# do you still get marks for using A Level methods and formula at GCSE Watch

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#41

(Original post by

But herein lies the problem. It is not beyond the realms of plausibility for someone to spot the solution to a pair of simultaneous equations by luck. The question asks them to be solved, and they indeed have been. Why should the candidate be penalised when they have done precisely what has been asked.

**dextrous63**)But herein lies the problem. It is not beyond the realms of plausibility for someone to spot the solution to a pair of simultaneous equations by luck. The question asks them to be solved, and they indeed have been. Why should the candidate be penalised when they have done precisely what has been asked.

EDIT: see my reply below for clarification.

Last edited by Sir Cumference; 1 week ago

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#42

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Quick question for you. Suppose a question was set which required, say, the cosine rule and a candidate wrote down the correct answer but without any form of working out. Would full marks be awarded?

**dextrous63**)Quick question for you. Suppose a question was set which required, say, the cosine rule and a candidate wrote down the correct answer but without any form of working out. Would full marks be awarded?

Presumably you've seen a mark scheme?

Here's an extract

**P1**for substituting into the sine or cosine rule to find OD

eg 14 ÷ sin140 = OD ÷ sin 24

or (OD²=) 6² +14² − 2 × 6 × 14 × cos 24 (=78.5....)

**P1**for a complete process to find the length OD

eg 14 ÷ sin140 × sin24 (=8.8(58778..))

**P1**for a complete process to find the perimeter

eg “23(.03834..)” + 14+ “8.8(58778..)” – 6

**A1**for an answer in the range 39.8 to 40

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#43

(Original post by

It depends on the exam board. This is the marking advice for Edexcel GCSE maths:

If a question doesn't say e.g. "you must show your working" and it's very unlikely that the student could get the answer by guessing then examiners are told to award full marks even if no method is given. So for a cosine rule (calculator) question where only the correct answer is given with no working, I would expect an Edexcel GCSE examiner to award full marks.

Of course this does not mean that students shouldn't write working for every question. Working marks are awarded if the final answer isn't correct. Exam boards will always tell students to show their working for every question even though many questions don't require working if the final answer is correct.

**Sir Cumference**)It depends on the exam board. This is the marking advice for Edexcel GCSE maths:

If a question doesn't say e.g. "you must show your working" and it's very unlikely that the student could get the answer by guessing then examiners are told to award full marks even if no method is given. So for a cosine rule (calculator) question where only the correct answer is given with no working, I would expect an Edexcel GCSE examiner to award full marks.

Of course this does not mean that students shouldn't write working for every question. Working marks are awarded if the final answer isn't correct. Exam boards will always tell students to show their working for every question even though many questions don't require working if the final answer is correct.

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#44

(Original post by

See my extract from a mark scheme - working is needed.

**Muttley79**)See my extract from a mark scheme - working is needed.

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#45

(Original post by

Why do you think they would be penalised? It depends on the board/actual question but most of the time I'd expect full marks to be awarded if just the correct answer is given to a simultaneous equations question. Exam questions are designed so that it's very hard to get the correct answer by trial and error / guessing.

**Sir Cumference**)Why do you think they would be penalised? It depends on the board/actual question but most of the time I'd expect full marks to be awarded if just the correct answer is given to a simultaneous equations question. Exam questions are designed so that it's very hard to get the correct answer by trial and error / guessing.

Should they be awarded full marks?

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#46

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Method marks can be implicitly awarded if the final answer is correct. Mark schemes don’t say this but it’s part of the training (for Edexcel at least).

**Sir Cumference**)Method marks can be implicitly awarded if the final answer is correct. Mark schemes don’t say this but it’s part of the training (for Edexcel at least).

**must**be shown - a candidate would be foolish to ignore this.

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#47

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This goes to the crux of the matter. If the SIM.eqns was set on a calculator paper, and a candidate used his/her classwizz calculator to solve it then should full marks be awarded? I'm sure we've all put up.questions on the blackboard intending to work through it, only to be thwarted by some bright spark correctly guessing the answer.

Should they be awarded full marks?

**dextrous63**)This goes to the crux of the matter. If the SIM.eqns was set on a calculator paper, and a candidate used his/her classwizz calculator to solve it then should full marks be awarded? I'm sure we've all put up.questions on the blackboard intending to work through it, only to be thwarted by some bright spark correctly guessing the answer.

Should they be awarded full marks?

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#48

(Original post by

The rubric says all working

**Muttley79**)The rubric says all working

**must**be shown - a candidate would be foolish to ignore this.
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#49

(Original post by

I teach Edexcel - the rubric says 'All working must be shown'

Presumably you've seen a mark scheme?

