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    • Thread Starter

    A lot of people complain that A level maths has been dumbed down. But, if it was harder then how can less mathematically able do it?

    Yeah, so I was wondering has uni maths been dumbed down?

    I mean like if you look at the top 10 unis would it be harder to get a first in say 1970s or 1980s compared to 2008.

    I don't see the problem of dumbing down A levels if the unis don't dumb down what they teach.

    I wonder if further maths has been dumbed down.
    • Wiki Support Team

    Wiki Support Team

    The problem of dumbing down A-levels is that people who take maths A-level mostly do not go on to do maths at university. In fact, of all those people who go on to use their maths at university, most of them use it in chemistry or engineering or something else where they won't get proper maths teaching and they will get a dumbed down version.

    It's interesting at Uni, because you have your lecturers setting the exams, the difficulty of each module changes each year. When doing past papers you can just be praying for another 2006 and not a 2002 or something. It's all good though. But no, especially since the courses don't change all that often either.

    (Original post by Popa Dom)
    According to my first year tutor the content hasn't particularly got much easier over the last 20 years or so, but the questions tend to be a lot nicer, and they tend to lead you through it more.
    Comparing the Cambridge exams now v.s. 20 years ago, the big difference is that there are now various "easy" questions that are only worth half the marks and are much much more straightforward.

    I suspect one major reason for this is to make sure that the weakest 10% (roughly the 3rd/2:2 boundary) of candidates would at least get some questions they could answer. To be honest, I expect this has raised standards rather than lowered them. (If that seems counter-intuitive: before the change, there wasn't much incentive to put much effort into courses you were struggling with, since you'd be unlikely to get many marks in the exams anyhow. Now you can get a reasonably safe 2:2 by putting the work in, even if you're not able to deal with the cut and thrust of the full-on Tripos questions).

    Hard to say. The content in A-levels has reduced (apparently), so this results in more of it being taught in first year uni. I did A-levels shortly after they became modular, and on applying to unis for Maths a few years later was told I would be bored in the first year due to this. That does not necessarily mean the end point is different.
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