Student Reading: 911 Texting

I suppose this was inevitable, although its inevitability doesn’t make me any less intrigued by it. 911 texting is being rolled out in several places across the country. I can text a cabdriver (777222) to pick me up anywhere in San Diego, so why not have the ability place an emergency alert? Seems more important.

Read on for more information:

‘My house is on fire m8 lol” .. 911 texting tested in the US, by Shaun Nichols in The Register


Everything you want to know about the Math Level 2 Subject Test.

Lately I’ve been fielding all sorts of questions about the Math Level 2 Subject Test, as many of my students are wrapping up their Junior Year and want to know if this is another test they should be worrying about.

Let’s start with this: Most students shouldn’t take the Math Level 2 Subject Test. In fact, the only two reasons that determine if you should take it are:

1. It is required by a school you are interested in.

2. Your GPA is not as stellar as you want it to be (which is to say it is generally lower than the middle 50% of students as indicated on the website BigFuture).

If you do not satisfy either one of these, you should not take it.

The reason #2 is there? To prove academic ability. The more indicators you have of potential academic success, the better, especially in the case where your GPA is not one such indicator at a particular school.


So then, what’s the best way to study for it? 

Personally, I always recommend the Kaplan book. You can purchase it at a B&N or other book store too, but be careful to purchase Level 2. Level 1 is basically useless for our purposes, so please don’t waste your money.

Within the Kaplan book, they have a chart that features which question types appear most frequently on the test. The most frequent question type is Functions, then Algebra, and the list goes on.

Working in order from highest frequency to lowest frequency, take the diagnostic tests, timed. See how you do. Correct and reattempt the questions you’ve missed. Make sure you know how to do them before you go back and do the Follow-Up questions.

I would also recommend highlighting any formulas you know you will need so you can commit them to memory later.

And of course, you can take the practice tests in the Kaplan book, following up with the Official practice test available in the CollegeBoard book. Purchase this one if you are going to take any other subject tests, or this one if you’re only focusing on the Math subject test, as there is one additional math test in this one.


How long should this all take me? 

About 2 weeks. Plan it out so you’re regularly working through the materials. If you complete (and correct/reattempt) all the Kaplan Diagnostics, Followups, Practice Tests, and the Official Tests, you should be pretty happy with your score.

What’s a “good” score?

Any score above a 700 should help you out a bit, although of course, the higher you can get it, the better.

Any other questions?

Please let me know and I will answer them!


Student Reading: The ‘Chameleon’ Vine

This one is almost hard to believe! A vine has been discovered that mimics nearby plants. If it’s crawling up an elm tree, it will mimic the leaves of an elm. However, if another leaf is placed even closer to the vine than the elm tree, it will mimic that leaf! Wild. Scientists are still looking into this.


The Most Versatile Impressionist in the Forest, by Ed Yong in National Geographic


Student Reading: World Unprepared for Upcoming El Niño

Hi there!

Today’s science based passage is another one based on how crazy our weather has been lately, and a forecast of even crazier weather in our near future (read: this winter). For those of us in California, we’re expected to get more rain:

Extra water may sound good, because California has been hit by a severe drought. But the raised seas may combine with heavy El Niño rains to cause devastating floods, as happened to the San Francisco area in 1997-98.

For elsewhere, it looks like drought, wildfires,… bad news everywhere. Check it out to see if you’re on the list of impacted regions.


World is Unprepared for Major El Niño Later This Year, by Michael Slezak in New Scientist


Student Reading: Love on Facebook

Hello students! I’ve got a cool one today about what Facebook “sees” when you fall in love! Pretty cool, but if you’ve ever done it (fallen in love in the age of Facebook), it reads kind of like a “oh yes, yes that did happen!” article.

When You Fall in Love, This is What Facebook Sees, by Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic


While we’re at it: don’t forget to Like (love?) us on Facebook!