Tuesday, February 14

L.E.T.T.E.R.S. not numbers

Tomorrow is my "testing appointment" at the new potential employer. Before the appointment though, it was requested that I fill out a couple online applications and tests. The application stuff was easy; all they wanted was my educational background and my most recent work experience. But the testing portion, well, it included the vocabulary portion, which was easy, and personality assessment, which was quick. And then there was a more mathematical portion, where I had to figure out which number came next in the sequence, how many of what fit into how many of it, and my god, there were word problems. Also, some mechanical questions. It's quite obvious that the test was built for people in every field, for every facet of the company, which explains the math and mechanical questions.
The human resources person sent me a couple documents with the appointment confirmation e-mail, which included the directions to the building and sample test questions similar to what I should get during my testing appointment. Frighteningly, the test information page began with this: Applicants at So-and-So Company must complete our pre-employment testing. The logic and aptitude test contains three timed sections. All questions are multiple choice. The test is not designed for you to finish.  DO NOT GUESS!!!  To get practice on Sections 1 & 2, reference a book at your local library, Air Traffic Controller Exam.
Right?!?! Air traffic controller exam?!?!
Really, it gets better. This begins the second page of the test information document: We have found that most people need to review algebra word problems before testing at So&So. Below are some examples of typical word problems. Work these without a calculator, as you will not be able to use one on the test. The answers are at the bottom of the page.
That page, referred to just above, is titled "Practice Algebra Questions." On it are nine word problems, multiple-choice answers, and they're all crazy. I mean, really. Algebra? Ridiculous. Lest we forget, I needed a tutor to get through high-school algebra, and it took me two tries to get through college algebra. I write because language and its complexities and beauty come naturally to me. I do not do math. I do not like math. Algebra is funky math that's even more confusing. 
Some of the sample questions: The length of the shadow of a flagpole was found to be 72 feet. The shadow of a 3-foot picket fence in line with the flagpole was 4 feet. What is the height of the flagpole? ... If a boat goes downstream 72 miles in 3 hours and upstream 60 miles in 6 hours, the rate of the river and the rate of the boat in still water respectively are ________? ... A certain sum of money is invested at 10%.  Twice that amount is invested at 8%.  The total amount of interest from both investments is $91.  How much is invested at 8%.
How crazy would it be for me to not get a WRITING job because I failed the MATH test?

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