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Test Prep News: LSAT requirement to be retained Fri, 22 Mar 2013 14:49:34 +0000

ABA votes to retain requirement of “valid and reliable admissions test” (usually #LSAT )… to accredit #lawschools

— LSAT PREParation (@LSATPreparation) March 21, 2013

Although the LSAT does not include math, we have noted that math students tend to to score higher on the LSAT. The Logic Games section on the LSAT is conceptually similar to the skills taught in math courses.

In 2011 the American Bar Association considered  whether the LSAT should be required. There was some suggestion that the GRE could be used as a substitute for the LSAT.

The speculation recently came to an end. It appears that the status quo has been retained. For the moment either the LSAT or another valid admissions test is required for law school admissions.

Toronto LSAT courses are available in varying durations and formats.


Test Prep News: Change coming to SAT Reasoning Test Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:57:48 +0000

Change is coming to the #SAT…

— SAT Reasoning Prep (@SATPrep) March 22, 2013

Those applying to U.S. colleges and universities know that the SAT includes a heavy math component. The math tested on the SAT includes a number of different formats and concepts.

SAT math tutoring and SAT prep classes are readily available in Toronto.

In any case, change is on the horizon. What the new SAT will look like is anybody’s guess.



Study math! Score higher on LSAT GMAT and GRE Fri, 15 Mar 2013 14:22:24 +0000 Those who are considering law school, an MBA or graduate school will be required to take one or more of the LSAT, GMAT or GRE. You can wait until test time to prepare or you can study math along the way. Although math is not on the LSAT in the sense of being tested directly, is is on the GMAT, GRE and SAT (for those attending U.S. colleges).

Just one more of the many benefits of studying math!





Shortage of good math teachers in the UK Sun, 03 Mar 2013 11:34:31 +0000

Shortage of math teachers in the UK – and a shortage of good math teachers around the world!…

— Math Magic (@MathMagic) March 3, 2013


Is there math on the LSAT? Sat, 06 Oct 2012 12:50:34 +0000  

Strictly speaking there is no math on the LSAT. But, those who do well in math will do well on the LSAT. LSAT Logic games tests many of the skills that are important for doing well in math. The LSAT does require you to perform basic deductive reasoning which is at the heart of math. Maybe a good math review would be good “mind training” for the LSAT. Interestingly, the PATI (test for Toronto Police Force) contains both math and syllogisms questions. The analytical reasoning Peel Police Test, like LSAT Logic Games, tests deductive reasoning.

Is there math on the LSAT? Sat, 06 Oct 2012 12:06:17 +0000


Strictly speaking there is no math on the LSAT. But, those who do well in math will do well on the LSAT. LSAT Logic games tests many of the skills that are important for doing well in math. The LSAT does require you to perform basic deductive reasoning which is at the heart of math. Maybe a good math review would be good “mind training” for the LSAT. Interestingly, the PATI (test for Toronto Police Force) contains both math and syllogisms questions. The analytical reasoning Peel Police Test, like LSAT Logic Games, tests deductive reasoning.



Math Matters – Students to get help now! Sun, 20 May 2012 23:38:36 +0000 Interesting article by Louise Brown.–growing-number-of-ontario-college-students-need-help-in-grade-school-math-study-finds

Growing number of Ontario college students need help in grade school math, study finds

May 19, 2012

Louise Brown

Education Reporter


Thousands of first-year students at Ontario community colleges are taking catch-up courses in basic math skills — fractions, decimals, percentages — that they should have learned in grades 6, 7 and 8, according to an alarming new study.

The findings raise questions about the quality of math instruction in Ontario and reflect a broader public indifference to math that could be hampering economic growth and blocking students from lucrative careers, warn the authors of the College Mathematics Project, a joint study by York University and Seneca College of 35,000 students who take math in first-year college.

The report calls on Queen’s Park to consider a mandatory Grade 10 numeracy test like the Grade 10 literacy test, and even have student teachers write the test if they wish to teach math.

“We’re expressing concern that 8,300 students are taking preparatory and foundational math in first-year college, but the vast majority cover concepts introduced in grades 6, 7 and 8,” said co-author Graham Orpwood, professor emeritus of math at York University who has been involved with the seven-year study sponsored by the province.

A growing number of community colleges — including most in the GTA — offer catch-up courses for first-year students who are weak in math but need it for their field. Others offer broad first-year “foundation” programs such as pre-business and pre-technology that include math review.

When researchers looked to see which elements of grades 11 and 12 math these courses covered, they were startled to find concepts from back in grade school. Yet these college students have graduated from high school with at least three math credits.

How can that add up?

“Interesting question — but remember, you can get a credit with a mark of 50 per cent, and maybe these students are strong enough in areas such as geometry to balance out their weakness in arithmetic,” Orpwood suggested.

“To be fair, not all students in the foundation programs are weak in math, but the number of students who need the preparatory programs is growing and that’s a concern,” noted co-author Laurel Schollen, Seneca College’s associate vice-president academic, educational excellence.

Education Minister Laurel Broten was not available Friday to comment on the study, but noted Ontario’s Grade 8 students outperform the Canadian average in math, reading and science and Ontario students have seen scores climb in province-wide math tests.

