Archive for 1981

A-level Chemistry Examination (Paper 2) from 1981

Posted in Education with tags , , , on September 2, 2012 by telescoper

A few days ago I posted Paper 1 of the Chemistry A-level examination I took way back in 1981. Judging by the blog stats, that seemed to attract a bit of interest so I thought I’d follow it up with Paper 2 which, in contrast to the multiple-choice style of Paper 1, consists of longer questions and perhaps gives a better idea of whether anything has changed between then and now.

Anyway, as usual,  any comments from people who’ve done A-level Chemistry more recently would be very welcome through the Comments Box, e.g. is there anything  in this paper that you wouldn’t expect to see nowadays? Is it easier, harder, or about the same as current A-level Chemistry papers?

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A-level Chemistry Examination Paper, Vintage 1981

Posted in Education with tags , , , on August 29, 2012 by telescoper

I don’t know how many followers of this blog are interested in Chemistry, but I thought I’d continue my irregular series of postings of old examination papers with my Chemistry A-level. This particular Paper was Paper 1 of 2 (although I did also take the “special” Paper 3). As you can see Paper 1 was of multiple-choice format, with 40 questions to answer in 75 minutes, which seems a bit stiff! Looking over the exam just now I can’t believe that there was a time when I actually knew this stuff. Nowadays I can only really do the first few questions – because they’re really physics – and I don’t even remember what most of the words mean in the other questions!

Anyway, as usual,  any comments from people who’ve done A-level Chemistry more recently would be very welcome through the Comments Box, e.g. is there anything  in this paper that you wouldn’t expect to see nowadays? Is it easier, harder, or about the same as current A-level Chemistry papers?

Cambridge Entrance Examination – Physics (1981)

Posted in Biographical, Education with tags , , , on February 27, 2012 by telescoper

In response to a request to a while ago when I posted the Mathematics paper, here is the Physics paper I took as part of the Cambridge Entrance  Examinations way back in 1981.

I’ve decided to try out Qu. 13 on my third-year students doing Nuclear and Particle Physics this year just for fun. Other comments on the content and/or difficulty are welcome through the box below!

Cambridge Entrance Examination – Mathematics for Natural Sciences (1981)

Posted in Biographical, Education with tags , , , on February 7, 2012 by telescoper

I thought I’d take 5 minutes this lunchtime to add another item to the collection of old examination papers I’ve been posting, as someone asked me about this type of examination via a comment recently. This is the Mathematics paper I took way back in November 1981 for entry the following October to do Natural Sciences. I also took papers in Physics and Chemistry, as well as a General paper. Looking at this after a gap of over 30 years it looks pretty tough. One thing I should point out, though, is that the timing of the paper required us to come back after A-levels for an extra term (“the seventh term”)  at my school, the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle,  to form the “Third Year Sixth” who were all Oxbridge candidates. We were then intensively coached for the entrance examination. You will notice, for example, a couple of questions on this paper relating to group theory, which wasn’t on the A-level syllabus but which we were taught specifically for this examination. Some schools couldn’t offer this specialist teaching so pupils from them were significantly disadvantaged by this form of selection. As it happens, I answered both the (relatively easy) questions on group theory and got in to Cambridge…

Comments on the content and/or difficulty are welcome through the box below!

Advanced Level Mathematics Examination, Vintage 1981

Posted in Education with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by telescoper

It’s been a while since I posted any of my old examination papers, but I wanted to put this one up before term starts in earnest. In the following you can find both papers (Paper I and Paper 2) of the Advanced Level Mathematics Examination that I sat in 1981.

Each paper is divided into two Sections: A covers pure mathematics while B encompasses applied mathematics (i.e. mechanics) and statistics. Students were generally taught only one of the two parts of Section B and in my case it was the mechanics bit that I answered in the examination. Paper I contains slightly shorter questions than Paper 2 and more of them..

Note that slide rules were allowed, but calculators had crept in by then. In fact I used my wonderful HP32-E, complete with Reverse Polish Notation. I loved it, not least because nobody ever asked to borrow it as they didn’t understand how it worked…

I also did Further Mathematics, and will post those papers in due course, but in the meantime I stress that this is just plain Mathematics.

If it looks a bit small you can use the viewer to zoom in.

I’ll be interested in comments from anyone who sat A-Level Mathematics more recently than 1981. Do you think these papers are harder than the ones you took? Is the subject matter significantly different?

An A-level Physics Examination Paper, Vintage 1981

Posted in Education with tags , , , on September 1, 2011 by telescoper

At the risk of becoming one of the Great Bores of the Day on the subject of past examinations I thought I’d follow up  my old O-level Physics paper  with a Physics A-level examination paper to see what people think about it. It might add to the discussion over on another blog I read too.

I took this particular examination myself in 1981. Can it really be 30 years ago? Agh. Paper 1 comprised a collection of short questions of multiple-choice type from which I’ve already posted one example on this blog.  This one is Paper 2 and, as you’ll see, it consists of longer questions with a freer format.

One comment I’ll make is that Question 5 is remarkably similar to a coursework questions we have been using here in the School of Physics & Astronomy at Cardiff University in our First year Physics module on Electricity and Magnetism.

Any other comments from people who’ve done A-levels more recently would be very welcome through the Comments Box, e.g. is there anything  in this paper that you wouldn’t expect to see nowadays? Is it easier, harder, or about the same as current A-level physics papers?