Why are some year's exams harder than others?

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black1blade
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What goes into the minds of examiners when they make one year particularly harder than another year? Do they take into the account that there have been many more years of past papers therefore they feel they can set more challenging questions are students should be well versed in the more normal questions?

Thing is though if people find the paper much harder than normal then the grade boundary is lowered so similar proportion of students get a particular grade. In that case what even was the point of making it harder in the first place if the only effect is to lower the confidence of the students coming out of the exam?

A particular problem with the ums system, which I know is being phased out, is that the most able students who get very high marks aren't differentiated from the students who got very high but not quite as high marks (100 ums having a plateau that can span quite a large range).

I guess the thing is that I'm just salty about the ocr maths c4 exam. I likely did get an A* on the paper however I didn't come out of the exam feeling very confident. It's probably a good thing that exams have more challenging questions where you have to think about things more however the fact that the first half had a lot of the more normal questions in a simpler setting meant that you had to be really really quick at that stuff to have a chance to solve the harder problems later on. There was also a 1 mark graph question that you really had to do more than 1 mark's worth of working out on however it was only 1 mark because graphical calculators are a thing.
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S.G.
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(Original post by black1blade)
What goes into the minds of examiners when they make one year particularly harder than another year? Do they take into the account that there have been many more years of past papers therefore they feel they can set more challenging questions are students should be well versed in the more normal questions?

Thing is though if people find the paper much harder than normal then the grade boundary is lowered so similar proportion of students get a particular grade. In that case what even was the point of making it harder in the first place if the only effect is to lower the confidence of the students coming out of the exam?

A particular problem with the ums system, which I know is being phased out, is that the most able students who get very high marks aren't differentiated from the students who got very high but not quite as high marks (100 ums having a plateau that can span quite a large range).

I guess the thing is that I'm just salty about the ocr maths c4 exam. I likely did get an A* on the paper however I didn't come out of the exam feeling very confident. It's probably a good thing that exams have more challenging questions where you have to think about things more however the fact that the first half had a lot of the more normal questions in a simpler setting meant that you had to be really really quick at that stuff to have a chance to solve the harder problems later on. There was also a 1 mark graph question that you really had to do more than 1 mark's worth of working out on however it was only 1 mark because graphical calculators are a thing.
I believe examiners try to make 80% raw marks as close as possible to 80 UMS. If they accidentally make a hard paper then that changes obviously and for example 68% becomes 80 UMS. They just try to write it in that kind of way. Also, especially with subjects like maths, when the number of past papers increases, people have had more preparation and practice so they try to put in harder non standard question otherwise grade boundaries are really high. Like for C1 they are usually 85% raw marks for 80 UMS
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Gem Thief
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Its all subjective really.
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Maths is Life
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(Original post by SGHD26716)
I believe examiners try to make 80% raw marks as close as possible to 80 UMS. If they accidentally make a hard paper then that changes obviously and for example 68% becomes 80 UMS. They just try to write it in that kind of way. Also, especially with subjects like maths, when the number of past papers increases, people have had more preparation and practice so they try to put in harder non standard question otherwise grade boundaries are really high. Like for C1 they are usually 85% raw marks for 80 UMS
85% for 80UMS? can you show me evidence?
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S.G.
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(Original post by Maths is Life)
85% for 80UMS? can you show me evidence?
2015 OCR C1 was 64/72 for an A. Therefore 89% raw marks corresponded to 80 UMS.

2016 OCR C1 was 53/72 for an A. Therefore 74% raw marks corresponded to 80 UMS.
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Maths is Life
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(Original post by SGHD26716)
2015 OCR C1 was 64/72 for an A. Therefore 89% raw marks corresponded to 80 UMS.

2016 OCR C1 was 53/72 for an A. Therefore 74% raw marks corresponded to 80 UMS.
I actually didn't know exam boards were allowed to do this, I thought 80% was the ceiling for an A?

Thanks for educating me

This also means there's no ceiling for an A*?
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S.G.
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(Original post by Maths is Life)
I actually didn't know exam boards were allowed to do this, I thought 80% was the ceiling for an A?

Thanks for educating me

This also means there's no ceiling for an A*?
The A* is only for A2 modules and is usually 6-7 marks for than what is required for an A (in maths anyway).
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black1blade
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(Original post by Maths is Life)
I actually didn't know exam boards were allowed to do this, I thought 80% was the ceiling for an A?

Thanks for educating me

This also means there's no ceiling for an A*?
Yeah it depends how hard the paper is each year. I did last year's c1 and felt horrible after the exam. I was preparing for maybe a B in maths but I opened my results to slip to find I had 273/300 ums because 2016 had pretty hard papers. The papers in 2017 have been even harder I reckon, I guess also because it's the twilight years of the exam.
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