August 20, 2009

Math Test

Two weekends ago, my sister Amy came up from Washington D.C. for a visit. She arrived at our house mid morning on Saturday with three bags of gummy sharks and a new boyfriend named Warren, whom she was trying to impress.

In an attempt to help my sister put her best foot forward, my husband suggested that she and I compete in a math contest. This was a very good idea because when it comes to fractions and long division, my sister and I are both very impressive. Specifically, I hold the distinction of earning the lowest possible math score on the Graduate Record Exam (the S.A.T. for grad school). My sister is enrolled in one of the most prestigious writing programs in the country but doesn't know her multiplication tables, so we're fairly evenly matched.

Warren, who is working on his Ph.D. in Economics, wrote the first draft of the test. Several of the questions assumed (incorrectly) a working knowledge of algebra and were ultimately deemed too difficult for us and thrown out. Painfully aware of my limitations, my husband drafted the second and final version of the test.

Do you see my sister trying to cheat by peeking at my paper?!! It's a good thing I made an arm shield.

I got all of the problems right, except for numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. My sister only missed 4 1/2 problems (she got partial credit for doing the math right, but writing the wrong answer).

You can't argue with the math. According to my calculations, Amy is definitely the more impressive sister.

Think you are awesomer at math than us? Take our test and tell me the results!


jenj22 said...

No Deal. I wouldn't even get #5 right. Very entertaining!! What was Warren's reaction. Did he worry about the math skills of his future children and run. Or embrace the winner and vow to never make her do algebric equations?

Deanna said...

Love how your sister is using an arm shield towards presumably her Warren...was she worried he might cheat off her paper, too? LOL!

Kari M. said...

I've got some in-laws that would totally do this for entertainment. Me, I'd rather watch a movie. But whatever flips your switch. :)

Robin said...

This is HILARIOUS! Once you add "letters" to numbers....I AM A GONER! There is a reason letters and numbers are DIFFERENT people! They shouldn't cohabitate!!


Crista said...

DH is an accountant, so I let him worry about all the math around here.

Malea said...

Well, I don't even Sudoku, soooo....

Amy said...

ooooh I love math. this was pretty fun! I did it just to see if I would get the same answers as someone else, and nobody else finished it? Now I'm kinda hesitant to post, in case I'm proved wrong!

Celeste said...

It took me a while, but here is what I got:

1. 125
2. 2
3. 55
4. 2/3
5. 34.972 (with a line over 972)
6. 3.5
7. 6
8. 2
9. 1
10. 645

The Cranes said...

My husband is an engineer with a math minor. I am the artsy/writer type. Even though he aggrivates me with his abilities sometimes, it's good I have him around for the hard stuff :)

I had a hard time helping my 4th grader with math last year. Can't wait to see what 5th grade has in store for me....

Amy said...

Ok, I'll post. As long as I'm not first. :)

2. Can be either x=1 or x=2
3. 55
4. .66666 or 2/3
5. 34.9bla bla bla, or 34 with the remainder or 36, if you're doing third grade math
6. 7/2 or 3.5
7. 5
8. 2
9. 1
10. 645

stewbert said...

I got stuck on #2. So I skipped it and moved on. Much like I did in school ... hahahaha.

1. 125.
2. ??
3. 55
4. .666
5. 34.97... or 34 with a remainder of 36
6. I had to do this a second time. 3.5
7. 5
8. 2
9. 1
10. 645

Jennifer said...

**giggle** that is hilarious! LOVE the picture!

Amy said...

Hey Jana - any pageant results yet???


Cabeza said...

Warren also double-majored as an undergrad in both economics and math. So, you know, I can see why his draft of the test may have been a bit advanced.

{Kiki} said...

I stink at math so I am not taking any tests. I failed Algebra II in HS and still graduated. Still haven't figured out how. Anyhoo, I stink at it. Which is funny cuz my grandpa went to MIT for mathematics. It skipped 2 generations cuz my dad and my sis are just as bad at math, When grandpa would help me in grade school, the teacher always knew when he had helped me. It would be math from the 40's. Take care.

Lindsey said...

Okay, I can't resist math. Yes, honestly.

1) 125
2) x= 2 or 1
3) 55
4) 2/3
5) 33.something or 34.something (I couldn't tell if the dividend was 1244 or 1294)
6) 3 1/2
7) 5
8) 2
9) 1
10) 645

Do I get a gold star for the day?! :)

Sarah@Neoteric.Traditional said...

That's hilarious! Was it timed too, or just against each other?

Sants said...

Read about our family's mad math skills here:

We must all be related somehow.

Sants said...

OH! And I took Math 97 FIVE times at BYU before I passed it so I could graduate.

Rachel Cox said...

OH, OH!!! I know number 8, I know number 8! It's 2 right?


Sara said...

A working knowledge of algebra?

Well, bless his heart.

As far as I can tell, they have algebra in high school as less of a math lesson and more of a character building experience. And to torture teenagers because what's more fun than that, right?

Wryle said...

I hate fricking fractions! :)

Mama-Bear said...

Gosh, I hope I get these right. I won't be able to stand in front of my Pre-Algebra class ever again if I don't!

1) 125
2) x = {1,2}
3) 55
4) x = 2/3
5) 34 R36 or 34 18/647
6) 7/2 or 2.5
7) x = 5
8) 2
9) 1
10) 645

Foursons said...

