Smarter or dumber than I was in high school?

February 27, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to receive The Official SAT Question of the Day via email.   It’s a lot of fun.  And it has confirmed what I pretty much knew to be true already – if you don’t use it, you lose it.  When I took the SATs in high school my score was pretty decent. Most pertinently, my math and verbal scores were almost identical. 

Now most of the math questions seem impossibly difficult.  Two recent examples:

What is the volume of a cube with surface area 54x2?


A woman drove to work at an average speed of 40 miles per hour and returned along the same route at 30 miles per hour. If her total traveling time was 1 hour, what was the total number of miles in the round trip?

(didn’t I learn how to solve that second one in 6th grade?)

In contrast, the language ones seem exceedingly simple.  I haven’t missed one yet.  Two recent examples:

Part of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice A.

Since William the Conqueror in 1066, every British sovereign has been crowned in Westminster Abbey except Edward V and Edward VIII, neither of them were crowned.

A.           neither of them were

B.        neither were

C.       neither of whom was

D.       with neither being

E.        with neither who had been


The alarm voiced by the committee investigating the incident had a ——- effect, for its dire predictions motivated people to take precautions that ——- an ecological disaster.

A.           trivial . . prompted

B.        salutary . . averted

C.       conciliatory . . supported

D.       beneficial . . exacerbated

E.        perverse . . vanquished   

So some days I feel really smart and other days not so.  But it’s fun to compare my performance against others and also to track my cumulative score.  I recommend it.