My Thoughts: Maths Non-Calculator Exam – 2 March 2012


I know I normally come out of exams and write on here how hideous it’s been, and I’m sure that, to many readers, this is rather irritating. But today’s Maths GCSE Non-Calculator paper (a retake of the one I took in November) certainly wasn’t easy.

EXAMS IN PROGRESS: I had my GCSE Maths non-calculator retake exam today, and have my calculator exam on Monday. (020320121404)

Like in November, I walked out of the exam hall after this first of two GCSE Maths papers (the Calculator one is on Monday) disappointed at how much I’d been unable to answer. And, like in November, I can’t help feeling a sense of annoyance that – in all of the past papers I’d done prior to the exam (a sizeable number) – I’d managed to answer more of the final, harder questions.

One question that really did throw me was on surds – ridiculous, given my mother (a brilliant Maths teacher at another school in Maidenhead) had spent lots of time going through them, over and over again prior to the exam. Another question I found tricky was on rearranging a equation – again, another topic Mum had explained many times – and I had to leave it and move on. Luckily, though, I came back to it later and the answer was blindingly obvious. (I hope that writing that hasn’t cursed it!)

Sadly, I can’t say that that was the case with all of the other unanswered questions I returned to, and I estimate that I’ve dropped at least twenty marks on this paper alone.


The exam invigilator’s friendly dismissal as the clock ticked to 3:15pm (it was a 1hr 45m paper, starting at 1:30pm) was "Have a nice weekend… full of revision." But revising is going to be difficult to do, not just because I’m busy with a Berkshire Jamboree Unit reunion camp (I’m going for a few hours tomorrow) and a Taplow Youth Choir rehearsal and concert, but also because it’s hard to pull myself together to get on and revise, knowing if I lose just a few marks on Monday, I won’t get my target grade of an A* after all.

The one nice thing is that I’ve actually already got an A in GCSE Maths, and that’s something I know many people would be delighted with. Don’t get me wrong: I am really pleased to have that under my belt, but when the opportunity came to try and improve on it, I welcomed it with open arms. Therefore, it’s understandable that I hope I haven’t let that opportunity be wasted – I just hope I have a more positive blog come Monday afternoon.

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Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.

18 Responses

  1. ozzieosbourne says:

    what indian kid? was that on the paper? if so tell me question.

  2. Rory says:

    Good luck Andrew, I’m sure you’ll do fine!

    Scouting commitments are always a difficult one to squeeze, hope you have a good time.

    • Rory, I’m so sorry to have only just got around to replying to this. As I say, we’ll see how things go come results day, but I genuinely won’t really mind either way. Monday’s Caclulator paper was a lot better, but as I said in that post, I think it will average out the Non-Calculator paper to become an A-Grade again. All the best, my friend. AB

  3. Guy says:

    I thought it was reasonably hard, the questions talked about above included in that. Also, I know I have made a few silly mistakes, though that is probably only a few marks.

  4. Guy says:

    Do you think the grade boundaries will be low for this one?

    • I’ve genuinely no idea – and, to be honest, I often feel that it’s neither worth banking on low grade boundaries and being disappointed, or expecting high boundaries and working yourself up perhaps unnecessarily. I’m guessing you found the paper hard?!

  5. Jordan Turner says:

    i dont know, i got confused and cried……. it said prove he is wrong but he was right i think? (or the other way round i cant remember)

  6. Jordan Turner says:

    did u do that question about a=kx^2?, i found it hard, also did u do that one about that indian named person proving he was right or wrong?

  7. ozzieosbourne says:

    what about that ‘k’ question

  8. ozzieosbourne says:

    yh thats what i got

  9. ozzieosbourne says:

    what did you get for that vector question?