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AQA Electronic Products Exam

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by ZanyInsany, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. ZanyInsany

    ZanyInsany New commenter

    What did you think? I thought this was a very difficult exam. I know my students will have found it difficult..... How will yours have faired?
  2. re

    re New commenter

    I too thought it was difficult, with some very searching questions e.g. question 8. My students will have struggled. Do we really need t know that the 10k resistor connecting pin 2 to positive on a 555 timer is a pull up resistor?
    I think boards generally have shot themselves in the foot with these exams - they will only be well answered by toppish candidates and therefore the numbers of entries will drop in this results driven age. I am switching to Product Design, as are lots of schols throughout the country.
    My only consolation is that the difficult exam will mean lower grade thresholds.
  3. I've got to say, I think that the exam was barking mad. Far too hard, especially when compared to the Resistant Materials exam that was far too easy. I'm going to find out how we teachers should go about giving feedback.

    Having said that, I don't think expecting knowledge of pull up resistors is unreasonable.
    Here's what I thought were the worst bits:
    Question 1- Badly explained, but above all, included a 15 mark section with no break down of marks.
    Question 4 - Use of a capacitor where the resistor should be. This will just confuse students. Bit of a trick question
    Question 5(d) - PIC question poorly explain / much less detail than usual
    Question 6 - Reverse calculation to find resistance of R1 in a monostable instead of finding the time delay.
    Question 8 - as mentioned, very searching! A lot of the questions were very open.
    The paper is meant to be single tier, but I don't see how it was accessible to candidates that would have previously sat the foundation paper!
    I have no problem with a hard paper, but have you compared this to the Resistant Materials paper? Its rediculous!
    I teach both Electronic Product and Resistant Materials. I have never seen an easier Resistant Materials paper, or a hard Electronic Products paper. How can they be the same level?
  4. To be fair to AQA there is a varation on the mark boundries for the various grades...
    EP - 91 out of 125 for Foundation June 2010 for a C, 99 on the ResMat paper. hopefully this means that they do look at the cohort as a whole and sclae the marks. I hope so because AQA'a Engineering exam was a bit 'off the wall' this year. Way too hard.

  5. I was gutted when I saw the paper. there was so much my students would know, but I knew they would not be able to decipher some of the cryptic questions. I for one will be emailing AQA to make them aware that the paper was poorly worded and constructed. Hopefully if enough people do the same they will look on the marks a little more sympathetically.
  6. nw5298

    nw5298 New commenter

    I totally agree with all that has been said. For Q4: for a generic buzzer you normally wouldnt have anything parallel with it. You sometimes might need a resistor in parallel if the buzzer is piezo and therefore represents a capacitive load, but none of the piezoo buzzers I jave come accross and used with the kids in school have ever needed this.

    Getting into driving capacitive loads isnt getting into degree level stuff - way way too hard. Pure electronics is easier - am thinking of swapping to that with Wjec
  7. nw5298

    nw5298 New commenter

    I dont htink the examiners appreciate the effect that exam questions like these have on the confidence of the kids.I enetered some years 10's for this exam as well 11's and although grade boundaries may change due to duff questions, it still leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and the kids feeling like they have underachieved and can't really do it - despite thier hours of revision.
    Am seriously annoyed about this and have contacted AQA as suggested.
  8. I agree - difficult. I had some upset students afterwards and did not know quite what to say to them. I only hope the grade boundaries reflect the difficulty.
  9. This seems to be the case every year with AQA Electronic Products. I would look at the Edexcel GCSE Electronic Products paper. It was really good this year. We do AQA at A-Level as Edexcel don't do Systems, but if they did I would go with Edexcel any day. The Spec defines exactly what the kids have to know in the exam and do in the coursework, and the mark scheme shows the marks allocation with detailed answers, rather than any answer will do, or best fit which is what AQA seem to like. The coursework is nicely layed out too and the assessment criteria is easy to follow. If you phone Edexcel they will send you a folder with all the documents you need. Website is good too with past papers etc. Good luck.
  10. sav5000

    sav5000 New commenter

    The new AQA GCSE Electronic products chief examiner is not closely involved in school level education, let alone a teacher! Go figure!
  11. mschongkong

    mschongkong New commenter

    This is worrying our school has switched to AQA for all D&T because of the Edexcel Food Tech. I teach electronics and thought the 2010 paper was really straight forward and easy for my students who used it for their Year 10 exams - lets hope that the next one (2012) is sorted and notes taken from your feedback this year. The Edexcel design project is much more ambiguous, and harder to control, though the marking scheme is better the previously.

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