March 17, 2011

Kids who eschewed TV to overachieve in school are crying over the SAT essay question about reality TV shows.

Oh! Cruel irony! It vexes!
“This is one of those moments when I wish I actually watched TV,” one test-taker wrote on Saturday on the Web site College Confidential, under the user name “littlepenguin.”

“I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively,” he wrote, invoking the 19th-century social reformer. “I kinda want to cry right now.”

Less than a minute later, a fellow test-taker identified as “krndandaman” responded: “I don’t watch tv at all so it was hard for me. I have no interest in reality tv shows...”
Quit crying. All you need is test-taking skills:
Peter Kauffmann, vice president of communications for the College Board, said that “everything you need to write the essay is in the essay prompt.”
Don't you just know that some of these test-takers will go the rest of their lives fretting about what might have been if only they'd been asked about one of the more elite things they'd studied and not this lesser topic that the inferior teenagers knew so much about precisely because they hadn't worked so hard and with such virtuous self-denial? But some of these hardcore grinds might get a clue: Maybe life will work out just as well if I give myself a break, relax, and have some fun.


FloridaSteve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin L. Shoemaker said...

But some of these hardcore grinds might get a clue: Maybe life will work out just as well if I give myself a break, relax, and have some fun.

Young students are somewhat puzzled when I give them a graduation gift: a DVD of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I give that gift only to very special kids: the ones who remind me of myself at their age. I wish someone had told me then: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Phil 314 said...

Well at least it wasn't a question about one of those dead, white men.

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oclarki said...

Is this the white kid equivalent of the culture bias that African-Americans are always complaining about in standardized tests?

Lance said...

Bill Clinton got elected President not because he was a Rhodes scholar and studied at Oxford, but because he plays the sax, is comfortable talking about his underwear, and smoked pot (even though he didn't inhale). True story.

Expat(ish) said...

I'd have to see the prompt, but i believe what the rep said. These essays are entirely formula driven - I could write an essay on 3rd Century Chinese Literature given three facts.

Sad but true.


PS - I still remember the single math question that was the difference between an National Merit Finalist and a Scholar. Cost me $2K in scholarships.

PPS - Note sure it made any difference in the long run.

shirley elizabeth said...

What's pathetic is that, like the guy said, you don't need any knowledge of reality TV shows in order to answer the prompt acceptably. And what's funny is it's not asking about the shows themselves, it's basically asking them to write out the reason they don't watch the shows in the first place.
And if they can't b.s. a simple prompt like that, they won't do too well in any college english class.

Carol_Herman said...

College debt, for kids, now means that they'll be paying for their college educations to the tune of owning a house. Without real property!

As to "essay responses" ... the MAIN EVENT in the SAT is the math score. If you ace that? Write your ticket.

Most college professors know kids coming into their classrooms aren't skilled writers. It's painful to have to read this stuff.

As to the SAT, it's a gimmick.

You also can't tell me that Algore, and Dubya, and OBAMA, by the way, got into Harvard and Yale, because they tested better than others.

coketown said...

Two of my high school's valedictorians (we had seven) suffered mental breakdowns their freshman year of college. Was the 4.3 GPA, instead of 4.2 (on a 4.0 scale) really worth it? I suspect not.

Clairvius Narcisse said...

"The commenter ended the post with the symbol for a frowning face."

Pastafarian said...

When I took these tests, there was no essay component. I've wondered how they'll objectively score them; now I'm wondering if they can even objectively frame a question.

I side with the grinds here. It's not enough to explain in the question's preface what a reality show is; it's a huge advantage for someone who's watched these shows before, because they've asked himself this question before, they've already given it some thought.

In a timed test, this is an enormous advantage. They should have stuck to academic topics in their questioning -- and mainstream, important academic questions, something about George Washington or the Civil War or something like that, not some little bit of trivia about some arcane subject. And certainly not something plucked arbitrarily from pop culture.

MadisonMan said...

Expat(ish) -- don't keep us in suspense! What was the question!?

Late-night conversations in grad school always came around to Star Trek and MASH episodes. Maybe for students now it's Dr. Who and Friends. If you don't watch TV, you'll sit there like a bump on the log. Like it or not, TV offers a shared point in Culture.

Pastafarian said...

Shirley, I'm sure they can bs their way through it; but if someone doesn't watch television, it will be much more difficult. They'll be thinking about this issue for the first time ever, where someone else has already considered it, or even discussed it. They'll have less depth to their response; they won't be able to cite supporting details; they'll take more time, on a timed test.

