We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, October 25. 2009
The pup who works in NYC is studying for her GMAT. It sounds like a rightly demanding and discriminating exam.
She says the grammar correction sections are extremely subtle aspects of complex sentences, and that the two-part interactive math problems only give you two minutes each if you want to finish them. If you get one right, the computer gives you a more challenging one. It ramps up fast, she says, to try to find your limits. That's a great idea, like an automated oral exam where they can push each line of questioning until you are totally stumped and crushed with humility. The two-part math questions involve something like Which of the following additional pieces of information do you need to solve this problem? A,B, Both, Neither.
Brain swirls. These sorts of logical challenges quickly separate the men from the boys.
There are two essays also. Sounds like good fun to me, but I like exams. No. I love exams, whether offered by schools, institutions or, most importantly, by real life every darn day.
The pup does too: she is busy re-memorizing her exponent and square root tables to save time on the exam. She has great fun doing it, and says "It will never hurt you in life to have 9 to the 5th on the tip of your tongue." She began with 1-12 to the third and is working her way up.
No calculators allowed for this exam. Good on them for that.
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if you had never done another thing in life, BD, you earned your right to be on the planet by producing a kid with that sort of love for knowledge --
32 I could see...32,768 or 16,777,216 even. Just curious...The value of 59,049?
KRW: hmmm. Just 1-12 to the exponents of 1-12. That is doable.
It seems like a good, rigorous exam.
The Psychiatry Board (actually, The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology) exams have a day of written exams and a day of oral exams. In the orals, which are extremely challenging and include an evaluation of a live patient, we always push them to find the limits of their insight and knowledge.
We sit on a high table above our poor victims, one at a time, and keep on questioning him or her until we find their limit. If their limit is below our standard - it's a fail. Our job is to maintain the standards of our profession and we desire to keep a high bar.
Funny thing is that you can tell a "pass" almost after their first answer. If they want to tell you all of their thoughts, ideas, and the latest research about the subject, you quickly realize that you, the examiner, might learn from them. Then they are home free, for the orals, anyway.
Nice post, and good comments.
What is life's Final Exam? I have passed age 70 suddenly up here in Winnipeg, and I know for sure that it is my relationships and my relationship with God that matter to me. I know that is corny as hell, but I am a simple country boy.
However, I did also manage to make and invest enough money before our taxes went crazy in Canada to have a comfortable and adventurous life. And I still work hard, every day. In my view, men must work hard. The wife agrees. She definitely does not want me around the place during the day.
Doable, yes. So is memorizing the popes of the 19th century. When I posted, I was thinking GRE, which I took many years ago (and scored mid 700s on logic and high 600s in math) and couldn't see the purpose of this. Now recall GMAT is an MBA qualifier. While I never took the GMAT, I understand it could be very useful for certain situations, but I'm a bit surprised the math-without-a-calculator test necessity would be that complex. Isn't this what we make software for? I mean, the test is what it is and I'm sure she's made a calculated decision that makes sense for passing the test. But given that a lot of people with MBAs got us into this mess, I'm curious as to why a qualifier test would benefit the investment of brain power on/in it. Probably because I'm an Alexander and the Gordian Knot kind of guy out of my element...Or maybe because I've been experimenting with Irish Whiskey today...or maybe I'm just a tad bored...sigh...
OTOH, Dr. B's post is just creepy. Where's the objectivity in that?
Nothing like a fine Irish Whiskey to start a man thinking, or a woman too, I'll add. Now, a woman and a man, sipping whiskey together... no telling where that might lead. A night of debauchery or a night of the man using the curb on the street as a pillow. But it's all good.
I mostly hate sports metaphors, but right now that is all I can come up with. GMAT's, SAT's, all the rest, sorta like goalposts aren't they? For that reason if none other they do serve a purpose of sorts. After all, you have to start somewhere.
