Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dang! I did (or didn't) do it again!

(A follow up to yesterday's post Practicing for the SATs)

I just took today's SAT question of the day:

If x + 2x is 5 more than y + 2y, then x-y=

a.   -5
b.  -5/3
c.  3/5
d.  5/3
e.  5

It's basic algebra (and a word problem) and I still got it wrong. . . twice!!  I seriously need some math remediation.

Last night Ling and I went to the high school to the PSAT prep session where she could pick up her scores from her practice test and get pointers on how to take standardized tests.   We learned that Massachusetts has the highest test scores in the nation.  We also learned that the cut off to be a National Merit Scholar in MA a year ago was 222 (equivalent in SAT jargon of getting 3 710s), while in Wyoming, it was only 200.

As I expected, it was a Kaplan marketing gig.  Because our town has a deal with Kaplan, she can get online prep, normally $149, absolutely free!  Not only that, but if we sign up by the end of May, we can get $200 off Kaplan's College Prep Advantage (only $799), or Premier Tutoring (only $1,099).

Despite the marketing hype, it was helpful to rethink what lies ahead for Ling.  The good news is that she did pretty well on her practice exams even though she said she guessed half the time--but as Kaplan and all SAT prep courses point out--educated guessing is good strategy.

I'm relieved that it looks like she's a decent test taker, even though all the educational research out there says that SATs are only correlated to freshman year college grades, so it seems like a lot of hoops to jump through for something that colleges supposedly are taking less seriously.  

But because we're joining the rat race of looking for colleges, I'm sure she'll sign up for some sort of SAT prep program sometime in the future so she can reach for, as the Kaplan lady said, "Superlative scores!"  Maybe she'll get there, maybe she won't.  I think she'll go to college no matter what.

Meanwhile, I got get cranking on my math skills!


Ling said...

Because that question is really going to matter in the rest of your life...

Joel said...

Is the answer b?

Roland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roland said...

5/3 :)

Tara Edelschick said...

yup. 5/3. but doing it with algebra is so boring. so i'll teach you my tricks for taking the SAT without answering the questions. use the rules in order:

1 - avoid doubles and triples (in other words, if you chose A on the last question or on the last two, it's less likely to be A this time.)
2 - if three of the answers have a common feature, you can eliminate the other two.
3 - avoid ACEs. (in other words, go with b & d)

in this case, we don't have a previous answer so that doesn't help. we have three fractions, so we can eliminate A & E. We have three positives, so we can eliminate B. Now we have C & D. Avoiding ACEs, we have D. (also, since two of the fractions had 5/3, i would take that over the 3/5)

So there you have it. Skip the Kaplan and go with Tara's scam the test prep.

Now please send me $1000.

Tara Edelschick said...

i feel like i should add some more info based on what all of the test prep people say. you should never guess if you can't eliminate at least one answer. after that, the odds are in your favor if you guess. (i can explain how that's true later if you are interested.)

if you have eliminated one or more answers, and if you are going to guess blindly, the rules i posted above are helpful.