I can't think of a good reason to include questions about DWTS and Snookie on the SAT. Can you?

Pastafarian said...

...Other than, "Let's stick it to those nerds with their noses in the books."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Agreed: You can address that question perfectly well without ever having seen a reality show.

Still, "give [your]self a break, relax, and have some fun"? What if reality TV isn't your idea of fun?

I'm finding crosswords getting more difficult by the year, because they're increasingly full of clues regarding actors I've never heard of, TV shows I don't watch, bands I don't listen to, and the like. When E.D. Hirsch was writing about "cultural literacy," I don't think this is what he had in mind...

wv: lobersol. A brain-enhancement spray?

Edgehopper said...


They're not grading for particularly deep thoughts here, or on a finely divided curve. The question is simply whether you can put together a cogent essay with minimal grammatical and spelling errors. Each grader gives it an integer score from 1 to 6. As a general rule, if it looks like an essay and nothing's misspelled, you've got at least a 4.

The essay goes towards the writing score anyways, which is the least important of the 3 (math, verbal/reading, writing).

Anonymous said...

I had a friend in high school who had some kind of hippy-dippy parents (no air conditioning. . . in Tennessee), and she had no TV. We did a play at community theater together; she was the mom and the director kept trying to explain to her to model her character on Carol Brady- she had no idea what he was talking about, as she had never heard of the Brady Bunch. Poor director couldn't wrap his head around any other way to explain it to her.

I took Contracts in Law School the year that "Borat" came out, and our final had a hypo about the making of it (focusing on the release forms). I'd never seen the movie and thought the premise absurd, but still aced the test (I really did- I got a 4.3, the highest score available, in that class).

- Lyssa

FloridaSteve said...

Yeah for the record just becaus a lot of people watch this crap doesn't mean we all do. If this is your idea of fun then more power to you I suppose. But I think we've really lowered the bar.

Edgehopper said...

Oh, and one more thing:

I can't think of a good reason to include questions about DWTS and Snookie on the SAT. Can you?

My final exam in high school US History included a prompt to discuss the effect of television on modern American politics and history. If it can come up in a classroom, it can come up on a standardized test.

Chris B said...

There's actually a really good program for those unmotivated students who show up Saturday morning to take the test still smelling like weed and without a pencil. The military. Seriously. Worked for me, and now I don't smoke dope, go to a good university, am not a leftist and don't have to complain about some terrible SAT question since I got into school even with bad scores!

Anonymous said...

Well, Althouse, you've got to answer this question yourself, don't you?

Because, despite the fact that you earn a very comfortable salary, and you're pretty well fixed for life, you find it necessary to hump this blog and peddle stuff on Cafe Press.

Not criticizing. Just pointing out that you are similarly afflicted.

Me, too. I'm facing retirement and wondering what in the fuck I'm going to do.

This Roadrunner/Wylie Coyote cartoon summarizes the problem.

So, Althouse, when are you going to stop humping your ass for one more achievement? Thinking of going fishing?

Leland said...

The worst coworkers are the ones who worried so much about academic perfection, that they never learned how to interact with others. This simple issue really does show the problem of the children raised by tiger mom's. If you interact with others, you'll learn a little about society. From that knowledge you'll figure out things like Expat(ish) notes; everything is in the prompt and you could probably write about any subject by following the formula presented in the prompt.

virgil xenophon said...

LOL! When I took my SATs in Feb, '62, one of the vocab questions was "propinquity" --straight out of the then uber-popular TV series "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" and Zelda Gilroy's stock ans to Dobie as to why their marriage was "inevitable." Although a widely-read ominvorous reader, I would have NEVER known that definition had I not watched the series. So the inclusion of questions about currently popular "pop culture" on the SATs has a long tradition.(And I LOLed to myself when I saw it on the test, too.)

Fred4Pres said...

The sad secret of the SATs is the word puzzles are resused all the time. Figure out the puzzles they use and you will have an advantage because the only difference is the fact pattern offered.

A.Worthing said...

i personally hate reality shows and avoid them like the plague.

it does seem wrong to make an essay question appeal to such a narrow range of taste.

of course a good essayist can make the issue anything they want to talk about, and take it from there. so you say, something like this:

"To tell the truth, I don't even own a TV set and I don't watch reality TV... My family believes that TV is corrosive for the following 3 reasons..." and so on.

PatHMV said...