Still, when the college study examined 19 pre-technology foundation programs and 11 in pre-business, it found every one reviewed the “order of operations” for algebra first taught in Grade 6 (the memory trick is BEDMAS; do what’s in brackets first, then exponents, then division, multiplication, addition and subtraction).

Moreover, all pre-business courses reviewed fractions, 91 per cent covered decimals and 82 per cent covered percentages.

Why are math skills so weak? Partly because we don’t value them as much as literacy, argued Orpwood.

“If you’re illiterate, it’s a matter of shame. But if you can’t do math, you brag about it — ‘I can’t do math and my kids can’t either,’ ” he said. “But we need to change this perception. We don’t believe there is a ‘math gene.’ Anyone can do math and everyone needs it. Math matters, that’s what the message needs to be.”

A Harvard University study estimates poor math skills in the United States could cost that country’s economy $75 trillion over the next 80 years. For individuals, math also pays; the report said workers in jobs that use math earn 26 per cent more than others.

This may help explain the shortage of math whizzes in teaching; they get snapped up by the more lucrative private sector.

“When I was at York’s faculty of education we never got enough teachers with math qualifications,” Orpwood recalled, and those who tried it sometimes didn’t like it.

“Many math specialists find it difficult to cope with people who don’t understand math as well as they do; it takes a great deal of patience and this is a problem facing countries around the world.”

Interestingly, the study also found students who have been out of school for a long time tend to outperform those whose high school math is fresher.

Among other ideas the report suggests Ontario explore;

•  Consider requiring Ontario to use math specialists to teach math at middle school, as in British Columbia and Alberta.

• Consider a numeracy test for student teachers, as introduced in England and Wales.

• Consider a public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of numeracy both to individuals and society as a whole.

Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover – check this out!! Thu, 26 Jan 2012 13:03:18 +0000

Why Alex can’t add (or subtract, multiply or divide) Fri, 16 Dec 2011 02:33:07 +0000 From Thursday’s Globe and Mail


A parent I know went to an information session about math at his kid’s school. After listening to the visiting curriculum expert explain how important it was for students to “understand” the concepts, he asked: “So, how important is it for them to learn the times tables?” The expert hemmed and hawed and wouldn’t give an answer.

Parents across Canada might be surprised to learn that the times tables are out. So are adding, subtracting and dividing. Remember when you learned to add a column of numbers by carrying a number over to the next column, or learned to subtract by borrowing, then practised your skills until you could add and subtract automatically? Forget it. Today, that’s known as “drill and kill,” or, even worse, “rote learning.” And we can’t have that.“The designers of the new curriculum have decided it would be a really good idea not to teach these things,” says Robert Craigen, an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Manitoba. He sat on the province’s math curriculum committee for years. Unfortunately, nobody was interested in what he had to say. So today, he’s got calculus students who never learned long division. “The undergirding motive is: We want to teach understanding, and all this mechanical detail gets in the way of understanding.”

The common methods used to add and subtract are known as standard algorithms. They are efficient and foolproof. But, instead of being taught these methods, students are encouraged to find “strategies,” such as breaking numbers into units of thousands, hundreds, tens and ones and working horizontally. It works, but it’s not efficient. And every time a student sees a new problem, he has to start from scratch – and pick his “strategy.” It’s like playing the piano without ever learning scales, or hockey without basic drills.

The loony thing is that Canada is way behind the times. After a decade of disastrous experimentation in the United States, this approach to math education has been repudiated. The leading U.S. heavyweights in math came out decisively against it in 2008. Sadly, it seems this news has not yet reached Canada. Here, curriculum developers and boards of education are pressing forward, undeterred by the objections of math experts or the bafflement of parents and children alike.

Maybe it’s all a plot by Kumon to drum up business. Kumon is a wildly popular chain of math-tutoring schools. It has 321 centres in Canada, with a total of 54,000 students. “I wait with many mothers and we talk about the education system,” one Kumon mother told me. “This group is, of course, very upset with the lack of basic knowledge taught in the public schools. Most are teaching math at home after dinner.”

Another parent says: “My son used to love math when it was just about numbers, but now that it’s all writing words and describing how he feels about triangles, he’s not so enthusiastic. The math teachers at the high school where my husband works grumble that Grade 9 students come in not knowing their basic facts well enough.”

Lots of teachers are upset, too. Here’s part of a letter to Anna Stokke, another math professor who, with Prof. Craigen, has launched a reform movement to restore some common sense to math education. (Their site,, is worth a visit.) “I feel what is occurring in the schools is almost criminal,” the teacher wrote. “The difficulty which faces me every day is that I am prevented from teaching the ‘basic skills’ to my students. … Math worksheets and drills are frowned upon. Written tests are a definite no-no. … Marks on report cards are not to be less than 50 per cent. … How can one teach algebra/fractions/per cent/ratios when the basic facts are lacking? How can one pursue higher-level problem-solving when the foundations of mathematics don’t exist?” But many teachers don’t know enough to be upset, because their grounding in math is dismal to begin with.

The biggest losers aren’t your kids, of course. The biggest losers are the kids of parents who can’t afford tutoring, or don’t have the time to teach them times tables, or don’t even know their kids need help. It’s called two-tier education. And it’s here.