Modern exam maths questions

Modern Standard Grade Questions

Here are some examples of questions that teenagers of today are required to tackle in their maths Standard Grade exam - can you answer them correctly?

1.) Question One

Tom looked at the cost of 10 different flights to New York. He calculated that the mean cost was £360 and the standard deviation was £74. A tax of £12 is then added to each flight. What is the new mean and standard deviation?

  1. £372 and £86
  2. £372 and £74
  3. £360 and £74

2.) Question Two

The price of a laptop is reduced from £400 to £320. Calculate the percentage reduction in the price of the laptop.

  1. 80%
  2. 20%
  3. 25%

3.) Question Three

This year, Ben paid £260 for his car insurance. This is an increase of 30% on last year's payment. How much did Ben pay last year?

Damaged car
  1. £182
  2. £192
  3. £200

4.) Question Four

When on holiday in Spain, Sandy sees a pair of jeans priced at 65 euros. Sandy knows that he gets 13 euros for £10. What is the price of the jeans in pounds?

  1. £50
  2. £84.40
  3. £60


  1. The mean (average) would increase by £12 to £372, but the standard deviation (the measure of spread of the data about the mean) would stay exactly the same because the same amount has been added to each price. Standard deviation was not in the O Grade Mathematics syllabus commonly followed in most schools - there was a separate Statistics O Grade.
  2. Percentage reduction is calculated by 80/400 X 100 = 20%. O Grade pupils should have been able to cope with the maths in this question - although many might have wondered what on earth a laptop was!
  3. 260/1.3 = 200. This type of question, where you calculate the amount before the percentage was added or taken away, was rare in the old O grade papers. Again, the question is in context, indicating the more practical content of Standard Grade and its goal to make mathematics more useful and relevant in real life.
  4. 65/13 X 10 = £50. Questions which are in a real life context are familiar to contemporary pupils. The O Grade pupil might have been perplexed at the high cost of a pair of jeans and the name of the currency.

Your Score

0 - 0 : Pay attention at the back!

1 - 2 : Done your homework?

3 - 4 : Maths genius!

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