Very interesting. One of the racially-based criticisms of the SAT is that unfamiliarity with the settings used in reading passages makes the tests harder for test-takers from different communities. For example, if the reading comprehension passage involves yachting, and you've never even seen a boat in person, much less been on a yacht, you need more processing time to analyze the question... even if, as the SAT spokesperson properly says, the reading comprehension questions can be answered without having any knowledge of yachting outside the passage itself.

The over-achieving students' complaints seem to give some validity to this criticism. They have undoubtedly read plenty of SAT-prep books, which clearly explain that no external knowledge of this sort of thing is required, only the ability to comprehend the reading passage and answer questions based on the information contained only in that passage. And yet they still are having trouble with a question which concerns a subject so far out of their comfort zone.

I'd be interested to see the SAT folks do some tests on this. In some versions of the test, they use yachting and similar types of context for their reading passages. In others, they use pop culture like the reality TV shows. In still others, they could use stories from the urban black communities (rap lyrics, for example). Then they could measure exactly how much, if any, such background knowledge (or lack thereof) plays in the results of the test.

tim maguire said...

Reality TV sucks. It's boring empty voyeurism and it is irresponsible for the SAT makers to encourage watching such drivel.

Anonymous said...

I don't watch reality television shows, so I cannot comment on this.

Carol_Herman said...

Hello. All tests are designed to watch kids drop off the wrong answers. If kids got 100% on exams, the professors would faint.

And, the "art" of writing questions IS discussed among "the professionals."

Back in 1979, I can remember my ex at the time explaining to others "How to take an exam." He'd do it by putting his pencil in his pocket between questions. NEVER, EVER going back to change an answer! And, he read from "e" to "a" when the choices were given ... Because "e" would be "none of the above." Or, "all of the above." And, he felt he was being given a clue. If more than one answer looked right? He chose "e."

A year later the Princeton Review came out. And, that's when I saw PUBLISHED a handbook for test takers that took them "inside" the test taking SAT factory.

Picture this. The questions are being written by recent grads. Average age: 23 years old. (Back before computers.)

The questions are designed to "trick you." So, those kids who are good at taking tests will always be given the "advantage."

Oh, yeah. To pass the State's medical exam, my ex used to say "bring in everybody!" Because the test was weighted. Only half would pass. So why would you care if someone's medical school was "off shore," and if they were somewhat short on language skills?

It's just a test!

The really great students have other things to show, besides their SAT scores. (I can remember one of my son's high school teachers, not asked to supply a recommendation letter, did so anyway.) My son made EARLY ADMISSION. And, money in the bank paid for his education.

You think colleges want to turn away paying customers? REALLY?

Old RPM Daddy said...

I'm not sure whom I was supposed to sympathize with after reading this article. While I can understand their frustration at being tossed a topic they were unfamiliar with, it doesn't strike me as at all unfair, even in school. Any spelling bee contestant will tell you that it doesn't matter if the word he or she missed wasn't in the study guide. You were supposed to think it through!

Peano said...

Write about something you've never seen? Impossible!

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

Carol_Herman said...

I went to high school in the early 1950's. A friend of mine (who had been in a concentration camp. And, had a number tatooed on her left forearm) ... was a brilliant student!

When she was given an essay to write, she'd choose "words" ... good ones. And, write them on her piece of paper. Around which she then composed her essay. ARISTA!

Alex said...

Nerd persecution!

LordSomber said...

I knew they dumbed down the SAT but not this much.

blake said...

They didn't read enough speculative fiction, clearly.

Long ago, on the aisle of Foonf lived a happy grommetmonk named Bozahn....

Smilin' Jack said...

Maybe life will work out just as well if I give myself a break, relax, and have some fun.

Absolutely. The Dude abides.

Anonymous said...

I still remember the single math question that was the difference between an National Merit Finalist and a Scholar. Cost me $2K in scholarships.

As I recall, all National Merit Finalists are eligible for scholarships. Which Finalists actually get them depends on the sponsoring schools, businesses, and other organizations.

Perhaps you are lamenting the difference between Letter of Commendation and National Merit Semifinalist/Finalist?

Rob said...

This thread calls for the classic Althouse picture to illustrate "grind".

Rob said...

I was a Finalist but I did not get a penny. However, I did not deserve a penny as I was the antithesis of "grind" at the time.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is a subject that interests me greatly.

I have a relevant anecdote, but I'm boring myself with it so you're not having it. See? This a kindness I'm extending to you.

MikeR said...

Don't be so mean, Ann. Don't you remember how nervous you were during your SATs? Think how much fun it would have been to write an essay on the Martian Kkkkggraaalll clan, when you knew you were going to be writing nonsense, and everyone else would know something about it, and you're afraid that might cost you.

reader_iam said...