Here's an extract

eg 14 ÷ sin140 = OD ÷ sin 24

or (OD²=) 6² +14² − 2 × 6 × 14 × cos 24 (=78.5....)

eg 14 ÷ sin140 × sin24 (=8.8(58778..))

eg “23(.03834..)” + 14+ “8.8(58778..)” – 6

**Muttley79**)I teach Edexcel - the rubric says 'All working must be shown'

Presumably you've seen a mark scheme?

Here's an extract

**P1**for substituting into the sine or cosine rule to find ODeg 14 ÷ sin140 = OD ÷ sin 24

or (OD²=) 6² +14² − 2 × 6 × 14 × cos 24 (=78.5....)

**P1**for a complete process to find the length ODeg 14 ÷ sin140 × sin24 (=8.8(58778..))

**P1**for a complete process to find the perimetereg “23(.03834..)” + 14+ “8.8(58778..)” – 6

**A1**for an answer in the range 39.8 to 40And, as you will no doubt have guessed, I've seen and used many a mark scheme and attended exam board meetings (mostly edexcel) throughout the years. Have also seen them make mistakes, which are admitted during the meetings, but never acted on.

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#50

(Original post by

You misunderstand what this paper is for - it's for topics that NEED a calculator like Trig where the calculations can't be done in your head or take far too long.

I teach Maths ... you need to show how you've solved any equation not just the answer.

**Muttley79**)You misunderstand what this paper is for - it's for topics that NEED a calculator like Trig where the calculations can't be done in your head or take far too long.

I teach Maths ... you need to show how you've solved any equation not just the answer.

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#51

I'm doing CAIE A level FM rn and here are my two cents:

All exams are but demonstrations of your knowledge. Hence, you need to be able to demonstrate effectively to the examiner that you're able to do certain things. Even if you say get the final answer via a calculator, the examiner must know how you got there. Why risk it by not making the method explicit and leaving it up to the examiner's judgement whether the demonstration was complete or not. Using your music analogy, currently the student is not performing for an audience but is rather passing a Trinity grade. He would do what's required to fulfill the standards set by the examiner (and the examining board). The paper is a test of your mathematical reasoning more than it is a test of how well you can use your calculator. The calculator is a tool, like the ruler. Knowing where to use it and how is a part of the syllabus set rather than something to be experimented with.

That's the pragmatic answer to the way things are currently placed. How they should be - I'll answer like this.

Yes calculators are a valid means to check your answers. I use the spreadsheet tool to simplify probabilities and expected value calculations in long-winded statistics problems. But I always show all the values I calculate because the examiner does not have access to my calculator's temporary memory. Additionally, I always know what I'm doing since I can redo the calculations by hand but admitedly it'd take enormously longer. If I couldn't, then using a calculator would be a problem. That being said, my demonstration has to be complete.

finally, if students relied on their calculators completely and helplessly then they'd never be able to breakthrough the confines of the tech that we ourselves have created. for you to be able to stretch and expand on a particular mathematical process or argument (say the recent discovery of a formulaic way to factorise quadratics) you have to completely understand the parts to that process or argument. It's the responsibility of the exam board to ensure that the student does that. How can that happen? I think you'll agree that making sure that the student understands the process is easier if showing the working, or demonstrating your skill at solving a question explicitly, is a requirement set for the exam.

All exams are but demonstrations of your knowledge. Hence, you need to be able to demonstrate effectively to the examiner that you're able to do certain things. Even if you say get the final answer via a calculator, the examiner must know how you got there. Why risk it by not making the method explicit and leaving it up to the examiner's judgement whether the demonstration was complete or not. Using your music analogy, currently the student is not performing for an audience but is rather passing a Trinity grade. He would do what's required to fulfill the standards set by the examiner (and the examining board). The paper is a test of your mathematical reasoning more than it is a test of how well you can use your calculator. The calculator is a tool, like the ruler. Knowing where to use it and how is a part of the syllabus set rather than something to be experimented with.

That's the pragmatic answer to the way things are currently placed. How they should be - I'll answer like this.

Yes calculators are a valid means to check your answers. I use the spreadsheet tool to simplify probabilities and expected value calculations in long-winded statistics problems. But I always show all the values I calculate because the examiner does not have access to my calculator's temporary memory. Additionally, I always know what I'm doing since I can redo the calculations by hand but admitedly it'd take enormously longer. If I couldn't, then using a calculator would be a problem. That being said, my demonstration has to be complete.

finally, if students relied on their calculators completely and helplessly then they'd never be able to breakthrough the confines of the tech that we ourselves have created. for you to be able to stretch and expand on a particular mathematical process or argument (say the recent discovery of a formulaic way to factorise quadratics) you have to completely understand the parts to that process or argument. It's the responsibility of the exam board to ensure that the student does that. How can that happen? I think you'll agree that making sure that the student understands the process is easier if showing the working, or demonstrating your skill at solving a question explicitly, is a requirement set for the exam.

