Archive for August, 2011

Results and explanation

August 26, 2011

I’ve had a healthy number of responses to my question from the previous post. In case you are reading this post without having read the previous one, I shall continue after the fold, because if you read on it will render you ineligible to participate in the little experiment I am conducting.

Which is easier?

August 22, 2011

Below are the questions from two mathematics papers. Each paper is divided into a section A and a section B. If you are prepared to look through the questions (maybe even doing some of them if you are sufficiently conscientious) and give me your judgment about which section A is easier and which section B is easier, I would be very interested and grateful. I shall refer to the two A sections as section A1 and section A2, and similarly for the two B sections.

A few words about this exercise.

1. I am deliberately saying as little as possible about the questions or my motivation for this post. I will write more once I have enough answers.

2. The order in which I have presented the two A sections was decided by the toss of a coin. The order in which I have presented the two B sections was decided by the independent toss of a (different) coin.

3. When it comes to your vote, I am interested in your degree of certainty rather than in the difference of difficulty. In particular, if you are absolutely certain that one section is very slightly harder than another, then you should indicate that you are certain and not worry that the difference is slight (just as I am absolutely certain that \sqrt{2}>1.4142).

4. Please remember to take account not just of the difficulty of individual questions but also of the number of marks available (which are shown in square brackets).

5. Obviously the difficulty of a question depends on how familiar you are with the general type of question to which it belongs. This shouldn’t create problems because the subject matter in the two papers is very similar. However, if it helps, a good working assumption is that people taking the papers have seen similar questions before.

6. If by any chance you recognise any of the sections, then please do not take part in the votes.

7. I am interested in independent judgments, so for the time being I will hide the results of the polls. I have also disabled comments for the time being. When enough people have voted, I will make the results available and will allow comments.

8. Thank you very much in advance to all who take the trouble to participate.