VCAA has added sample exam questions for Foundation Mathematics and General Mathematics. I won’t be looking at these unless something super-crazy is flagged.
VCAA has updated their subject pages and exam pages with sample exam questions and various resources. Ignoring junk such as “employability skills”, here are the new materials:
Formula Sheet (02/02/23)
Formula Sheet (02/02/23)
Sample Learning Activities (scroll down)
Pseudocode (link updated)
Sample Assessment Tasks (scroll down a long, long way)
UPDATE (09/04/23): Methods Exam Sample Questions
We only took a quick look at the Methods sample questions, as they do not seem disastrous in the manner of the Specialist questions. So, just two quick comments. First, the writing is consistently execrable: every literary offence is there, in spades. Secondly, the questions on pseudocode are the ugliest, stupidest, most pointless Godforsaken bullshit I’ve ever seen. The people who proposed this madness, the people who signed off on it, everybody even remotely involved, should hang their tiny little brainless heads in shame.
UPDATE (16/02/23): Specialist Exam 1 Sample Questions
It’s a bit of a mess to update all this, since the materials overlap, our various posts overlap, and the flaws in the questions can be distinct from the flaws in the presented, webinar solutions. But we’ll do what we can, beginning with the Specialist Exam 1 Sample questions.
Our comments here will tend to be brief. As appropriate, we’ll handball to the general webinar posts, here and here, and the specific Witches, here and here and here and here. See also, in general, the guide to VCAA’s lesser literary offenses.
Q3. An ok induction proof question. The main thing the question proves is that Specialist Mathematics really really sucks. As noted here, there are much better approaches to the question, which should be standard in such a subject.
Q5. A better, but not good, proof by contradiction question. See here.
The old Q6. We’ll bet London to a brick that the original draft contained a question requiring students to prove loge5 is irrational. See here.
The new Q6. A nasty and flawed question: rotated curves do not form solids. See here.
Q7. The same as the previous question, but worse: fatally ambiguous. See here.
Q8. A very badly worded but intrinsically fine surfaces of revolution question, notably lacking the flaws of the previous two questions. This is good, but may indicate a fundamental misunderstanding by VCAA: see here.
Q9. Exact same remarks as for the previous question.
Q11. A standard and fine integration by parts question.
Q12. A standard planes question, with poor language: students are finding an equation of the plane, not the equation of the plane; the vectors don’t lie in the plane, they are parallel to the plane; it is a little weird to talk about a plane passing through points rather than containing them.
Q13. Another standard planes and lines question, again fine, again with clumsy language: “given by” is clumsy, and “with equation” is to be preferred. A slight difference is that Q12 asks for “the Cartesian equation”, and Q13(a) simply asks for “the equation”. One would normally assume that’s fine, but the formula sheet also includes the formula for a “vector equation of a plane” (meaning a parametrised equation, and contradicting the webinar‘s use of the phrase).
Q14. Same comment: an ok lines and planes question, with slightly clumsy language.
Q15. Same comment.
Q16. A routine vector motion question. Fine.
Q17. A routine planes question: “Given that the angle … is θ” should be “Let the angle … be θ”.
Q18. A routine vectors question. The form c√d for the answer is not unique. (No one cares, but we’ll keep pointing it out. Because it is wrong.)
Q19. A nice area of parallelogram question: “vertices at” should be “vertices”.
UPDATE (01/03/23): Specialist Exam 2 Sample Questions
The questions are here. In general, the questions are badly written but less problematic than the Exam 1 questions, with the exception of MCQ1 and MCQ 2, which have already been hammered, here and here. Other than those, the standout issues/queries are MCQ 7, and the “distance” questions.
MCQ 7 smells new, and we can see no announcement of this stuff, but we can’t be bothered figuring it out.
As for the “distance” questions, are these examinable? (MCQ6, 3(d)(i), 4(a), 4(c), 5(b)(iii), 5(b)(iv).) We could find nothing in the study design (Word, idiots) indicating so, there is no hint of the material on the formula sheet, and the vector webinar contains no such material. Of the textbooks, Cambridge and Jacaranda cover the material (weirdly and poorly), but we could find nothing in Nelson. There are a number of ways to do this distance stuff, some better, some worse and some a matter of taste. VCAA is a box of chocolates.
Also, the standard term in the context of lines and planes is “distance”, not “shortest distance”. Notably, VCAA appears to use different language for the distance from a line/plane to a line/plane, and the distance from a point to a line/plane: the former they refer to as “shortest distance”, and the latter as “distance”. That’s a pointless and pretty nutty distinction to make.
MCQ1. Straight-out wrong: the statement is not an implication and thus has no contrapositive. See here.
MCQ2. Obscene, and wrong. They fail to follow their own conventions. See here.
MCQ3. Very badly worded, but the question is fine.
MCQ4. “the equation of the line” should be “an equation for the line”, but the question is fine.
MCQ5. “an equation”, not “the equation”, but the question is fine.
MCQ6. The question, asking for the “shortest distance” between two parallel planes, is intrinsically fine, as long as it is examinable.
MCQ7. It’s stats crap. We don’t do stats crap. (This smells like undeclared New Stats Crap, rather than Old Stats Crap, but we don’t do stats crap, new or old.)
Q1. A mostly ok question, but the language is clumsy and absurd: in (a), a set is not the same as an equation; in (b) a set is not the same as a graph; in (c), the region is given by, not “defined by” what follows; in (e), a set contains two roots, it does not “provide” the roots. Part (d) is nasty, and effectively CAS crap: one requires the arguments of the points where A and B intersect, and it is not easy to find these by hand.
Q2. A tedious and unimaginative but ok logistic equation question.
Q3. An ok planes question. The plane is given by the equations, not “described by”. For (d), one asks again whether “shortest distance” is in the curriculum. Part (d)(ii) is not difficult if looked at correctly, but coming out of nowhere it is too tricky.
Q4. The questions are intrinsically fine. For (a) and (c), once again, the question is whether “shortest distance” is in the curriculum. The wording for (b) is insanely bad, one of the stupidest sentences of all time. The wording for (c) is better, only reaching the level of “really bad”.
Q5. The questions are ok. The lack of punctuation in (a) is really weird. In (a)(ii) and (b), it is a Cartesian equation, not “the Cartesian equation”, ditto (b)(ii) for “the vector equation”. Yet again, for (b)(iii) and (b)(iv), one has to ask whether “distance” is examinable.
Q6. A question involving a sparrow that periodically whacks into the ground without slowing down. Thank God we have VCAA to teach us about the real world. Other than that, the question is appallingly worded and boring, but is ok.