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1960s chemistry questions stump pupils.

Britain's 16-year-olds are stumped by old-style O-level chemistry questions, an online competition revealed.

The competition, run by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), found that even the brightest pupils had trouble with questions from the 1960s.

The paper, set two weeks ago, used numerical parts of both O-Level and GCSE exam papers from the past five decades. Eight questions were selected from each decade, from the 1960s to 2000s, and mixed up in the online paper so that pupils could not identify which date each question was from.

From 2,000 entries, representing 450 schools across the UK, the average mark was 25 per cent. Average mark for the 1960s questions was 15 per cent, compared with 36 per cent for the 2000s. The competition offered a pounds 1,000 prize, won by Nathan Brown of King Edward VI Camp Hill Boys School in Birmingham. He scored 94 per cent. Here is one of the 'easy' questions questions from 1990: The ingredients in lemonade are: A) carbonated water B) sugar C) glucose syrup D) citric acid E) flavourings F) acidity regulator (sodium citrate) G) preservative (sodium benzoate) H) artificial sweetener (Saccharin) Use the list of ingredients above to help you to answer this question: Which is the substance in lemonade which (i) could be fermented into alcohol?

(write appropriate letter) (Answer: B or C) (ii) will turn blue litmus red? (write appropriate letter) (Answer: D or A) The preservative in this lemonade is sodium benzoate. Its formula can be represented as: C6 H5 CO2 Na (iii) Name the metal present in the compound.

(Answer: Na - sodium)
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 10, 2008
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