After looking at what 2018 had offered and taught us, we should now consider what we need to look forward to. The 2017 and 2018 paper both showed students that there WILL be unseen questions coming out during A’levels. Unseen questions are basically questions that expect students to be able to respond on the spot, within the three hours. I also discussed in class with my JC1’2018 that one struggle students had this time round is algebra.
Let us start with the impact of the unseen questions. I expect a shift in schools exams with more weird and strange questions popping out. I know some schools that actually made an effort to teach test for convergence (despite it not being in the syllabus) after the 2017 paper. So expect the syllabus to now grow a bit on its own.
Personally, I feel that questions are never reused in A’levels. Novelty and surprises are what A’levels are capable of. Thus, I do not think there is a need to specifically teach a new concept simply because it is tested. It is after an application of the concept that is already taught.
Next, algebra is back to haunt students. In paper 2 there are a few questions that require students to have good fundamentals for algebra to survive the questions. These questions are not hard per se. Had the questions contain numbers instead of letters, students would have breezed through it. This goes to show that A’levels are going back to basics. This is a good call as many students are stuck in the drill and practice mentality. Such a move will throw them off the feet in exams and see their true abilities.
Harder, weirder and stranger questions are bound to appear a lot more. Questions that students have never seen before will appear in the exams, and simply completing your revision package diligently might not be enough as the syllabus gear towards testing the students’ core understanding.
In conclusion, I expect the exams to get harder and more conceptual. Better be ready and alert else you will be hit blinded. We will touch more on how students can prepare in the next post.