Most Likely to Succeed – On The Need For The Quadratic Equation

One thing I like about Most Likely to Succeed is the authors’ challenging of some the traditional yet mudane requirements of school, particularly high school curriculum. Students spend countless  hours, days and/ weeks, trying to memorize hundreds of words and solve complex and complicated math problems for the SAT.  Colleges think that this is a testimony of how successful a studnet would be at their institution. College Board and colleges pay no mind to whether the information is useful or not. I think it maybe good for some students, who want and like that level of technical knowledge because, perhaps they want to pursue a career as a mathematician. But, for someone like me, I hated my pre-calculus class. Generally speaking, I never cared too much for math and while I think students should be exposed to all that is out their, I would have preferred to have not been judged by my inability to command something-a-little-more-than-basic-level geometry and algebra. I majored in English, loved my Economics and Theology courses and wrote for my school’s newspaper. I read 2-3 books a month and read countless articles in that time period. I hardly (if ever) use anything beyond simple equations. My livelihood doesn’t depend on anything beyond that. I’d like to go to graduate school for Ed Policy, so I’m studying for the GRE studying. The math portion is very similar to tge SAT. GRE I’ve looked at some of the content  to cover in preparation for the SAT, and all I do is look as the words o problems and think to myself, “Oh, that looks familiar.” But I couldn’t recall any of it…I hadn’t used it since high school (my college required one math or computer science class; I opted for the near mathless computer science class). 

I’m happy with my non math-related job, a feeling I didn’t feel when I was forcing myself to remeber the volume of a cylinder, which is V = Pi(r^2)(h).

Dintersmith and Wagner try to re-imagine the time spent on complex math problems and needless never-used-again SAT words. If could have taken a tested my mastery if the most necessary math skills, while challenging my well rounded and well-read reading and writing abilities, I think I would’ve been a better individual.


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