Maths BAs can't add up

June 28, 2002

   First-year maths undergraduates at Queen Mary, University of London, must now pass an elementary maths exam to progress to the second year. The exam - which aims to tackle the alarming number of students who reach university with deep deficiencies in arithmetic and algebra - constitutes a hurdle that cannot be circumvented by passing the first-year exams.

Your correspondent - who took A-level maths more than a decade ago followed by a science degree - got stuck on question four and has given up. Still, she is in good company: 96 per cent of students failed the first attempt and took, on average, six months and four or five attempts to pass.



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