Maths Tutoring:~ The Problem with a Crocodile


Whose been scared off by a crocodile?

The following Scottish Higher AQA maths question has been causing some kerfuffle in the national press.

Some journalists have even been suggesting, to verify how difficult the question is, that members of the public have a go. This is a little unfair as candidates will have been recently studying the topic (i.e. differentiation) needed to solve it, whereas members of the public will either never have studied basic calculus or have studied it a long while ago.


One of the reasons this question may appear difficult to the student is the poorly labelled diagram in the question. It could, incorrectly, appear from the diagram that x and 20 metres are diagonal distances instead of distances parallel to the riverbank. It is often a good idea to draw your own diagram , even if the question supplies one, because this will enable you first to identify where the diffiulty in your understanding is, and then it will help you to make your intrepretation as to what the examiner must mean. Also, by providing a pause before tackling the problem, it will allow your subconscious to get to work searching for a recognisable pattern (comparing it to practiced examples) to solve this problem.

To view the PDF file showing the way I tamed the corc. problem click here.

(I apologise for my messy scanned handwriting on the file!)



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