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#52

(Original post by

I know they would be foolish to ignore it. I’m just saying how the exams are marked.

**Sir Cumference**)I know they would be foolish to ignore it. I’m just saying how the exams are marked.

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#53

(Original post by

How often have you seen a fully correct answer to such a question [from a November 2018 paper] without any working written down?

**Muttley79**)How often have you seen a fully correct answer to such a question [from a November 2018 paper] without any working written down?

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#54

**Muttley79**)

How often have you seen a fully correct answer to such a question [from a November 2018 paper] without any working written down?

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#55

**Muttley79**)

How often have you seen a fully correct answer to such a question [from a November 2018 paper] without any working written down?

Mind you, if one wanted to be totally cynical, one could argue that working out needs to be shown as an indication that the candidate hadn't managed to get hold of an (inexorably) leaked copy of the exam beforehand and stored the numerical answer in one of the many memories available on his/her calculator.

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#56

(Original post by

True. But I have seen solutions to quadratics and sim equations written down correctly on both calculator (pre classwizz availability) and non calc papers. I've also seen quadratic curves accurately drawn without any sign of a table drawn out nor any obvious points plotted. I've also seen correct loci/constructions where the candidate has (unhelpfully) rubbed out all of the construction curves) and the only evidence that a compass had been used being pinpricks on the paper.

Mind you, if one wanted to be totally cynical, one could argue that working out needs to be shown as an indication that the candidate hadn't managed to get hold of an (inexorably) leaked copy of the exam beforehand and stored the numerical answer in one of the many memories available on his/her calculator.

**dextrous63**)True. But I have seen solutions to quadratics and sim equations written down correctly on both calculator (pre classwizz availability) and non calc papers. I've also seen quadratic curves accurately drawn without any sign of a table drawn out nor any obvious points plotted. I've also seen correct loci/constructions where the candidate has (unhelpfully) rubbed out all of the construction curves) and the only evidence that a compass had been used being pinpricks on the paper.

Mind you, if one wanted to be totally cynical, one could argue that working out needs to be shown as an indication that the candidate hadn't managed to get hold of an (inexorably) leaked copy of the exam beforehand and stored the numerical answer in one of the many memories available on his/her calculator.

Papers are scanned these days so if construction lines aren't clear there is a risk of marks not being given,

WHY would any candidate risk losing marks by not showing appropriate working? For curves usually they have to complete a table given in the question. Exams are about demonstrating knowledge of mathematics and problem solving not showing you have money to buy a specific calculator.

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#57

(Original post by

**dextrous63**)**There is some debate around whether using a classwizz calculator to solve (eg) simultaneous or quadratic equations etc instantly should be afforded full marks .****debate why should i (a person who is able to afford this "fancy" calculator (i've got a clazzwiz despite me not doing a-level maths)) be awarded full marks for simply writing out the final answer (cause i did it on my calculator) vs a GCSE student who may not afford to have one so they have to do everything by hand?**

*no*
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#58

(Original post by

Calculators are cleared at the start of the exam - well they are in my school by invigilators!

Papers are scanned these days so if construction lines aren't clear there is a risk of marks not being given,

WHY would any candidate risk losing marks by not showing appropriate working? For curves usually they have to complete a table given in the question. Exams are about demonstrating knowledge of mathematics and problem solving not showing you have money to buy a specific calculator.

**Muttley79**)Calculators are cleared at the start of the exam - well they are in my school by invigilators!

Papers are scanned these days so if construction lines aren't clear there is a risk of marks not being given,

WHY would any candidate risk losing marks by not showing appropriate working? For curves usually they have to complete a table given in the question. Exams are about demonstrating knowledge of mathematics and problem solving not showing you have money to buy a specific calculator.

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#59

**dextrous63**)

Quick question for you. Suppose a question was set which required, say, the cosine rule and a candidate wrote down the correct answer but without any form of working out. Would full marks be awarded?

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#60

**Muttley79**)

Calculators are cleared at the start of the exam - well they are in my school by invigilators!

Papers are scanned these days so if construction lines aren't clear there is a risk of marks not being given,

WHY would any candidate risk losing marks by not showing appropriate working? For curves usually they have to complete a table given in the question. Exams are about demonstrating knowledge of mathematics and problem solving not showing you have money to buy a specific calculator.

I'm aware that papers are scanned - I was referring to the happy old days when I used to mark mock and practice papers.

I agree about what an exam is attempting to achieve. I just think there are some vagaries in places.

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