Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Daughter Clause

On the SAT [and ACT] gender matters. Answers are often biased in favor of female authors and characters. Like every rule, this one can be bent a little.

The passage goes like this.

This passage is about an Asian-American author. She feels conflicted between pursuing her passion for the arts and her family's expectations of academic success.

1] Everyone knows that I am Asian and they simply expect me to get an A in Calculus then get into an Ivy League school. My mother is no exception. She is from a small village in China and has spent her life raising my sisters and I to be academic successes in America.

6]My older sisters have accepted this as their fate. They rejoice in their lives as a doctor and lawyer. My younger sister will probably be an engineer. Goodness, a doctor, a lawyer and an engine chief!  

10] Mother feigns interest in artistic pursuits. I guess she would approve if I had won a contest or had been accepted to Harvard for writing. But I can feel her disappointment... 

The author author uses the term "feigns" to express her mother's attitude of:
A) Displeasure
B) Sarcasm
C) Irony
D) Pretense
E) Pride

Using the "Gender Bias" rule blindly the answer would be E. It is the only positive answer regarding a question about an ethnic woman. But the "Daughter Clause" trumps the Gender Bias. Here the mother is negative towards the daughter.

Mothers of ethnic and female characters can be critical. Especially in the best interest of the child or involving a new situation like coming to America.

Daughters and ethnic sons can be critical of their mothers. Then they come to understand them.

I like the daughter clause, it works well. And it was taught to me by my daughter, Ali.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gender issues: women rule

When answering questions in the SAT Critical Reading sections take note of gender bias. I tell my students to view every answer concerning women was written about Hillary Clinton. Look for adjectives that are strong and powerful.

A female is NEVER weak. Nor is she frightened. She may not yet understand what is happening as a girl, but she will reflect on the whole later in life.

Non-caucasian women are particularly strong. Asian and Latino women and girls have made a regular appearance on recent tests. If you are studying for the SAT, get together with some high school friends and see if they have their old SAT booklets. Search for the critical reading passages that concern ethnic females and then look at the right and wrong answers.

Train your eye to pick up on the bias written into the test.

Up next: The daughter clause.

Monday, September 10, 2012

SAT Critical Reading Bias, use it to score.

SAT Critical Reading is biased in many ways. Learn how and use the test's biases against it for an improved score. In this new series of blogs, I will show the most blatant bias, how the writers of college entrance exams have a tendency to be politically correct. Though this is not always true, it is mostly true and therefore a technique to know and follow.

They lean toward positive comments regarding females, as well as ethnic and racial minorities. Why? I don't really know, though I could speculate. But I don't really care. All I care about is that my students have an increased score. I do know this much, it does exist, it is recognizable, and mastering the technique of using the bias creates a higher score.

Today's CollegeBoard.org's question of the day is such a classic example that it was the catalyst to write about their leanings. The sentence completion question was about Shakespeare heroines. The answer choices were:

A). imperious
B). suffering
C). excitable
D). resourceful
E). precocious

The obvious answer is D, simply because it is the only 100% positive, pro-female, politically correct response. The first clue from the sentence that the answer MUST be positive is the use of "heroine" to identify the characteristic of the women. The second clue is that the answer is a modifier of a female.

Answer choices A, B, and C are not 100% positive and pro-female. E is not necessarily negative, but precocious means premature development and is used to modify a child. The term "women" in the sentence refers to mature females and not children.

Look for the positive responses in regard to SAT Critical Reading sentences and passages that deal with women and ethnic or racial minorities.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Twice as many is half as less

Sometimes two times as many is half as less.A problem that is a problem over and over goes something like this:

The track team has twice as many members as the cycling team. The cycling team has three times as many people as the water polo team. If a student can only be on one team and there are 100 students on all three teams, how many run track?

Twice as many and three times as many both mean multiplication. But students often reserve the order. Let’s take a look at the wrong answer and then a way to remember how to do it correctly.

First let’s set some variables.  Notice that the teams or clubs almost always start with a different letter. I like to use that letter as my variable. Some students work better with always using x & y. That’s fine, just keep them straight.

T = number of students who run track. It is the answer to the question.
C = number of students on the cycling team.
W =  number of students on the water polo team.

