Having marked the chemistry exam scripts incredibly quickly, the department has already announced its plans for future common tests. In order to make the exam fairer and more approachable, the department has decided to take a number of important measures.
Firstly, the last five questions on the OMS will automatically be shaded as the option ‘A’, saving students the precious few seconds it takes to fill something into those ovals and whisper a quick prayer (it is thought that the examination hall is the most religious place on earth). This idea emerged after intense statistical analysis revealed that the vast majority of students did not actually make it past question 20. The department was unclear as to whether ‘A’ actually would be an answer to any of the affected questions.
Another important step is a change in the format of Section C. The department has proposed a Neither/Nor option instead of the current Either/Or. The decision is entirely a result of the sheer number of scripts that had circled a question on the cover sheet, but failed to actually attempt it. This move is expected to relieve the burden of selecting a question and of finishing the paper, both of which students have cited as problematic areas for them, together with the rest of chemistry.
Since foolscap paper went largely untouched by most students, the department also has plans to issue graph paper instead. This comes after psychological analysis of the intense demoralising effect it has on candidates who sat stupefied, staring into space throughout the paper. The graph paper is also expected to ease the marking process: the complete lack of space will require students to present all answers graphically and probably incorrectly. An automated marking system involving a mechanised A4-sized red ink stamp is in the works to speed up marking of this section.
Finally, the department plans to shorten the duration of the paper while keeping the total number of marks the same. This comes after several chemistry examiners complained about students (albeit a very small number) completing the entire paper, extending marking times. Chemistry tutor Dr Shu Er Dai believes the cut in time will have a minimal impact on the vast majority of students “who don’t know what they’re doing anyway”. Dr Shu instead expects them to be heartened that the paper is a shorter, and therefore less torturous experience.
The changes are expected to take effect as early as the Y5 Promos this year.