Facebook protest over AQA English exam
20 Jun 2010
<Please see the comments which have been posted in response to this, in particular the well-argued case made Sian, which includes further details of the extracts in the exam paper>.
584 students have now joined a Facebook campaign to protest against the nature of their A-level English Literature examination.
The students are angry about the AQA exam (LITA3: Reading for Meaning - Love Through the Ages) which took place on 15th June this year.
They have complained that the extracts they were required to read were simply too long to be analysed properly during the time available.
Student Bianca Khatri said "AQA decided to give us 4 extracts that were each at least 1 page long - students ultimately had 30 minutes reading time over the whole paper, which meant students realistically had 7/8 minutes per extract to analyse each text and look for language devices".
She added "this meant with the inadequate reading time, students had to leave out crucial information from each extract in order to complete the exam on time".
Another student, Surina Bawa, said "I found this examination to be an extremely unfair way to test the candidates of A level English literature students".
AQA's website says candidates taking the 2.5 hour paper should answer two questions, taking 30 minutes "to read, think and plan" per question and 45 minutes for writing each answer.
A specimen paper on AQA's website gives four extracts, comprising two short sonnets, an extract from Romeo & Juliet and a passage form Hardy's novel, The Woodlanders. These extracts amounted to about three pages of text.
As the 15th June exam paper is not available, it is impossible for me to judge whether the students have a case. However 560 does seem a large number of candidates to have been sufficiently upset to complain to the Facebook page.
The students are hoping that AQA will give them a response.
The Facebook page is at: www.facebook.com/group.php