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AQA GCSE Music Listening Exam

Discussion in 'Music' started by Emble09, May 17, 2011.

  1. What did people think? I had a peek in whilst they were doing it and it seemed like there were some tricky questions [​IMG]
  2. I agree! .... some really awkward questions - seem to be much more difficult than last year. Certainly there were odd questions designed to catch students out ie 4c (easy melodic line but how many would include the F# and G#?). Also the Wagner Q10 with its identification of the 2nd phrase`s key could pose problems. (One of the choices - tonic major- is not even in the syllabus.) Think the Indian music question threw a couple of our students ...the majority of the key terms they had to choose from were from the western tradition and so when they heard the music it took them by surprise. I am looking forward to seeing the range of credit worthy answers for the longer style questions. Have to say I do really miss the old Film Music Q3!!
  3. Compared to the given sample paper and last years paper I felt this paper was much harder. Some of the questions were badly worded and I felt that Q10, particularly the modulation question was far too advanced for this level.
    The chord recognition task was also not in keeping with past examples - last year they just had to tick the changes, which is the way in which I had prepared them so mine would have been able to deal with that question. In other similar questions they have been given the chords to choose from and then place them in the boxes.
    Not at all happy with this paper. I remember feeling this way with the old spec paper at times.

  4. Both have you have mentioned questions that I thought were tough which makes me feel a bit better! I agree that the chord one was really unfair based on the precedent that we thought had been set by last year and the specimin.
    With any luck the marks will be lowish nationally so mine will be in with a fair chance of not all getting dreadful grades. I feel bad for them!
  5. pauljoecoe

    pauljoecoe New commenter

    Some of you have mentioned last years paper.Was this the old spec paper? We are new to AQA so this is our first view of the new spec paper.
    There wasn't a new spec paper last year was there? If there was i need to get hold of one.
  6. pauljoecoe

    pauljoecoe New commenter

    I see that there is a 2010 paper on the website. did some of you do the course in 1 year????
    I presume AQA will supply me with a CD for it?
  7. HebdenH

    HebdenH New commenter

    RE the 2010 paper, as far as I am aware, the new specification was pilotted by a certain number of schools last year and this paper would've been the one that they sat. Get in touch with AQA and they will send you a CD! Hope this helped.

    In regards to the rest of the thread I agree with everyone?s comments. I too think this was an overly tough paper.
    A music listening paper should cater for all students; there should be a balance between ?bread and butter? questions, which allow pupils to demonstrate basic knowledge, and more sophisticated questions, like the aural dictation. I think this paper was far too weighted in the latter area.

    I think teachers have grounds for complaint in regards to Question 10. As well as what has been already mentioned regard ing the chord progression and the modulation, I thought there was too mush of the vaguer style questioning where students have to comment on rhythm/timbre/melody etc. for rather a lot of marks. After looking at the specimen and previous year's papers I prepped my class for the long written answer question (as in the last question), but I think it takes a lot of skill to answer this well: it?s very hard to communicate what you can hear in written form when you are given such broad boundaries. And yet question 8 required this as well! This tricky style of questioning amounts to 13 marks ? 16% of the overall paper! Booooooo AQA!!!

    I wonder if the AQA exam paper writing team (or person) has gotten their knickers in a twist with the current government's attitude to music in schools; watch out everybody! They'll be making us submit hand written scores on manuscript paper and giving the kids only one take to get their performances right! :-O The pupils of mine that I'm worried about after today are my C/D borderlines; they ought to get a C and deserve it, but came out of that exam looking very baffled - I think some of those confusing questions really knocked them sideways and put them off. Not every pupil gets private £30 lessons and theory tuition *shakes fist*!

    Hope the grade boundaries go low!