I would have SO enjoyed a question like that, and I tend to agree that the needed cues/clues are contained in the prompt, if you've been taught to read and think that way and then to respond in writing. That said, I can appreciate the concerns of those who don't like the idea.


The father of one of my high school friends, who himself later became a friend himself, liked to give kids a piece of great advice: "Sometimes you need to dazzle them with brilliance. Other times you need to baffle them with bullshit. Learn the difference."

He was an actual rocket scientist, by the way, a brilliant engineer who worked on projects for the space program for something like 40 years.

reader_iam said...

In a sense, documentaries are "reality" shows. Didn't any of these kids ever watch any of those, either?

prairie wind said...

I don't watch any of the reality tv shows (nor any other tv shows). BUT--if I listen to conversations around me, check newspaper headlines, check in with Althouse a few times a week, I know enough about reality tv to converse about the topic. As for the poor student who has knows nothing about yachts? Isn't that what reading is all about? Reading books is the key to life that you haven't lived yourself. I've never been on a tall ship but I could certainly write about climbing the rigging. It doesn't take a trip to Africa to know something about giraffes.

reader_iam said...

This may be why kids should be exposed to fiction AND nonfiction, of whatever media. Hybrid skills, mindsets and imaginations can be handy things, every now and again.

; )

Anonymous said...

Virtually no serious colleges take the part of the test at issue here seriously.

Phil 314 said...

NEVER, EVER going back to change an answer!

At some point early in my Medical career after one too many standardized test I realized:
1) I'm smart (enough test results with percentile rankings told me where I was on the bell curve)
2) I have a decent sense of when I've learned a subject
3) Apart #1 and #2 I do well on standardized test.

What a liberating realization! Thereafter if I had to go through a Boards-type exam. I would go through each question, answer in 5-10 seconds (because if you don't know it by then you probably don't know it but at least you can make an educated, test-taking guess), never, ever go back and re-look or change, and finally tip those wonderful "fill in the bubble" answer sheets on their side to quickly confirm I hadn't skipped a space and therefore had all subsequently answers out of sync.

I'm generally the first finished and it feels so good.

PaulV said...

SAT took "regatta" out of verbal exam becase of cltural bias. One time LSAT had cultural questions on them to discriminate against Southener and pther minorities. The times they are changing. We need more questions for losers and less on math, science and football.

PaulV said...

SAT took "regatta" out of verbal exam becase of cltural bias. One time LSAT had cultural questions on them to discriminate against Southener and pther minorities. The times they are changing. We need more questions for losers and less on math, science and football.

Ann Althouse said...

"This thread calls for the classic Althouse picture to illustrate "grind"."


blake said...

Don't you remember how nervous you were during your SATs?

Wasn't nervous at all. Didn't even know I was taking it. Mom woke me up and said "SATs in 15 minutes."

"What? Okay."

Went, took it. Probably could've done better with prep but did well enough. Didn't care except to torment my stressed out college-bound friends.

Expat(ish) said...

@MadisonMan - if you have a certain volume of malleable material what shape will have the highest surface area: sphere, cube, pyramid, or regular hexagon.

The answer is not obvious. It was one of three questions I missed out of 100 or so. I truly didn't know the answers to the other two. I should have gotten that one.

I made a 132 and a 133 was scholarship.


PaulV said...

One of the qestions on my bar exam was preanswered by my gym coach in HS. "Was a license to drive a car a right or a privilege and explain why." If garage had Oscar Kuhn for drivers ed he would know that there is no right to public employees union and why. I learn to read question before answers on SAT essays. By doing so I knew what to look for in the essays. Old saying that in NC they taught the 3 Rs. Reading, righting and Road to Richmond. Had a classmate in HS whose father had just moved up from NC to work for Phillip Morris. Only student there who regularly used "ain't" in his speech. The family could not afford a TV so he had to get library books from the bookmobile. He got his BA in English from UVA and his masters from John Hopkins. He received full scholarship from Phillip Morris, but never smoked.
Oscar Kuhn also taught some criminal law. His son had taken a ride from a classmate who had stolen a car. We told him that teenagers were stupid. Gave the kid some slack.
WV: subnods Two kinds of people nods & subnods

PaulV said...

On multistate exam there was a question about whether a crime was murder and what kind of mrder it was. Trick question as no one died, but plenty of fog.

anony said...

