Yikes! CSET Math

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by DancingBear, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    I'm freaking out! I just registered for the CSET Math Subtest 1 for January 20, and now it is very real that I have a month to cram for it! I've been planning on this for months and I started studying in October, little bits a time, but now I need to really kick it into high gear! It's a good thing that I'm on vacation for a couple of weeks. I'm a non-math major who last studied math about 10 years go in college, so I've got a lot of work to do. I will probably be on here with all sorts of questions over the next few weeks!
     
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  3. emmett14

    emmett14 Rookie

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    CSET math

    It is not so bad. Just find a pre-calculus book and do all of the problems. Don't worry about the abstract algebra stuff - it is only a small part of the test. I passed the test the first time and I still don't know what a "ring" is!

    Caroline
     
  4. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    I would say don't freak out, but don't think it is simple either. A healthy dose of anxiety is probably sound, as long as it prompts you to study more and not procrastinate. I was in your situation as well...crammed for approximately 6 weeks about 10-15 hours the first couple of weeks and then about 20 hours per week for the last month.

    Good luck!
     
  5. slywilcox

    slywilcox New Member

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    Dec 21, 2006

    You took a very good first step in only attempting 1 test at a time. It is how I approached my tests and was successful. I treated them like finals and prepared accordingly. Many math books and practice are the key.
     
  6. Teacher2007

    Teacher2007 Rookie

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    Dec 25, 2006

    Dancing Bear,
    I took both subtest I and II back in November and did not pass either. I studied from the online program "Ace the CSET," as well as a few of the Shaum's quick review guides and did not find it helpful as the test material was much more difficult. I came very close to passing Subtest II, but felt that I needed a whole new way to study.

    So, this time, I'm only taking one subtest at a time... although it may be possible to complete 2 or more, if you are amazing, I was personally just burned out after 5 hours of math.

    I recently purchased the study guides from Orange County Office of Education and they look pretty good. There are actual problems worked out as well as lessons. It is the most impressive study material I've seen so far. I'm planning on cramming for Subtest II over the next couple of days, so I can keep you (and others) updated on my thoughts. If I were you, I would send in a check and order it ASAP though, as it takes about 1.5 wks to get to you. It is pretty reasonable priced at $35/subtest for a study guide.

    I found that I wasted more time online, looking for tips, than I did actually studying, so I hope you don't fall into that trap. Good luck!
     
  7. hellokitty

    hellokitty Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2006

    Hi,
    I am new new...CSET test taker. Just about to study but have difficulty in choosing guide book. Appreciate if you could share some ideas or books.
    thanks !
     
  8. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Right now I am working through all of the problems in the Shaum's precalculus book.

    Teacher 2007, those study guides sound like a good price and I think I've heard about them before. Do you think it would be worth buying the one for subtest I when I have only until Jan. 20? It sounds like it might not get here until the week before I take the test, with the holiday and all. Right now I think the precalculus book is the best I have for the test content. I have more algebra textbooks to refer to, but they are either too easy or too advanced to focus on for the test content.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    hellokitty, are you taking CSET single subject math, or CSET multiple subjects, or what? You've posted in a threads for both, but the tests vary quite widely in what they cover.
     
  10. hellokitty

    hellokitty Rookie

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    I will be takin the multiple subjects one...thanks
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Then if I were you I would forget that this thread even exists. This is for single subject math, which is a very, very different animal altogether than is the math in CSET-MS.
     
  12. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Schaum's Precalculus is what I used for the bulk of my preparation for CSET Math Subtest 1. You will also need a little (very little) group theory and some number theory (mostly the properties of integers and reals). Only ten years out of school? Should be no sweat. I was 30 years out when I took it. All it takes is appropriate preparation.
     
  13. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Thanks, Malcolm. That makes me feel better. My goal is to get through the whole precalculus book, but I still have a long way to go!
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 30, 2006

    I love precalc; let me know if I can be of any help!
     
  15. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Dec 30, 2006

    You won't need to study the chapters on analytic geometry and related things like conic sections for Subtest 1. They will show up on Subtest 2. Be sure to check what you are doing against the requirements in the Subtest Description to be sure you don't waste any precious time studying something that will not be on the subtest you take. If it isn't in the Subtest Description, or implied by it, it won't be on the test.
     
  16. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Good point, Malcolm. Now that I really look through it, I think there's quite a bit in the book that I don't need to know. The first time I read through the test description, it didn't mean much to me since I hadn't seen this stuff in so long. Now I have a better idea, but I have some questions for you (or anyone else who has taken the test):

    1) You said that things like anaytic geometry and conic sections will be on Subtest II, but I don't see anything like that in the test description. What category would the fall under?
    2) Do I need to learn the trigonometric functions, graphs of trigonometric functions, angles, trigonometric identities and equations, triangles, etc.? If not for Subtest I, do I need it for Subtest II?
    3) Here are a few other things in my book that aren't specifically in the test description. Are any of these important? Transformations and graphs (horizontal shifting, stretching, and compression), polor coordinates, parametric equations, loci, parabolas, ellipses, hyperbolas, rotation of axes, sequences and series. Some seem like they may be important, but like you siad, I don't have time to waste on things that aren't on the test.

    Thanks so much!!!
     
