Layout over content

Only a couple of questions in the General paper provoked comment from Maureen Valbonesi, principal teacher of chemistry at Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow.

The style of the flow chart in question 10 was more akin to that seen in the Higher paper, and its introduction was lengthier than she expected for that level and might have put some candidates off.

She also thought the layout of question 11, rather than its chemistry content, might have misled some candidates through its focus on percentages.

The Credit paper was, as expected, harder and contained more of the problem-solving associated with Higher. question 13 was a full page - half requiring close reading - but was worth only one mark. Many pupils may have skim-read it and missed out on an easy mark, she suspects.

As in the General paper, her quibble was over the layout of the questions and the amount of reading. "They are testing chemistry, not English," she said.

Overall, there was less calculation in the Credit paper than expected, though a lot was packed into one question. Acids, alkalaes and salts did not figure as prominently as in some years, she added.

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