Science teachers have raised concerns that a big proportion of the chemistry exam that Year 12s sat yesterday was devoted to an obscure part of the course.

Science Teachers Association of WA vice-president Geoff Lewis said some teachers were concerned about the prevalence of questions on minor sections of the course such as soaps, detergents and biofuels.

He said the paper was fair, but it allocated "an inordinate amount" of marks to relatively minor areas which students may not have studied in depth.

Teachers also said the paper contained a question that required students to write a full-page essay, even though the exam design brief specified that examiners were only meant to ask for short, paragraph-style answers responding to contextual questions.

Mr Lewis said the average student might have struggled with the paper.

Curriculum Council acting chief executive Allan Blagaich said there were no minor or major sections of the chemistry course.

Exam papers were expected to sample the entire syllabus across three to four years. Mr Blagaich said the exam fitted the design brief.

"The final question in this year's exam was an extended response, which conforms to the design brief," he said.

Chemistry students who left comments on the Curriculum Council's Facebook page said they thought the exam was easy.

Students are well into their second week of the WA Certificate of Education exams which will continue for another week and a half.

The exam period has been relatively trouble-free compared with last year's, which was marred by a string of errors and a printing mishap.

Complaints have been made this year about a modern history paper and an English exam, but the Curriculum Council said it had positive feedback about both papers.

The West Australian

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