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Dicing with the Wall of Death

This exam is now so well established that the standards applied year by year are consistent, believes Larry Flanagan, principal teacher of English at Hillhead High in Glasgow.

The Credit reading paper, however, was let down by a rather uninspiring passage about a tomb in Orkney, Maes Howe. He detects a shift in the style of the language questions towards a greater emphasis on grammar, closer to the structure of the Intermediate 2 paper. The General paper, on the other hand, featured a passage about the motorcycle Wall of Death, which he thinks pupils would have found interesting and quite accessible. However, as 20 per cent of the questions were language-based rather than comprehension, some candidates might have struggled.

Pupils sitting the Foundation paper would have found its passage about a retired greyhound interesting. The downside of that paper, however, was that more than half the questions were "20 questions" - in other words, you either got full marks or nothing. By Mr Flanagan's calculations, there were 14 "20 questions" in the Credit paper, 10 in the General, and 26 in the Foundation paper.

Overall, the range of questions in the writing paper was "quite good", he says.

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