Friday 2 July 2004, A level Year 2, Surrey, England

The examiner entered the room with a load of exam papers and a big smile. A week ago, when he supervised the Physics AEA paper, we all turned in our paper within an hour. That must be not too bad for a working day. Given this exam was the Maths AEA, another paper that was totoally voluntary, he had good reasons to be in such happy mood.

When he saw I was the only one in the room waiting for him, he was a bit surprised.

“You are not the only one taking the Maths AEA exam, are you? There were at least a few of you for the Physics one.”

“It is the last day of school, I guess. People must have better things to do. Also, this is an even harder paper than physics.”

“I see, so the answer is not in any textbook?”

“No, it is way beyond textbook.”

“Are you going to hand it in early like the Physics one?”

“No, there is no BBQ waiting for me this time, I think I will take the whole three hours to crack it.”

“Fair enough. In that case, given you have no one to talk to and no book to cheat from, there is no need for me to watch you for the next three hours. I will go to the staff room and catch up with some old friends, just come and find me when you are done with the paper. Good luck with it!”

The examiner then left the room with an even bigger smile.