The UK’s exam bodies were again under scrutiny after an AS Level Media Studies exam paper featured an ‘impossible’ question requiring basic knowledge of the 7 times tables. Instead of the planned question ‘Discuss the need for media regulation,’ students were asked to solve the equation 7y = 63.
More than 100,000 teenagers took the not-as-good-as-an-A-Level, with many of them were expecting grades as high as D. Tarquin Forbes-Smyth, one of the students who took the paper, said he was traumatised by the experience.
‘I spent nearly 15 minutes puzzling over this question. If I could do basic maths, I wouldn’t be doing Media Studies would I? I didn’t even realise there was a ‘y’ times table.’
The examining board OCR were quick to defend the slip up. PR manager David Collins, himself a Media Studies graduate, told the press: ‘Whilst we accept the error isn’t acceptable, the issue isn’t as severe as it sounds. The question concerned only carried a maximum of 8 marks out of a total of 80.’
‘That’s less than 2%” of the mark’ he added after a few seconds, tongue lolling with concentration.