Nope, I'm out on this one. I can't do a fraction to save my life. Literally. If I double a recipe I just pour the ingredients in twice instead of trying to add up the total amount.

Lynn said...

How sad, I've been at home with my kids the past 8/9 years, but I can still do the math (I'd better, I've got a degree in physics and in math) Without a calculator:
1. 125
2. x=1,2
3. 55
4. 2/3
5. 34.972... (although it should be rounded sooner, significant figures)
6. 3 1/2
7. x=5
8. 2
9. 1
10. 645

Valerie said...

Tell your sister, good luck!! My husband just finished his phd in economics, and most of his paperwork looks like cave drawings. I used to try and help him study, but soon realized the symbols were way over my head.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm just laughing at grown ups challenging each other to math tests for fun. I choose to be more discriminating in my "pastimes" so I scrolled right past your test. :)

Jill said...

That's my kind of math. In fact, the university I graduated from made a "special math class" for journalists. I almost didn't graduate because I had to take calculus - and at that time they didn't have the "special" math. I'm pretty sure most of my peers were having problems graduating because they couldn't pass basic math. Nice.

Jo's girl said...

holy crap I died laughing! math tests for fun?! are you serious? that's like getting a tetanus shot for job well done. or eating dog food for dessert.

math tests are seriously one of the last things I'd want to do to have a good time. and if one was given to me to "impress" my future mate? well I'm just glad no one thought about it when I was dating my husband.

Erica said...

Wow. This is super hard. Thanks for reminding me that it's been way too long since I was in school.. and I suck at math. Here are my answers:

1. 100
2. skipped.. I didn't even know where to start.
3. 55
4. Um?
5. 34.972
6. 3 1/2
7. 5
8. 2
9. 1
10. 645

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

I'm so good at math, my brother who is two grades behind me was in my same math classes. So, clearly, even beginning to think about figuring out the answers to your test gave me hives. Yikes.

rachie! said...

I only missed one question on the math part of the GRE. But I also only got a 50% (which was like a 460 I think) on the verbal portion. So I can totally do your math, I just can't verbalize my answers.

Too Many Hats said...

OMGosh - I am cracking up. A math test!!! I would totally smoke my sister on a math test, maybe I should remember this for our next get together.

Tarcoulis said...

You are such a good sister for LETTING Amy win in front of her new boyfriend.

Michelle said...

Math is not my thing and one of many reasons I majored in political science. Seriously my astronomy for non science majors professor was appalled at my lack of algebra skills even though I passed college algebra with a B-. I swear it was a fluke and the teacher mainly gave me a B- cause he saw how hard I tried. Math really isn't some people's thing.

My husband that is another story. He is an engineer and the notes for some of his upper level classes were written in math, ie. I could not even read what they said.

My husband and son would be the type to go head to head in a math competition like this.

Pamela said...

I hate math myself, but I love your blog. It always makes me laugh!!

Anonymous said...

1. 125
2. x = 1 and/or 2
3. 55
4. x = 2/3 or .66666666 etc
5. 34 R36 or 34.972972972 etc.
6. 7/2 or 3.5
7. 5
8. 2
9. 1
10. 645

Look, ma, no calculator! (No paper either. Yay for mental math.)

Can we get Warren's version now?

Duncan M said...

A proper challenge.
I had to scratch my head a little. Years of maths has only vaguely rubbed off.
Had a bash at this - - to restore some pride. It's elementary maths but fun, even so.

mama rose said...

Math is only fun when I'm teaching it

Christine said...

I knew I liked you!! I got the lowest score on the Math section on the ACT... but reading comp? The highest. :) And because of a lucky college calculus class in high school, I haven't taken a math class in 14 years... but I would take any class you were teaching!

Anonymous said...

Hah hah...My family and friends do math for fun. At my friends wedding, to keep her nerves from frazzling before the ceremony, we did derivatives and integrals in our heads together. Doing partial derivatives, even when in a wedding dress, calmed her down quite a bit.

Yes...we are Geeks and proud of it


The Mother said...

Would not fly at my house. We do weekly math puzzles for prizes. Anyone who isn't at least competent as we try to figure it out gets ridiculed, generally by the youngest household member who does understand the math.

I've had to hit the books just to keep up.

Anonymous said...

I had an almost perfect score on quant section of my GMAT, verbal however was a different story. Have to take GRE again can you do the verbal for me please ? :) I promise i will do your quant if you ever decide to take it again.

Sarah said...

dearest jana,

when are you going to announce the contestants for miss diseased usa? i can hardly wait.

Audra said...

Can I use a calculator?

Laurie said...

It's cruel to post that w/o the answers!! :) I stink at math but did it just for fun. And I actually got a few right (or missed some where others got the same ones wrong as I did- ha!) Your blog is awesome!!

canadianmom said...

Oh man, that brings back memories of my youth. My mom actually broke out math sheets at home to keep us sharp with numbers. I did fairly well and I do like numbers, but when it gets complicated with angles and fractions...... uh..... yeah. Give me a cook book and I can double or even triple a recipe without making mistakes. As an avid reader I am so much better with words and would be much comfortable with a spelling bee!

Brenda said...

Math is not on my "fun" list. If I can't use a calculator, I'm out.

Elizabeth Maths said...

Very interesting article!!
I'd like to comment that SAT math test takers maybe find helpful the new SAT math forum at SAT math 4u