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Impossible Exam Question

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Impossible Exam Question

Post by rob_of_the_robots on Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:38 am

Did you take this paper Dambuster?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13627415

An "unfortunate error" meant maths students were set a question that was impossible to answer in an AS-level exam.

Just under 6,800 teenagers took the paper - set by the OCR exam body - last Thursday.

OCR has apologised, saying it will make sure candidates are not disadvantaged by the mistake.

But some students writing on social networking sites have been calling for the test to be re-run.

The error was in an exam paper taken in 335 schools and other exam centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The question carried eight marks out of 72 being awarded for the paper.

Candidate Thomas Fay, who contacted the BBC News website, said he had been distressed to find a question that appeared "impossible".

"This threw me in the exam and many people found this to cause much added stress in the exam," he added.

"Many people are worried that the mistake made by the examining board will severely affect the mark and grade they achieve in the paper. For many this was a final exam and will most likely influence final grades and university admission."

Dozens of other students have messaged the BBC News website to voice their anger and fears about their grades.

Aron De Vos, 17, from St Albans, said: "I spent a good 15 minutes trying to answer that question. I was getting very frustrated about why I couldn't get the answer.

"I want to retake that exam. I can't believe how much time was wasted on a question where we were only able to get zero marks."

OCR has said it deeply regrets the "unfortunate error" and says it has a range of procedures in place to ensure candidates are not disadvantaged.

A spokeswoman said: "We very much regret that there was a mistake... and that our quality assurance procedures failed to identify this error.

"Because we have been alerted to this so early, we are able to take this error into account when marking the paper. We will also take it into account when setting the grade boundaries. We have sent a letter to all schools and colleges explaining in more detail what we shall do.

"We do apologise again that this has happened."

The exam body says it is not going to discount the question from the marking, because that might disadvantage candidates who spent a lot of time trying to answer it.

Students will be awarded points for their attempts to work out the question and measures are also in place which are designed to recognise that other candidates may have discovered the error quickly, OCR says.

OCR released full details of the error - on paper "Decision Mathematics 1" - as follows:

The question as printed asked candidates to verify the shortest route, for two given conditions, giving values of 32.4 + 2x km and 34.2 + x km. These values should have been 34.3 + 2x km and 36.1 + x km respectively. The error was not to have included twice the journey between A and B (0.9 km) and the journey between F and G (1.0 km) in the values given.


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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by RTM08 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:48 am

Decision Mathematics is Further Maths, so neither I or RD took it.

I wanted to though Sad


Last edited by RTM08 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by Roverdamus on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:33 am

No, I didn't take it. Wrong exam board and I didn't do Decision Maths (whatever the fuck that is). I'd have needed more than one question to be impossible for me to do well, though. Laughing
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by rob_of_the_robots on Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:14 pm

Decision Maths is not Further Maths, it's probably the easiest module in A-level maths. I did it, so it must be A2 if you haven't done it, maybe Edexcel or AQA or whichever exam board I had do it in A2 instead.

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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by RTM08 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:20 pm

rob_of_the_robots wrote:Decision Maths is not Further Maths, it's probably the easiest module in A-level maths. I did it, so it must be A2 if you haven't done it, maybe Edexcel or AQA or whichever exam board I had do it in A2 instead.

Nope, for our MEI(OCR) board Decision Maths is Further Maths. Our A-Level Maths consists of Core 1, Core 2, Core 3, Core 4, Stats 1 and Mechanics 1 (Over the 2 years)
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by rob_of_the_robots on Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:26 pm

We did Core 1, 2, 3 and 4, Stats 1 and Decision 1. I don't know why decision maths would be further maths, it's a piece of piss.

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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by RTM08 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:30 pm

rob_of_the_robots wrote:We did Core 1, 2, 3 and 4, Stats 1 and Decision 1. I don't know why decision maths would be further maths, it's a piece of piss.

I know that D1 & D2 are further maths, as are M2 & S2 (although they can be changed if they want to) and FP1 & 2 (not sure what they are though)
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by rob_of_the_robots on Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:33 pm

D1 was about sorting a list of numbers into the right order using different methods, finding the shortest route between towns, fitting different sized cars into a ferry, stuff like that.

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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by RTM08 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:42 pm

Wow, it sounds as though even RD could do that Whistle
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by rob_of_the_robots on Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:50 pm

I bet even GR could do it if he learnt the algorithms.

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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by Roverdamus on Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:37 pm

RTM08 wrote:Wow, it sounds as though even RD could do that Whistle

No, not a chance.

I've done C1, C2 and S1. That'll be it because I'm dropping it. Very Happy
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by glosterrover on Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:35 pm

Why are you so mean rob???? Rolling Eyes
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by Rover the Sea on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:32 pm

glosterrover wrote:Why are you so mean rob???? Rolling Eyes

...as in average, sticking with the Maths theme?

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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by glosterrover on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:33 pm

Should have seen that coming Rolling Eyes
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by StLedge on Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:37 pm

Wasn't hard to work out
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by glosterrover on Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:38 pm

Yeah but i'm thick
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by Rover the Sea on Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:07 pm

No need to be NEGATIVE though!

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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by super_keith_andrews on Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:16 pm

Oh dear god make it stop!
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by Willy on Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:04 am

super_keith_andrews wrote:Oh dear god make it stop!

lol!
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by rob_of_the_robots on Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:54 am

glosterrover wrote:Why are you so mean rob???? Rolling Eyes

I'm sorry GR. I apologise. Lub

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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by StLedge on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:29 pm

super_keith_andrews wrote:Oh dear god make it stop!

Well that sums it all up.
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by glosterrover on Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:15 pm

You're forgiven roberto Smile
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by super_keith_andrews on Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:40 pm

The latest unanswerable question was in a business studies paper set by the AQA exam board.


That's why neither RD nor RTM would have done that test.
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Re: Impossible Exam Question

Post by StLedge on Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:33 am

I think the original unanswerable question originated on Mersyside, when a man was quoted as asking 'Who's the Daddy'
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