair (as a university finalist who never took biology mind). Example though is some friends on mech eng at uni.... they know that their professor likes to challenge them... to know that they know the theory and how to apply it rather than just re using methods already gave. So no two questions are even remotely similar. They all worked hard and from the sound of it will get really good marks to reflect that. Alternatively, in one of their other modules, the tutor was a complete arse... telling them it would be mostly maths when it was mostly words. So they focused on the maths, and while studying the wordy side, didn't give it full attention.

    There's the key difference though.... first tutor guy made it very transparent that thinking/application was required. Now obviously its ridiculous to have to tell someone to "think" or apply knowledge differently.... but you don't teach a course as if its going to be one way when its another. The second tutor intentionally misled... they would have been better with no information.

    If this unit of the exam was about challenging the students, then the intentions should be clear. While testing intelligence, application and thinking abilities of students is good... its not what these types of a levels are about. If it wanted to test that, we'd get everyone to sit IQ & comprehension type tests, and leave it at that. Or if they want a radical change from the "hard work to learn stuff" format... give warning.

    Besides... Biology has always been about remembering.... you can't exactly write an essay on the names of the organs or bones etc.

    Looking through the paper i can imagine, why some of the questions may have thrown a lot of pupils, as it was questioned in a way that the focus of what the question is actually ASKING you isn't as clear, unless you used a bit of background knowledge or applied knowledge
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    (Original post by danny111)
    so your saying the complaints are unjustly at this scale?
    The more I analyse the new spec and the paper and the given specimen, the more I think that the paper fitted the spec well. It's just that last year biochemical processes took up much more in the exam and I assume that teachers used the same hit and hope strategy for the change in spec.
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    (Original post by Illusionary)
    Always nice to be agreed with. :yy:

    I'd definitely agree that some of the best examination techniques are problem-solving, as you say, or the application of known techniques to less familiar situations - tests of understanding rather than just of the ability to memorise information.

    There's a thread over in the Biology Exams forum (clicky) where more of the specifics of the paper are being discussed by people who actually sat it.
    Thanks for the link. I'm reading the thread and it's just horrible that all these people who worked hard and do deserve their A may be falling into B or even C territory!

    The OP's ignorance on the subject combined with his rudeness towards the students who sat it is just irritating. It's been quite clearly consolidated that TSR is a community of nerds essentially, with nearly everyone on the site getting incredibly good grades, and all the TSR folk that sat this got their ass kicked by it. This goes well above a challenging exam paper. There is serious complaint to be had there. Not just the AQA one apparently- the OCR one too!

    I hope nothing like this happens with the Higher Biology final exam. Though with that in mind, I'd better start reading up on pygmy shrews! :eek:
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    (Original post by innerhollow)
    Thanks for the link. I'm reading the thread and it's just horrible that all these people who worked hard and do deserve their A may be falling into B or even C territory!

    The OP's ignorance on the subject combined with his rudeness towards the students who sat it is just irritating. It's been quite clearly consolidated that TSR is a community of nerds essentially, with nearly everyone on the site getting incredibly good grades, and all the TSR folk that sat this got their ass kicked by it. This goes well above a challenging exam paper. There is serious complaint to be had there. Not just the AQA one apparently- the OCR one too!

    I hope nothing like this happens with the Higher Biology final exam. Though with that in mind, I'd better start reading up on pygmy shrews! :eek:

    1. I have an a-level in biology
    2. i'm a she
    3. It's not challenging..looking at the exam paper, and comparing it with what the specification is asking you to know (not forgetting the pratical skills you should have gained which the paper is also questioning the students on) is fair enough, and very clear
    4. The question is asking for no knowledge whatsoever of pygmy shrews, but for a knowledge of experimental designs, and practical skills.
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    (Original post by innerhollow)
    Though with that in mind, I'd better start reading up on pygmy shrews! :eek:
    I really don't see the point in that. In that question, you didn't require any knowledge of what a pygmy shrew is, just that they have hair (and you are told that in the question). The text at the beginning of the question is just interesting stuff you read about that sometimes you find interesting. You then apply what you're meant to know with that question. For example in a past biology paper we were told that there's this condition where there is a hole in the atrial wall of the heart. All you need to know is that there's a hole and think why it causes these side effects such as dizzyness.
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    Uh, should be pointed out that if students really have done as much revision work etc as they've claimed and are these perfect little hard done by students.... the other units will pull up their grades.

