HKDSE 2019: Physics exam featured new question formats not used in recent past papers

HKDSE 2019: Physics exam featured new question formats not used in recent past papers

Tutors found the paper easy, but students are unhappy with the new question formatting

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Students had mixed opinions about this year’s HKDSE Physics exam.
Photo: Shutterstock

Students had mixed opinions about this year’s HKDSE Physics exam, while one tutor said it was generally easier than previous papers.

Students have been complaining on social media that the papers for this year’s core subjects, like maths and liberal studies, were harder than past papers, and featured questions that were formatted in ways they had never seen before. At least one student felt the same was true of the Physics paper.

“This year’s questions were not very direct, and I saw some tricks,” Tim Chan, from Munsang College, said of the Physics exam. He said the question formatting was different, and so plans to change his approach for the rest of his exams.

“I still have my Biology exam to go and I’m expecting it to be difficult. I think revising old A Level papers will be more useful than doing past HKDSE papers.”

Queen’s College student Bill Sham feels the opposite. “The paper was too easy. I’m very worried I might have missed something,” he said. “Some of the questions were very obvious.”

Meanwhile, Ken Yip from Buddhist Sin Tak College isn’t worried about the possibility of other subjects being more difficult. “If they’re tricky, they will be tricky for everyone, not just me.”

He found the exam to be of average difficulty. “The questions were mostly familiar; I just did the ones I knew and not the ones I didn’t.”

Dom Chan, a physics tutor at King’s Glory Educational Centre, gave the exam a 4 out of 10 difficulty rating. “There were relatively hard questions in the Paper 1 multiple-choice section, but it became easier after that.”

He found it unusual that the Paper 2 questions were direct and straightforward. “The question on astronomy was not very hard and was lifted from an old 2013 multiple-choice question.”

However, Chan has noticed that in recent years, exams have included fewer calculation questions which can be solved just with a calculator, and more logic and reasoning questions.

“The long passage questions gave fewer hints in the reading part this year. Students had to understand before they could answer,” he said. “It challenges students who just drill past papers.”


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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
HKDSE Physics exam trips up students

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