They already have this question on the random generator portion on the SAT website. I gave my son practice tests last week and this was the question he got. I, his impartial grader, only gave him a "3". I hope a previous poster is correct and you get an automatic 4 for correct spelling and grammar.

My complaint with the questions (I've looked at a LOT of samples over the last year) is how lame and generic they are. The "quotes" are all from an innocuous bland person who wrote an obscure book. Alas, pc has taken over.

I didn't tell my son, but on the day I took the SAT, I had the skis in the back of my truck ready to head off for a half day of skiing as soon as I quickly dashed through the test. Priorities!

PaulV said...

"if you have a certain volume of malleable material what shape will have the highest surface area: sphere, cube, pyramid, or regular hexagon".
Only two of those are 3D. Pyramid & regular hexagon would be infinite, but the infinity of the pyramid wold exceed that of reglar hexagon.

coketown said...

Furthermore! Prompts like these offer other additional benefits:

1) It assesses the test-taker's capacity for independent thought. The most refreshing things I read from my college freshmen were interesting and persuasive ideas that were entirely novel. "I ended up talking about Jacob Riis" is a total cop-out. Regurgitating HIS thoughts instead of offering your own shows a terrible lack of originality.

2) It shows deficiencies in the test-taker's exposure to the real world. I mean, these are high schoolers who know who Jacob Riis is, but seem oblivious to the fact that for the last twenty years there's been this phenomenon called Reality TV that has been a major component of global culture. My first-hand exposure to reality TV is extremely limited but I've gathered enough second-hand to understand its complexities. Only an extremely sheltered person would break down over a prompt like this.

3) It shows the taker's (in)ability to think in the abstract. The prompt gave MORE than enough material to write an essay. Being unable to answer it because of a lack of specifics betrays a lack of imagination and capacity for reasoning. On my GRE there was a question similar to, "On the planet Grigornon, the Wibblies eat Oonoos while Gobblies use Mibbles for fuel. Oonoos and Mibbles share the same lake and are in constant competition. Soon the lake can only support one species, leaving with Wibblies without food or Gobblies without fuel. What is an amicable solution to this problem?" You don't need to have ANY pre-test familiarity with this situation to write about it.

raf said...

everything you need to write the essay is in the essay prompt

I once "entered" an essay contest I didn't know was going on -- I think it was a 4H thing. I found out it was a contest when "they" handed out the papers. I had to write an essay on how to shop for refrigerators. We were given (I think) examples of three different models to select from. Apparently other kids knew about this and had done "research" (i.e., read the stuff you were supposed to regurgitate, I presume).

I made stuff up. Came in second.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...


A pyramid isn't 3D?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Martin L. Shoemaker,

A pyramid isn't 3D?

My thought too. And even if he's imagining a big pointy hollow box in the shape of a pyramid, if you could make the walls infinitely thin it would have exactly the same (infinite) surface area as the hexagon. There are infinite numbers larger than other infinite numbers (thank you, Georg Cantor), but they don't come into play here.

wv: amahv. Menotti's ultimately-rejected name for the protagonist of his little Christmas opera.

Lucius said...

That these kids are actually *complaining*-- in terms that evoke some kind of "This Does Not Compute" HAL9000 meltdown, indicates that they're probably not as bright as they think they are. If they were truly adroit mentally, they'd just throw the good SAT people a steaming comet of bullshit, and probably score the coveted 6.

Then again: there's something so painfully flakey about the SAT people putting such a mindless question on there. It's faux-fun, in the same sense Mickey Kaus accuses the DailyBeast of being.

And really: will Western Civilization ever recover from the tyranny of Anthropology? Must all human intellectual activity be confined to the 'analysis' of other humans' behavior?

I'm convinced that the whole sociological mindset is inherently relativistic, and at the same time self-titillated with class transvestism. Four years at Harvard and these "grinds" will be turned out as cokehead hipsters writing Cultural Studies tomes on the implications of contemporary striptease for Constructing New Femininities.

At some point, we just have to free ourselves not to give a shit about the bread and circuses. And I know it's too late for me, so I stand self-accused too. But I truly do cringe when we impose the duty to analyze pop culture on young minds. Christ, why do you think the last two centuries of pagan Romans couldn't produce one freaking memorable book?

Probably they were off at the Colisseum practicing mental masturbation, just like academe does today.

Sigivald said...

Since it asks for an opinion on them and provides data describing them from which to base the opinion essay, what are these entitled twits complaining about?

If you can't take a setup like that and write a passable essay from it, well, that's telling them something.

