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Topic Title: Williams F1 Maths Test
Topic Summary: Can you pass the Williams F1 Maths Test?
Created On: 28 October 2012 01:56 PM
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 28 October 2012 01:56 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1043
Joined: 05 September 2004

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin...ith-maths-skills.html

Any takers?

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James Arathoon
 28 October 2012 05:01 PM
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Gruff

Posts: 74
Joined: 18 December 2010

It's shocking isn't it. What amounts to little more than a basic numeracy test, and Williams found a 3% pass rate amongst 200 school leaving applicants.
 28 October 2012 05:19 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1043
Joined: 05 September 2004

15 out of 15 for me, without a calculator I might add (and I didn't cheat)

(You have to assume they are using log base 10 of course)

However whether my top score is due to O level maths and further maths is unclear to me (I have since studied maths at much higher levels than this - having now attended 5 univerities now).

My latest adventure into the university system in 2008, which to my cost brought me two mental breakdowns in quick sucession; the first one from trying to study for an MSc in History of Science, Technology and Medicine, a course jointly organised by UCL, Imperial College and the Wellcome Trust, and then the second one in a failed attempt return to the same course (when my memories of the previous breakdown suddenly flared back).

Generally universities don't want to admit to, and are certainly not curious about the relatively common problem of, mental breakdowns induced by high pressure academic study.

It is easier apparently to classify people who succumb to mental health problems at university, as mentally weak or academically unsuitable, rather than have to admit openly to any failings in the university system itself.

(People complain about fees, but I have probably lost over £300,000 in savings and lost earnings over the last 4 years, trying to rebuild my sense of self and in coming to terms with what has happened to me. (Don't worry I haven't been claiming benefits, all I've had from the state over this four year period is a few hundred pounds of tax credits)

Anyway in pulling myself back from the dark abyss (twice now) I ended up playing with some maths I never did at school - number theory (at a very amateurish level indeed) - it sort of helped somehow. When failure hits, causality questioned and memories lost, it sort of helps when you start finding something in life you can actually do again.

So your maths knowledge may end up influencing and helping you in later life, in ways that you can now hardly imagine...

For me, having now done some amateur number theory, with nothing yet proved explicitly, I have sort of been led to contemplate the conclusion that the RSA public key cryptography system used to encrypt most of our secure communications on the web, is completely flawed and useless. I sort of now believe that fast factoring the product of two large primes is actually a trivially easy thing to do; something that any 15 year old (or clever 12 year old) could do in fact, if only they thought about the 2000 year old plus problem from an engineering perspective.

I have made a comment on the immense hubris of our current situation (re: cyber security) before, even though I am not knowledable as to the exact way our predicament evolved. In any case no one took any notice.

http://tv.theiet.org/technolog...munications/14908.cfm

The National Security Agency (NSA) in America has been advising that we change over to another system of public key encryption since 2009.

http://www.nsa.gov/business/pr.../elliptic_curve.shtml

(I know Hollywood tends to relentlessly give them a bad press, but most of this is probably exaggerated or unwarranted. It might be wise to start listening to them on this occasion.)

James Arathoon

P.S. don't feel upset if you got a very low score in the Williams F1 maths test, there is always scope for improvement as long as you don't give up trying.

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James Arathoon
 29 October 2012 05:31 PM
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rhysphillips

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I struggled working out that 'pc' meant percent! Once I sussed out that the Telegraph hadn't found their % key, I was fine.
 30 October 2012 08:09 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
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Perhaps Williams should ask for a higher standard of maths in their entry requirements if that's what they want. Having one teenager who has just gone through GCSE maths and one who is going through it at the moments, I would suggest that anyone with an A-C grade would sail through these. Except possibly the log questions - interesting that they used questions from the 1960s!

If the Telegraph and Williams really understand maths then they will understand about random sampling and biased sampling

There ARE problems about maths education, but in my experience these are at the higher level (I am staggered that complex numbers do not figure in my daughter's A level maths syllabus, but then statistics never figured in mine which was just as bad).

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 30 October 2012 06:36 PM
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mbirdi

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The tests seems to be set at GCSE Foundation Tier (grades D - G) Anyone passing the GCSE Higher Tier Maths (grades A-C) should be able to complete all, with the possible exception of Q13 and 14 if calculators aren't allowed. It doesn't say whether calculators can be used or not? So agree with Andy.

Edited: 30 October 2012 at 06:47 PM by mbirdi
 31 October 2012 07:53 AM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: mbirdi
The tests seems to be set at GCSE Foundation Tier (grades D - G) Anyone passing the GCSE Higher Tier Maths (grades A-C) should be able to complete all, with the possible exception of Q13 and 14 if calculators aren't allowed. It doesn't say whether calculators can be used or not? So agree with Andy.


All of the questions, with the exception of those involving logarithms, can easily be solved using just KS2 level knowledge. That means an 11 year old can get them all right.

Originally posted by: amillarinteresting that they used questions from the 1960s!


That's just a gimmick to trick the public into thinking the standards of the test is higher than the standards of maths education today.

There ARE problems about maths education, but in my experience these are at the higher level (I am staggered that complex numbers do not figure in my daughter's A level maths syllabus, but then statistics never figured in mine which was just as bad).


Reformers of the maths A Level are trapped between Scylla and Charybdis. One faction strives to maintain high academic rigour and wants to revert back to the A Level of the 1970s and 80s. Another faction believes that the A Level syllabus must be more modern and relevant to the world of today, with the end result that the exams are easier because more new topics are added, and existing topics are no longer studied to the same depth as they previously were.
 31 October 2012 08:01 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

Originally posted by: mbirdi
The tests seems to be set at GCSE Foundation Tier (grades D - G) Anyone passing the GCSE Higher Tier Maths (grades A-C) should be able to complete all, with the possible exception of Q13 and 14 if calculators aren't allowed. It doesn't say whether calculators can be used or not? So agree with Andy.

Correction. The Foundation Tier exam achieves grades C - G and not D - G as stated above.
Statistics

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