What does "par" mean in this sentence:
The exam was easier than par.
Etymonline.com says this about par:
Par in the game of golf means the number of strokes it should take for the scratch (handicap = 0) golfer to complete the hole.
This term has been expanded metaphorically to mean something of average difficulty. An exam that's easier than par is easier than what you would expect.
Well, this sense of "par" is typically used in the phrase "par for the course", and it means "expected" or "average". It seems to come from golf, which got it from Latin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Par_(score)#Par