    And there's always retakes, in June..... no one will loose out on university because of this =|


    Now if they got majorly screwed over in, lets say, a final year mech eng module where if they don't get about 50% they loose 5 years of work since there's no retake opportunity in final year... they might have some warrant to complain!
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    (Original post by TheTallOne)
    It's not as if the % of people getting an A is going to vanish this year, only perhaps fall by 2% rather than rise by 2% like the last 5 years or whatever. The majority of the paper still covered content that I was taught when I did this course last year, but I have a feeling that teachers spent too much time teaching the difficult concepts (ATP for example). If you look in the spec it says 3.4.2 and then 2 lines of explanation, whereas the other sections on ecology are much longer.

    There are 8 'bullet points' in the spec:
    1) Populations - 1 page of notes on this
    2) ATP - 2 lines of notes
    3) ATP in photosynthesis and 4) reactions in the mitochondria - 1 page of notes combined.
    5) Energy in ecosystems and 6) chemicals in ecosystems - 1 page combined
    7) Succession in ecosystems - 1/2 page
    8) Selection and inheritances - 1 page

    Total: 4 1/2 pages

    So the big topic last syllabus was on ATP and what not, yet it only covered 20-25% of the specification. There were about 15 marks on ATP in this exam - worth 20% of the paper. A proportional representation of the topic was asked in the paper.

    Theres also a huge bit about practical and investigative skills you need to know for this module, which is asked about in this paper..I agree with you, I see no reason for concern here, other than the examples the questions give may throw some students who think very laterally off
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    (Original post by innerhollow)
    Thanks for the link. I'm reading the thread and it's just horrible that all these people who worked hard and do deserve their A may be falling into B or even C territory!

    The OP's ignorance on the subject combined with his rudeness towards the students who sat it is just irritating. It's been quite clearly consolidated that TSR is a community of nerds essentially, with nearly everyone on the site getting incredibly good grades, and all the TSR folk that sat this got their ass kicked by it. This goes well above a challenging exam paper. There is serious complaint to be had there. Not just the AQA one apparently- the OCR one too!

    I hope nothing like this happens with the Higher Biology final exam. Though with that in mind, I'd better start reading up on pygmy shrews! :eek:
    this is an observation i made. those people on here who you say have amazing grades, most of them dont do biology. im not saying anythign against the subject, or its takers, but you cant make statements like that. also, several ppl on here made comments about not thinking the exam was unfair - what is up with that?

    personally i can tell you that for me our school messed up the ICT coursework. but that was the school. not the exam board. so if the kids have been taught the wrong thing, its not necessarily the board's fault.
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)

    3. It's not challenging..looking at the exam paper, and comparing it with what the specification is asking you to know (not forgetting the pratical skills you should have gained which the paper is also questioning the students on) is fair enough, and very clear
    I don't really think it's fair enough, aren't questions regarding practical skills meant to be mainly for the ISA/EMPA/Coursework paper?
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    [QUOTE=Kytiane]
    (Original post by Subcutaneous)

    3. It's not challenging..looking at the exam paper, and comparing it with what the specification is asking you to know (not forgetting the pratical skills you should have gained which the paper is also questioning the students on) is fair enough, and very clear QUOTE]

    I don't really think it's fair enough, aren't questions regarding practical skills meant to be mainly for the ISA/EMPA/Coursework paper?

    Nope, it's been a part of my previous a-level biology papers also, and is clearly discussed in the specification for that module to have gained investigative and practical skills, which- are questioned in the exam, whast the big deal? A huge part of ecology is research skills
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    I made this thread first. :p:
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    [QUOTE=Subcutaneous]
    (Original post by Kytiane)


    Nope, it's been a part of my previous a-level biology papers also, and is clearly discussed in the specification for that module to have gained investigative and practical skills, which- are questioned in the exam, whast the big deal? A huge part of ecology is research skills
    I was expecting questions on investigative and practical skills. What I wasn't expecting was for 70% or so of the paper to be on that and data analysis.

    And can I just make it clear that I'm personally not too bothered. I'm just going to resit in June. I'm just trying to balance the debate a bit.
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    (Original post by *MJ*)
    I made this thread first. :p:

    I actually did a mini search before i made it on a-level, and exam and qualifications forusm but found nothing lol probably cause i never venture intothe biology area unless i have too!
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    Looks like I'm one year ahead of the game. score.
 
 
 
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