When I was in high school, I took the SAT three times. Once in the spring of my sophomore year and twice in my junior year. Two of those times I scored higher on the math part than on the verbal part. On the second of those two occasions, the math part was actually 80 points higher than the verbal part!
Such was not the case Friday morning when I took the College Placement Test for LCCC. No, my math skills are rusty and, I think, out of date!
The test began with a surprise. A typing test! Lucky for me that I pretty much type for a living. The test consisted of typing two designated paragraphs at a speed of 27 w.p.m. or better while making 8 or fewer errors. We had three minutes. My final score - 35 w.p.m., three errors. The proctor asked if I wanted to try again. Huh?
Next was the writing test, which we had to do in long hand. We had 30 minutes to write a few paragraphs about one of three designated topics. Not a problem.
Then, we moved to a computer for reading comprehension, grammar and math. Here are my scores:
- Reading Comprehension: 119.53 (99th percentile)
- Sentence Skills: 119.93 (99th percentile)
- Elementary Algebra: 107.81 (95th percentile)
- College Level Math: 38.13 (71st percentile)
Here's how it panned out. The reading and sentence part was no trouble. The elementary algebra was harder and took longer than I expected. But, I seem to have done OK. The College Level Math, well, that's a different story.
First of all, I wasn't expecting sines, cosines, etc. to be on the test since the woman on the phone said no calculators were allowed (not that a calculator would have helped). Secondly, there were a few symbols that looked vaguely familiar and a few more symbols that I didn't recognize at all. And, thirdly, I was not in a good mood after the algebra part, so I was in no mood for another part, especially one involving calculus and trigonometery (not that being in a better mood would have helped).
So, the situation being what it was, I did what any reasonable person would do. I guessed. I turned to the basic rules of multiple choice tests: When in doubt, pick "c." Or "1." Or "0." Yeah, that's what I did. And still managed to score in the 71st percentile.
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
Now, on a different subject ...