Today is A Level results day in England and Wales, and no doubt there are going to be lots of people who do spectacularly well and get all the grades they need to go to University. Only to drop out after a year and try to form a bike-share start-up . It's also bound to kickstart that same conversation we have every year, with some miserable old people complaining that exams are too easy these days and kids are lucky they get to do coursework and get extra time because of everyone's shared anxiety.
Like we've done with the GCSEs in the past, we decided to take a look at last year's Decision 1 A Level Maths paper from exam board AQA to see how well we'd do. I never did A Level maths, but I did get an A in the GCSE one. So this should be a cinch. Right?!
This looks like some sort of puzzle you'd find in a magazine for kids. What's it doing in an A Level Maths exam? Kids these days have no idea how good they have it. Back in my day we didn't get 'diagrams' with a full side of A4 to work out the answer. No I don't know what either answer is. What of it?
I looked up what a Shell sort algorithm is, and the definition just ended up looking like jibberish to me. Something to do with breaking it up into smaller lists and going on from there. I'm guessing the answer is something more complex than 1 3, 16, 17, 18, 22, 26, 43, and 45.
You know what? I give up. I'm not ashamed to say that I'd definitely fail this paper, and probably any other A Level Maths paper you handed over. Someone pass me the exam that asks about Hamlet, because I may actually be able to have a decent go of that. But right now I'm going to drink my coffee, nurse this new headache, and go hunting for iPhone rumours on autopilot.
If you think you can do better than me, take a stab at answering the questions in the comment below. Don't forget to show your working so I can go ahead and ignore everything you say.