Diagrams of difficulty

1st June 2007 at 01:00
The Intermediate 2 biology paper was "slightly tricky" said Paul Rodger, principal teacher of pupil support at Balfron High. It wasn't a "complete nightmare", he says, but he does feel it was harder than the last couple of years.

The multiple choice section contained a good spread of questions although some were challenging. Last year's principal assessor's report highlighted candidates' difficulties with questions that required them to work out percentages - Mr Rodger picks up the same point, saying pupils tend to struggle when they have to find the relevant information to make the calculation.

Section B, the short answer part, presented pupils with a challenge in that it contained more questions than usual of the "explain" type. These questions - as opposed to "describe" or "state" - require candidates to say why something has happened, and some fail to do this. There were also questions which contained difficult diagrams. Question 5b was on the filtration of the urinary system, pictured, and it was difficult to work out where the two tubes were coming from, he says.

Mr Rodger feels the wording in question 9a, on genetic-cross and mono-hybrid cross, was confused. The extended answer part of the exam, section C, included a question on genetic engineering and natural selection - a topic pupils find difficult. Overall, however, the extended questions seemed "reasonable", he says.

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