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Physics examination

I am writing with reference to Joseph Rapa’s letter (July 4) on the Advanced Matriculation physics examination of April 28, in which he mentioned 30 points, which he referred to as mistakes. The examination panel has provided detailed replies to all these points but only a brief answer will be presented here.

First of all, it must be noted that more than half of the points raised by the correspondent are in the form of questions. These are certainly not mistakes and can be answered by simply reading the syllabus, applying some knowledge of the subject, or re-reading the questions. Examples of such questions include: “What was the answerto family of particles?”, “Is R needed?”, “Why lay steel tracks in cold weather?” and “Are the dimensions for the room or for the window?”

Likewise, most of the other points are incorrect or irrelevant statements and questionable opinions of the correspondent. Examples include: “The air track diagram is inclined the wrong way”, “Using different equations give different answers” and “The question is vague”.

There is one valid point that refers to the unit used for the spring constant, which should be N/m rather than Nm, as printed. This is clearly a typing error, which did not affect the candidates’ performance in the examination. Indeed, none of the candidates complained about any of the points raised by the correspondent during or after the examination.

Furthermore, now that the marks from the three examination papers have been compiled, it is clear that the candidates’ performance in this year’s examination is comparable to that of the previous years.

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