The students had to scratch their heads over the task of working out the area of the shaded part of some circles. University of Manchester mathematics student Harry Serplus described the problem as “difficult”.
He tweeted: “2nd year undergraduate mathematics students are taking the final issue of the Edexcel GCSE 1 graduate thesis.
“Heavy, even I had to spend some time looking for a place to start.”
The young people turned to Twitter to share their experiences of completing the final assignment on paper.
Twitter user @Xenicz_ said: “The last question in the top document Edexcel GCSE 1 was absolutely ridiculous!
“If anyone really got it right, then you’re a genius!”
Another Twitter user @xfyz said, “It was so bad when I broke up for no reason.”
@ mosesb318 added: “If a 2nd year undergraduate math student struggles with the question, how do they, other than us GCSE students, get it?”
One Twitter user asked if this question suited GCSE students.
Students take the GCSE and A-Level documents for the first time in two years after Covid disrupted schooling across the country.
In the run-up to the testing season, figures showed that the number of pre-exam anxiety consultations provided by the charity Childline had almost doubled in seven months.
More than 200 sessions took place in March 2022, almost double the number of sessions in September 2021.
In 2021-22, Childline staff conducted 1,734 counseling sessions for students concerned about exams and revisions, which is 62% more than the previous year.
NSPCC data for 2021-2022 also showed a two-month surge in exam-related stress in May and June last year.
This reflects the fact that students returned to school in March and learned that full state exams would be canceled a second time due to the pandemic.
Alex Gray of Childline said: “Our latest Childline statistics on exam stress underscore the growing concern of children and young people as they seek to take exams this month.
“Children are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, and if this year’s two-year cancellation of the GCSE and A-levels is due to take place normally, it is important that they receive the support they need to deal with any problems or concerns they may have.
“Apart from talking to parents or teachers, children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, seven days a week and talk to one of our trained counselors who can provide support and advice without condemnation.”
A recent poll by the Association of School and College Heads found that more than eight out of 10 principals say their students this year are more busy and worried about exams than before the pandemic.