The Student Room Group

The 2022 GCSE/A Level advance information has just caused confusion

The 2022 advance information released by exam boards was meant to help students but from my experience it has often done the opposite. I tutor maths and all my students have been confused about what will/won’t be on the exam and don’t know what they need to revise. This just adds to the stress that they are already under.

As a example (I could have picked loads), the Edexcel GCSE maths advanced info includes “use of ratio”. One of my students looked through the specification and couldn’t find “use of ratio” so tried to guess which ratio topics in the spec won’t be in the exam. I can make a good guess but it’s an impossible task to know for sure.

Another one of my students who does IGCSE has been told by their teacher that they don’t need to revise circle theorems because it’s not listed. But one of their friends in another school was told by their teacher that they do need to learn it because it falls under another topic which is mentioned. What a complete mess!

If the intention was to help students then why didn’t exam boards just provide a list of what will not be assessed and quote directly from the specification? If this would have provided too much help then they shouldn’t have released anything at all.

I’ve only seen mainly STEM examples and I know that it differs a lot across subjects. But I have heard similar complains across lots of subjects.
(edited 2 years ago)
For Higher Pearson Edexcel Maths GCSE , the amount of content reduction is very low, so most topics are still in there about 90 topics are listed as “main focus areas” i.e. are “in”. It looks like a few difficult ones like

Quadratic Sequence,

Completing the Square,


Volume of cone and sphere,


and Iteration are excluded from assessment now.

Would you agree Mr @Notnek ?

? also bearings and loci
I'm doing AQA Physics and Edexcel German and English Literature. The advance information refers directly to the specification for all of those - strange that the Edexcel Maths GCSE is so vague. The advance information is helpful for German, especially the spoken part, but still eliminates very little. English Literature only eliminates three poems - I'm kind of lost as to the point in doing that. My problem with physics is that it's not clear how much of the exam is not included in the advance information. Can you get an A while only revising the advance information, or an A* while focusing your revision on the advance information? It makes the advance information kind of unhelpful because since I need an A/A*, I just have to assume that I need to revise everything.
I think that there seems to be some inconsistency too. I think that Edexcel A-level French peeps are being scammed compared AQA A-level French students (I think that the Advanced info I'm being given (AQA) is better than the Edexcel one). Same goes for AQA French Vs AQA Spanish at GCSE level there's some inconsistency (seems to be better advanced info for French than Spanish according to my teacher :s-smilie:?) which makes no sense considering that it's the same type of qualification (i.e a GCSE European MFL subject) and that if anything (don't have data to back this up) people are more likely to have met some French/GCSE French than Spanish/GCSE Spanish therefore it should be the other way around if anything.

There's also the issue of (for A-level) "here's the advanced info but you could still be assessed on everything and we can't tell you what percentage of the paper is based on the advanced info (e.g say 80% is based on advanced info, 20% based on topics not listed in the advanced info)".

I mean we/people shouldn't have banked on the advanced info anyway but yeah there doesn't seem to be good consistency/clarity (yes I like my consistency and clarity ok, mentioned this many times on here) between different exam board e.g AQA Vs OCR or the same type of subject that have identical exam structure e.g A-level Chemistry Vs A-level Physics.

TL:biggrin:R as you say it would have been easier to tell people what won't come up rather than the exam board being stinky as usual and doing what they've done. Kind of reminds of Sixth form business casual dress codes where they'd list a whole bunch of stuff that you're not supposed to wear when it would just flat out be easier if pupils were told what they should be wearing instead or having a proper uniform.
Agreed, knowing what wouldn't be tested would be far more useful.
Original post by Notnek
If the intention was to help students then why didn’t exam boards just provide a list of what will not be assessed and quote directly from the specification? If this would have provided too much help then they shouldn’t have released anything at all.

The bit in bold is probably the exact reason why the exam boards have done the way they've done it (i.e tell pupils what will come up in the exam as opposed to telling them what won't come up) and why they refuse to tell pupils and people working in education what percentage of the paper will be based on advanced info Vs what percentage will be based on stuff not listed in the advanced info.
Maybe I'm being uneducated and too hard on the exam boards but yeah.

(2.11B) Explain how the difficulties of accessing brain tissue inside the skull can be overcome by using CT scanning and PET scanning to investigate brain function.

(2.12B) Explain some of the limitations in treating damage and disease in the brain and other parts of the nervous system, including spinal injuries and brain tumours.

(2.13) Explain the structure and function of sensory receptors, sensory neurons, relay neurons in the CNS, motor neurons and synapses in the transmission of electrical impulses, including the axon, dendron, myelin sheath and the role of neurotransmitters.

(2.14) Explain the structure and function of a reflex arc including sensory, relay and motor neurons.

(4.4) Describe the evidence for human evolution, based on fossils, including: a Ardi from 4.4 million years ago b Lucy from 3.2 million years ago c Leakey’s discovery of fossils from 1.6 million years ago.

(4.5) Describe the evidence for human evolution based on stone tools, including: a the development of stone tools over time b how these can be dated from their environment.

(4.8) Explain selective breeding and its impact on food plants and domesticated animals.

(4.9B) Describe the process of tissue culture and its advantages in medical research and plant breeding programmes.


These from my understanding formed the ‘major focus!

(1.7) Explain the mechanism of enzyme action including the active site and enzyme specificity.

(1.8) Explain how enzymes can be denatured due to changes in the shape of the active site.

(1.9) Explain the effects of temperature, substrate concentration and pH on enzyme activity.

(1.12) Explain the importance of enzymes as biological catalysts in the synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids and their breakdown into sugars, amino acids and fatty acids and glycerol.

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