A British State-directed Chemistry paper for intelligent 16-year-olds

David Davis

Here’s the chemistry. It’s called CHY1A (Higher).


And here’s the “mark scheme”:-


I’ll leave you all in suspense for a couple of hours about the physics.

If you go here, then you  _might be able to_ hack past the “secure download” username/password thingies, to get at “Edexcel” papers too. They won’t let you download these unless you are a British State Apparatchik teacher in a scumbag-school with a password. You see, the State does not want you to help your child do well, if your are a mere parent, or even if you are the independent child, looking for yourself.

Tony, can you get onto this one please, and crakc it maybe?

UPDATE2:- It’s no use merely moaning and whingeing as I am doing here. Even by bringing this more to people’s attention, we can change little in a hurry. The State has not only taken Nazi ownership of our children, but has also intellectually cast them adrift at the same time, and it’s all probably deliberate.

The remedy is to live with them in a houseful of books, use the said books liberally in front of them while making sure that these are text books about real stuff and not pretentiously awful Booker-novels, and discuss with them scientific discoveries and the history of same at mealtimes.

UPDATE1:- From Driver Rob, this is fine stuff and I agree totally. I also use “old” O-level (remember that?) text books to support A2-students of 18 in maths, and “old” GCSE science ones from the 80s and the pre-Blair-90s in general, to cover random GcSE/AS/A2 work from the ages of 15-19.


  1. I agree. Try teaching it: it’s one reason why many schools can’t actually get science teachers to come in.

    One unguarded remark by an exam board officer (who must remain nameless) a year or so ago, is that the “New GCSE Science” syllabus has been designed to be able …. wait for it …..

    ….. “to be delivered by teachers whose primary specialisation is not in the sciences”.

    Make of that what you will.

  2. I’ve just had a crafty pop at it, although with only 30 minutes I doubt I would have finished it all.

    Q1: 1 B
    2 A
    3 C
    4 D

    Q2: 1 D
    2 B
    3 A
    4 C

    Q3: 1 C
    2 B
    3 D
    4 A

    Just for fun. The answering system seems a bit perplexing to me, it seems like a specialised skill in itself. I mean, how old are those who take this, around 16 isn’t it?

  3. Edexcel must have changed something. I went right in and downloaded the science definitions. Amazingly,the pdf states that students will never have to write the definitions in any written paper or any internal task.

  4. In actual fact, and with all honesty, the answrs there for question 3 are actually for question 4. Honest Sir! 🙂

    That’s what you get for doodling in your answer book.

  5. I do teach this stuff and it is uninspiring fair. We have to have lessons on how to fill in the answer grids because many of the children screw up on them – no surprises there.

    These are not particularly difficult tests but you should see some of the marks they get.

  6. I think I would have had trouble learning this stuff as a kid. Any reasonably intelligent child, sitting in a “physics” lesson learning that televisions are evil is going to know they’re being fed patronising bullshit. This isn’t education, it’s pure indoctrination, and I’ve little doubt that if I’d been exposed to it, I would have just switched off and been either entirely apathetic or disruptive. How the feck can we expect children to have any interest in learning, when what is presented as learning is bullshit like this?

  7. Actually schools are interested in education any longer. Its all teaching and learning – mostly learning. Children are pretty much rote taught to fit the exams and it doesn’t matter whether what they are learning for the exams is right or wrong so long as it fits the specification. Modern English “education” closes down children’s inquisitiveness about Christmas of year 7.

  8. This paper effectively makes chemistry teachers redundant. There is NO real chemistry being taught here. My O level paper contained a lot of questions about empircal formulae, the periodic table, the various laws (Boyle’s, Avogadro’s etc) valency, molar solutions etc. etc. etc. there’s nothing like that in the paper I’ve just read. It’s a joke. A really bad one. At OUR kids expense. At our future’s expense. The idiots who created this situation need putting against a wall!

  9. With the exception of a couple of questions using modern terms that have recently been invented, I’ve just gone through the Biology and Chemistry Higher Tests and not found a single question I could answer quite easily. It’s pathetic! How do these kids not just get ‘A’s across the board?

    I’d really like to see the maths ones…

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