Loads of exams have passed (well more like 5 to be honest), but some of the worst ones are over at least. I also have a 10/11 day break to revise, which will be useful, but hopefully I will get more done than just revision…

It also strikes me how boring and monotonous exam papers can be… Quoting directly from a Statistics 1 paper (yes, I know statistics is boring):-

Every day, George attempts the quiz in a national newspaper. The quiz always consists of 7 questions. In the first 25 days of January, the number of questions George answers correctly each day are summarised in the table below.

What a boring person this George is… doing the same quiz every day, he must have such a boring life to attempt doing something along these lines… The exam board could be at least a little bit MORE adventurous, for example:-

During 25 days over the Christmas period, Dr Foster was working in the ER of the general hospital in Ipswitch. The number of patients that died in his care over this period are summarised in the table below.

That immediately make the question seem that little bit more interesting. The normal exam candidate may even think “Whoa there, this is a bit risque…” and so they would be more likely to pay attention for this question and possibly do better. Which is a good thing, right?

Another nasty thing that these examiners do to the papers just to catch you out and make you look like a stupid idiot to the marker is in the wording of the question. For example:-

A nutritionist claims that boys who have been fed on a special organic diet will have a larger mean head circumference than other boys. A random sample of ten 3-year old boys who have been fed on this organic diet is selected. It is found that their mean head circumference is 50.45cm.

And this continues on to ask to carry out a hypothesis test… Aside from the examiners being pushed to use interesting things in the exams, this question is also very annoying when you read through it and try to do it in a hurry. When and if you read through it quickly, the number of the sample that immediately pops out from the text is 3. As it written as 3 as opposed to three, making it easier to spot. When in fact the number that you are looking for is ten, written as ten, not 10 which is more obvious. Well you could say that I’m just being perdantic and not reading the question properly or carefully enough, but when you’re doing this kinda stuff, you’re in a hurry and don’t necessarily have time… Also bear in mind that this is a Statistics exam, part of maths, not a reading exam. So you shouldn’t have to specifically read the question in depth to understand it and be able to solve the problem. Anyway, its over now, so no need to care about what has happened.

Thought I might just add that the best TV drama program(me) around at this time is House… Dr House’s (Hugh Laurie) sarcasm is just brilliant, although the storyline can be just a little repetitive at times, but it is getting better with series two, or should I write 2.

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