Here is the mistake “twice as many on the track team as cycling.” Students often multiply twice the track team.

2T = C

Wrong. I see this algebraic equation written time and again.

Here is a simple memory trick that I teach my students, ask yourself which team has MORE people. 
If there are twice as many on the track team, doesn’t that mean that the track team has MORE people than the cycling team?  If the equation 2T = C is correct then put 10 people on the track team, substituting 10 in the place of the variable T. 

2(10) = C
20 = C, [T]10 is less than [C]20 meaning that the track has LESS people.

Twice as many on track means that there is 2C for every one T.

T= 2C; Track (T) Has (=) Twice (times 2) Cycling (C) .

The way to keep your translations straight is to do as I did above and put in a basic number like 10 and see which one has more, the one with twice is always more. 12 often works since it is the first number that has more than four factors, hence the reason that a dozen is still a highly popular base unit in baking and in inches.

If track has twice as many than cycling, than cycling has HALF as many as track.

T = 2C or T/2 = C

Cycling has three times as many as water polo. Cycling has MORE people.

C = 3W

Put 12 people on the cycling (three times as many, use a multiple of three).

12 = 3W
4 = W, we’re ok because 4 is LESS than 12. 12 is three times as many as 4.

If cycling has three times as many as water polo then water polo has one-third as many as cycling

C = 3W and C/3 = W

The total number of students is 100.

T + C + W = 100.

If we want to know how many run track, then we have to put the other variables “in terms of”  T.

C = T/2, one done.

W = C/3 W is in terms of C now substitute C in terms of T.

W = [T/2]/3


W = T/6

Substitute for C and W

T + T/2 + T/6 = 100.

Find the common denominator, which is 6.

6T/6 + 3T/6 + 1/6 = 100

Add up the fractions:

10T/6 = 100

Multiply both sides by 6/10 to find the value of one T
(6/10)(10T/6) = (100)(6/10)

T = 60

Let’s check our work

If twice as many people run track than cycle, then there are 30 cyclers. If there are three times as many cyclers as water polo players then there are 10 polo players. Added up 60 + 30 + 10 = 100 total. Check.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Mean Cuisine: The Unknown Average Quantity

I have seen this problem so many times that I need to write about it, it is so easy that all of my students should get this one right. You should too.  It goes like this example:

The average (arithmetic mean) age of a certain group of 20 people is 35. If five additional people join the group, the new average (arithmetic mean) is 36. What is the average age of the five new people?


Average = (the sum of the things)/(the number of the things)

What do we know?

Our average is 35;   AVG = 35  [notice that in any word problem the word "is" can be substituted with an equal sign, I always tell my students "IS is EQUAL" "IS" is "="]

Our number of things is 20

What don't we know?
The ages of our group of people. We don't need to know each one, just the sum total of them all.

Let's let S = [sum of the age of the 20 people]

fill in the known information into our equation

35 avg = (S sum of things)/ (20 number of things), solve for S by multiplying both sides by 20

S= 700

Next step the problem changes the average and the number of people. The unknown quantity it the sum of the new people's ages. No sweat, just a little algebra will get us an answer in a hurry. Let's call the new sum the variable N.

New Average = (Old Sum plus New Sum of things)/(Old number of things plus new number of things)

36 = (700 + N)/(20 + 5)

36 = (700 + N)/(25), multiply both sides by 25

36*25 = 700 + N

900 = 700 + N, subtract 700 from both sides

200 = N

To find the average age of the new people, we divide the sum of their ages, N, by their total number, 5.

200/5 = 40

Generically speaking, the question format goes like this:

The average (arithmetic mean) MEASUREMENT of a certain group of a NUMBER of THINGS is the AVERAGE.

IF SO MANY MORE  new THINGS are added to the group, then the NEW AVERAGE of the THINGS  is SECOND AVERAGE.


I think that I shall write a computer program to fill in random measurements, things and numbers for practice.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


An isosceles triangle has angles of 70 and x degrees, what is the least possible value of x?

An isosceles triangle has angles of 82 and z degrees, what is the great possible value of z?

An isosceles triangle has a perimeter of 50. Two sides of the triangle measure 20 and n in length, where n is an integer. What is the difference between the maximum and minimum value of n?

See solutions tomorrow, or answer them today.