"My eldest daughter gained her foundation exam aged 9,..."
I suspect that my eldest daughter would never pass even the foundation exam, even if she wanted to. She can do things that seem to me to be stupifyingly difficult, but she doesn't have the systematic, bottom-up way of looking at problems that physicists and engineers (amateur or professional) seem to have instinctively. I spent about a month trying to explain to her what "voltage" and "current" mean, when she was studying for GCSE exams, and how the are related; I'm not sure I ever succeeded.
My son is similar -- he's a tremendous musician and artist, but the very idea that phenomena in the natural world can be related to one another in systematic, mathematical ways is completely alien to him. When I have to try to help him with chemistry or physics, it's really like we're talking different languages.
It worries me that people like me -- probably people like everybody on this forum -- people who are systematic, reductionist thinkers don't really understand how rare such a mind-set is in the world. We perhaps don't even understand that there even are different ways of thinking.
The amateur radio exams are set by people who passed amateur radio exams (or, at least, similar exams). They make sense to, and are comprehensible by, people who think in particular ways. I don't mind hard study, but I accept that there are things that will never be comprehensible to me -- dance, for example -- however hard I study. There are people in my household -- smart, diligent people -- who could not gain an amateur radio foundation licence even if they studied for a thousand years. We need to keep sight of the fact that people aren't all the same.