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By Paul Nisbet on Friday 3rd February, 2012 at 4:11pm
One of the requests from the staff who attended the Digital Papers Focus Group meeting in October 2011 was for SQA to provide answer booklets in Microsoft Word format. While answer booklets have been provided as PDF documents, some staff felt that the Word format would be more suitable for some candidates. You can now download answer booklets in Word / DOC format from the SQA web site.
The main advantage of using PDF answer booklets with Adobe Reader is that candidates can use the same program to access both question paper and answer booklet. However, disadvantages of the PDF answer booklets are:
- Each page contains a separate text box for the answer and the candidate's text does not automatically flow from one page to another.
- The font and size are fixed, and formatting is basic.
- Inserting symbols, formulae and equations is awkward.
- Drawing tools are basic.
- PDFaloud text-to-speech software does not highlight the text in the answer booklet as it reads, and it reads the whole page - you can't just read a sentence, word or paragraph.
- Word is a much better word processor than an Adobe Reader text box! The candidate can change fonts, sizes, styles, use formatting etc etc.
- Symbols, formulae, equations and diagrams can be easily inserted.
- A wider range of text-to-speech programs can be used to read out your answers, including the free WordTalk reader.
- Speech recognition can be used to dictate into Word, including the free Windows 7 speech recognition software.
- Support tools for mind-mapping, spellchecking and word prediction (if permitted by SQA) tend to work better with Word than Adobe Reader.