I don't watch reality TV either, and I could write that right now.

The topic's specifics are almost irrelevant - that they got so bogged down in them emotionally as a class marker is their problem, not the SAT's.

Expat(ish) said...

Oh, good lord, I paraphrased it - I took the test in 1980!

I'm sure it was a solid object and I was winging the technical term for a spherical object with five faces.

Pyramid is the right answer as you can make the base very very small and get dang near a plane - the other objects have restrictions around symmetry.

I picked sphere. Stupid.


joethefatman said...

but but but tv sucks

Amy said...

Reminds me of the AP History exam my classmates took (I didn't...long story).

The essay question was about the historical and cultural impact of the TV show "All in the Family."

None of my classmates knew what it was and whined about it.

I did. Wish I could have written the essay.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Well I still fret over the only question I missed on the 6th grade standardized test we had to take in order to be properly placed when we got to Junior High the following year.

Who was Winnie the Pooh's best friend? We never read Pooh in school. I started reading at the age of 3 and loved it. My Mother would never object to spending money on books and I had my own library card at age 4, yet Pooh never crossed my radar. You see, in my Mother's eyes it was not a children's book, it was a book she had studied in her Sophomore year at Berkeley, not for a young child. I was probably one of the best read 6th graders in my school, yet I missed this one question, keeping me from getting an award for a perfect 100% and sure that this would land me in the dumb classes in Jr. HS. Our school divided class by A, B, C, D, and E classes. I was a basketcase that whole Summer and never truly forgave my Mother for this oversight in my reading even though I did ultimately end up in A classes.

When Pooh started showing up on TV children's programming, I would feel the old anger well up and turn the TV off, until my Mother pointed out that in so doing, my own pre-schoolers were not going to know the answers either if I didn't expose them, even in cartoon form.

Steven said...

It's the sort of question that distinguishes minds that are bright and agile from minds that are merely highly drilled and prepared.

Steven said...

I picked sphere. Stupid.

I don't want to pick on you, but, a sphere is the solid figure with the minimum surface area per unit volume. Every other answer was a better answer.

former law student said...

I remember the uproar in Britain, some twenty years ago, when The Day of the Jackal was on the list of texts for the A levels. Except it was all from old farts, not from recent test takers.

You also can't tell me that Algore, and Dubya, and OBAMA, by the way, got into Harvard and Yale, because they tested better than others.

Al and W were at best, "above average." Hard to imagine W. being other than a legacy admit. But the Ivy League wanted a certain sort of man, not a greasy grind.

Obama, the child of two graduate students, graduated from the best high school in Hawaii before matriculating at the "highly selective" Oxy. Then he transferred to Columbia. IME, transfer students must have good-looking transcripts.

3/17/11 12:33 PM
Blogger Coketown said...

Two of my high school's valedictorians (we had seven) suffered mental breakdowns their freshman year of college. Was the 4.3 GPA, instead of 4.2 (on a 4.0 scale) really worth it? I suspect not.

We had one valedictorian,currently a full professor at Tufts. None of the top ten students came to grief, although one did graduate from Marquette. But NU let him into their law school despite this.

888 said...

Asking nerds about television is like bullying in that it makes them feel stupid and reminds them what wretched outcasts they are, so they revert to their only self-defense mechanism: "I kinda want to cry right now."

Joe said...

The question is simply the age old philosophical argument that is edited history authentic?

As someone pointed out earlier, this shows a profound lack of imagination amongst the test takers and they aren't nearly as bright as they think and have been told.

Incidentally, this is also an indictment of rote educational systems, such as Japan's, that people laud so much. Being able to recite answers is not intelligence.

PaulV said...

Yes, MLS, after seeing hexagon, I saw pyramid and thought triangle. I am sure that there is a regular hexagon solid, but I have no idea what name is. A pyramid would have greatest surface area even if all its sides were equal.

JorgXMcKie said...

fls: pretty funny.

"Obama, the child of two graduate students, graduated from the best high school in Hawaii before matriculating at the "highly selective" Oxy. Then he transferred to Columbia. IME, transfer students must have good-looking transcripts."

Implying that Obama is a superior student. Since we have zero evidence of his grades or why he was admitted, there is no way of telling if he got into Harvard through academic merit. Perhaps if he released his grades and ACT/SAT/LSAT scores, hm?

P.S. I've known some pretty dim graduate students, and some of them have had even dimmer children. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Regatta was never actually on the SAT. That is a myth.

Just an FYI. You'll find few people who think it's more of a bullshit test than I.