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Pupils normally fall down on percentages and the questions which ask them to draw two conclusions (generally, they find only one), says Jim Murray, science teacher at Earnock High in Hamilton.

Overall, he feels all three papers in the Standard grade science exam were well balanced and covered the syllabus well. Question 9 in the Foundation paper - quite a long question - contained clearer language than similar questions in the past, an important factor for pupils whose language skills can be weak.

The General paper was fair, although pupils may have struggled with percentage calculations and the question awarding two marks for two conclusions.

Question 20 in the Credit paper contained a lot of information for the pupils to wade through before they could find the final answer, while some may have found question 26, the double line graph, a challenge.

Mr Murray detects a trend among the exam setters to make the problem-solving questions more difficult, because pupils are getting better at it (many find knowledge-based questions harder, particularly in end of year exams).

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