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Images and interiors

The new slimmed-down version of the Higher paper met with the approval of Terry Quinn, who teaches art and design at James Young High in Livingston.

Previously, the format of the paper had been too complex in the layout of questions, but the new style was "quite an improvement", he said.

The first section concentrates on paintings and sculpture and asks candidates to give their reaction to one of the images and then comment on two related pieces of art. Mr Quinn particularly liked one of the images this year - Gustav Klimt's famous 1907 portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, wearing a highly patterned gold leaf dress (below).

Last year's paper had caused problems, focusing as it did on a Damien Hirst work of a chemist shop, which was so realistic that pupils thought it was a design question and answered it inappropriately.

This year, the design focused on the interior of the Scottish Parliament's debating chamber. "I thought it was quite amazing that they chose it, but slightly difficult in terms of writing about it," he said.

The Intermediate 2 exam uses the same images but poses simplified questions. "I think there may be an argument for a different approach - something not quite as sophisticated. Some of the pupils sitting Intermediate 2 would find some of the images a little complex and would have found evaluating the interior design of the Scottish Parliament fairly difficult," he said.

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