As for Dr. B., well, I can see his point. We like to think of ourselves as logical and rational beings, or at least I do. But then, as life goes on, I realize how subjective most things are. Some judge so simply as another using using the wrong fork at dinner, I happen to use how a man safety wires a bolt. Different, sure. There's no method in this madness, usually, that's my take. Most of us just try to do the best we can.
Oh, I agree on the standardized tests. In fact, I think they provide an extremely valuable objective standard, or as you indicate, a standard goal. There's a danger in their abstraction from reality, but better than the shrink process. (BTW, it may be me but I think Dr. B be a she.)
One wonders where they get their "live patient". Do they capture one from the wild or are they farm-raised? What a wonderful experience it must be for them, to have their psyche's probed and prodded by an amateur while the board sits up there on their high table. Egos and natural selection seem a dangerous combination to me. But who am I to argue with the obviously high quality standards they produce?
Ditto on the 'Creep Factor' of Dr. B's post. It made my skin crawl. At least she offered a bit of comic relief with that 'live' patient. Send him back to the cuckoo's nest after orals and double his dose of Zyprexa. haha.
But this stopped me: "If they want to tell you all of their thoughts, ideas, and the latest research about the subject, you quickly realize that you, the examiner, might learn from them."
The 'Judges' perched on their Myelin Thrones don't know the latest research? Who then are they to judge anyone? And how is blithering away a sign a future shrink will do well in shrinkage? Last thing I want if I visit a shrink is to listen to him/her talk his butt off while I pay for it.
However, the most appalling thing about Dr. B's description of conducting the orals is her less-than-veiled cynicism about the newbies and her phony high standards..... phony because they are based on subjectivity.
Is there a test out there that measures perseverance, determination,self motivation, effort, or initiative? How about when life deals one a cruel blow, said person continues to get up and fight no matter what the circumstances.
Knowledge is great , a measure of many things. I think the intangibles count a little more.
There ARE tests out there that measure such things.
There was a doctoral dissertation written years ago on predicting the academic performance of college freshmen. The conclusion was that there were two tests when combined that best predicted success. The first test was the SAT. The second test was one that measured "stick-to-it-iveness," perseverance, etc.
There have been some studies that claim that students who are informed that their success is due to their hard work do better than students who have been informed that their success is due to their innate intelligence.
From my experience as an engineering undergrad, I learned the importance of an iron butt ( what some peers called Nixon in his student days.) We engineering students were all smarter than the average bear, but the workload was such that only a few could get by on less than 60-70 hours per week.
It's resilience. It is a gift if you have it, and it is a character trait bred into you from in-born personality traits and nurturing.
It is the iron rod onto which your intellect and emotions balance.
Without resilience, no amount of 'brains' is going to get you through adversity.
-a person can't really admire his own "brains" --he had nothing to do with them other than occupying the space where they lit. It's "guts" that one builds oneself, as we all know. "Iron Butt" is a great term. I preach it to the younguns, adding that i wish i'd had more of it when i was their age. They say "but you turned out fine, dad, so what's the prob?" I try to 'splain --at least to the one still in school, that there was a LOT more fat in the land, a LOT more design margin in the system, then than now.
i am convinced that bird dog is actually from the midwest. probably somewhere in Ohio or Kansas because no one's kids want to take the GMAT or learn exponents by heart but then I did not have those kinds of kids and wish i had thus I am going to believe he and his children are like Dorothy and from the Mid West.
I have taken the GMAT myself and it is one doozy of a test. I am a really good writer and such and I am not so good at math. Well, I expected the GMAT to not have that much math, but most of it is math. I ended up scoring in the mid 400 range mainly because I almost got every question on the math section wrong while doing well in the other sections. Heck the two essays don't even figure into your score but rather a stand alone score. I nearly aced the essays but they did not boost my score. Needless to say I was pissed off. I hope the test taker is good at math. I wasn't and it killed my chances of doing graduate coursework. Best of luck.