Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

O Briain laments 'easy' maths exam

Dara O'Briain thinks maths GCSE's are too easy

Dara O Briain has lamented the standard of a maths GCSE paper after whizzing through a one-hour exam in just 10 minutes.

The 41-year-old comedian got an A* after undertaking the paper for the Radio Times to promote his maths TV show School Of Hard Sums.

After completing the test - a GCSE higher-level paper from June 2011 - Dara asked: "Are you sure that's not an ordinary-level paper and then there's another harder one? Surely? What do you do if you're really bright?"

He told the magazine: "I don't believe that my generation is the point at which evolution peaked.

"That makes no sense to me. But I'd find that paper very boring. I'd be racing to finish it and get out of the door."

He added: "There should be an additional, challenging paper. I don't mind there being a general paper to help you get some idea of what kids can do.

"But that's like the first 10 questions that you can just bang off before you get to the meaty stuff. There's nothing unexpected or unusual there.

"And that's why they're not interesting. That's the most telling criticism of it all - they're not very interesting questions."

Dara said that a report that the strongest UK maths students, while on an equal footing with their counterparts in the Far East at age 10 had fallen two years behind them by the age of 16, was "shocking".

"It reminds me of this joke on (US satirical show) Saturday Night Live", he said. "They said 'This week President Obama held the largest single class, where they linked several hundred American schools and they all sang a song, I Wanna Play, and it was an amazing, beautiful event. Meanwhile, in China, a billion children did maths.'"

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