    PS can anyone tell me why this forum never recognises my editing and just puts my post in one big block of text? What am I doing wrong?
  8. Can I suggest we all try and make a complaint to AQA? I am going to speak with our exams officer about how to go about it tomorrow.
  9. gliss

    gliss New commenter

    I totally agree with what has been pointed out so far, I am also concerned about the quality of the CD. Q 1 - I have listened to this extract on my computer with head phones and I can hardly hear the opening instrument
    Q 5c - name one ww inst and one brass - I assume it is a sax but I can't really hear this - is it me? again due to the CD quality can you really hear the bass line in Q 7c? very poor example
    Q 10d - a step too far
    Q 11 c -this would have stumped many of mine
    IMO - I am now going to look at an alternative to AQA - A level AQA has been a nightmare and now the GCSE is a farce, back to OCR me thinks. Heaven help my C/D pupils, and please tell me why are we doing this to music students, at this level it is having a big influence on how many students sign up to music - I am looking at the pupils who have opted for GCSE next year and I am worried for their sanity and mine!
  10. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I can't help reflecting that when the new GCSE Music specs came out, quite a few people announced that they would change to AQA because their students wouldn't be able to cope with set works.
    Now the listening paper has been examined, the Edexcel folk seem well pleased with theirs, while the AQA folk seem unhappy.
    I'm not claiming any great cleverness (only many years of experience!) but I warned at the time that set works are often a better option, because the students are dealing with familiar music. This is particularly the case in dictation questions, where Edexcel's questions are only on rhythms, keys, chords and melodies from the specific music that has been studied over the course.
    Hopefully, the greater difficulty of the AQA approach will be reflected in their grading.
  11. gliss

    gliss New commenter

    whilst I'm on a rant.........I am also prepared that AQA slaughter my students on composition because under the new AOS I feel that a great deal of creativity has been lost. Booking into the priory!
  12. i the t

    i the t New commenter

    my lot thought it was very difficult,

    but i haven't seen it yet as they wouldn't let me in the exam and wouldn't give me the paper to look at either..

  13. I'm relieved to see everyone is thinking the same thing. I absolutely agree that the questions seemed to be aimed at those pupils who are aiming for the top marks. Like others on this thread, I am really concerned about my D/C borderline pupils, who have worked really hard but found the exam tough. As for changing exam board, I'm reluctant to put the dept through even more change and uncertainty. I know that when I analysed the new specifications I genuinely felt that AQA was more in tune with the needs of our students, the majority of whom love music, but have had no formal music lessons outside classroom music. I think I will wait until the results and look at the exams analysis before I make any decisions.

    Either way, the focus now moves onto year 10s. Enjoy those free Year 11 periods everyone...
  14. I am just about to listen to it now. Some of my pupils came to say they hadn't found it too terrifying but others just looked shell-shocked.
  15. AQA marking criteria in general has shifted dramatically. 4 music teachers did a standardisation exercise using AQA course materials for Units 3 and 4 led by someone who had attended the course. Usually I can get into the swing of the mentality by piece 3. By piece 6 the 4 of us were still arguing... Apparently it was the same on the course with the facilitator really earning his money! Shifting sands do not make for clarity or confident teacher assessment... We think that in this new spec our weaker candidates are going to be at least a grade lower than candidates of similar ability profile who took the old spec last year.
  16. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Surely the point of the chief examiners' award meeting is to set the grade boundaries so that that doesn't happen? As I understand it, they look at previous years' scripts to ensure that someone who got, say, an A last year would get an A this year, and then they set the mark boundaries accordingly.
  17. dropje

    dropje New commenter

    Not sure how my measly 6 students will get on. They came out panicked. I am starting this with yr10 now. Pain stakingly going through every question...
    As for the rest of the coursework...My scores were screen shots and annotiations were shocking. The trouble is we did it as an additional extra and I will not do that again. A complete headache. However, I will get my head round AQA because Edexcel and OCR I do not like at all. I do miss the topics. And I was under the impression that the listening would also be based around the strand. Obviously not. Just UNIT 2 then.
  18. I have to say that I am a little concerned at the way AQA have started heading; I also wonder what made me question moving to BTEC!
    The big deal for me is the amount of time the controlled assignments have taken out of my teaching this year - admittedly I should have seen it coming in some ways but with other subjects taking so much time out of lessons plus the odd absence here and there most students have had 54 or 55 lessons disrupted with Units 2 and 4 and at 2 lessons per week thats almost a full year!
    So much of my prep for the listening paper was left to students outside of lessons and, as usual, only one turned up regularly for the 'extra' sessions!
    BTEC here I come and with less and less regret!

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