  17. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Dec 31, 2006

    Analytic geometry is also called coordinate geometry. It is referenced as that under Plane Euclidean Geometry in the Subtest Description for Subtest 2. So are the trigonometric ratios, the Law of Sines, and the Law of Cosines. Transformations are what the section on Transformational Geometry is all about.

    I think a made a mistake about conic sections. It has been over a year since I took Subtests 1 and 2 and my memory is beginning to fade a bit. Ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas are covered in Subtest 1 IIRC. Besides looking at the Subtest Descriptions, you also need to look up the referenced parts of the California Content Standards for Mathematics in Public Schools. Algebra II, Standard 17 is the one that speaks to this. The referenced Content Standards tell a lot more about the exam than you will get just reading the Subtest Description.

    BTW for Subtest 2, make sure you get a calculator that is on the approved list, and learn how to use it, including regressions, chi square, etc., before the day of the test. It is amazing, but folks show up with unapproved calculators and wind up with none because they are not allowed to use them, or show up with an approved calculator they just bought or borrowed and don't know how to use.
    Sure, you can do a regression or chi square with nothing more than a calculator with a square root key. But it is a lot faster and less error prone to use the built in capabilities of a calculator.
     
  18. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    OK, I'll start today by going through all the referenced standards.

    I bought a TI 83 from the approved list because it's exactly like the one I had in high school, but I need to relearn how to use it. Right now I have no idea what those functions are you're talking about! I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed.

    Malcolm, any suggestions on books or study guides to use for Subtest II? I was considering buying one of those study guides from the Orange County Department of ED as well as textbooks.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  20. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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    Click here for a CSET-specific link for the TI-83 [and 83+] commands.

    I agree that Conic Sections are indeed part of the Subtest I; however, lately, they've been prominently examined in Subtest II under the guise of "locus"...and less so in Subtest I. However, parabolas [and quadratic functions, in general] are strong Subtest I topic candidates! My recommendation: keep ellipses and hyperbolas for the end!

    Re trigonometry, basic concepts - definitions of ratios, common ratios of the following acute angles - 0, 30, 45, 60 degrees - ought to be known for vectors: finding the direction of a vector, angle between 2 vectors, etc.

    For Subtest II, only Right Triangle trigonometry is evaluated...The more intimidating stuff [?!] is preserved for Subtest III!

    Transformations and graphs are fair game - it's an exceedingly simple and elegant concept useful for graphing more complicated functions based on the "family of basic graphs": ergo, not much time need be devoted!

    NO!! for parametric functions and polar coordinates; and rotation of axes for Conic Sections.

    Sequence and Series, and Binomial Theorem are indeed required for Subtest I.

    For a general overview of CSET Singgle Subject Math Subtests, click here...

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     
  21. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jay is spot on as usual. Check out his site.

    For Subtest 2, all you need to know is in Schaums Geometry, the relevant parts of Schaums Precalculus and Barron's EZ-101 Statistics.
     
  22. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Jan 1, 2007

    I take back what I said about not needing a lot of what is in my precalculus book. Now that I have gone through every single standard, highlighted them in my math framework, and compared them to the book, I still need to know almost all of it for Subtest I.

    I discoved today that I already bought Schaums Geometry and I found an old Stats book, so that's a good start.
     
  23. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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    Jan 1, 2007

    What is NOT required from a Precalculus text:

    * Trigonometry more sophisticated than ordinary ratios and knowledge of sin / cos / tan of 0-30-45-60-90
    * Probability
    * Rotation of Axes re Conics.

    There it is!

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com

    PS. In addition, Abstract Algebra and Number Theory (esp. Euclid's Algorithm) are firmly in the Subtest I bailiwick...
     
  24. emmett14

    emmett14 Rookie

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    Jan 1, 2007

    Hello All!

    I took Subtest II back in November and I clearly remember some probability questions on the test. I even think that there was a long answer question about a complicated probability problem. I took Subtest I and II and passed them the first time and now I am studying for Subtest III. My undergraduate degree is in Biology and I started a graduate program in Chemistry. I became pregnant while in the program, so I had to drop out. Now I would like to teach either high school math or chemistry. Any ideas about how to pass the third subtest would be much appreciated! Good luck to you all!

    Caroline
     
  25. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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    Jan 1, 2007

    To clarify: MY reference was to Precalculus concepts re Subtest I!

    Probability is embedded in Subtest II, though that would be something I'd recommend a elementary / intermediate Statistics text for...

    Re Subtest III,

    * study the Trigonometry sections of a regular Precalculus text...

    * for the Calculus portion itself, any school / college [First Semester] Calculus book should suffice - here are some recommendations, otherwise! - and focus on Limits, Continuity, Differentiability, Simple Derivatives [NOTHING remotely complex!], Implicit Differentiation, Applications [Related Rates & Curve Sketching: Maxima-minima / Points of Inflexion], Riemann Sums, Simple Definite Integrals [NOTHING remotely complex!], Taylor & Maclaurin Series

    Subtest III is, arguably, the easiest of the lot!

    For more pointers, click here and here...

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     
  26. emmett14

    emmett14 Rookie

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    Jan 2, 2007

    I stand corrected. Thanks for the info on the third subtest. I took up through Linear Algebra in college, so I think I will be OK if I study enough. It's been about eight years since I've been in school. It's all new to me again!

    Caroline
     
  27. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Malcolm, it turns out Analytic Geometry is included in the standards in the test description for Subtest I - Geometry 17.0. Jay, I notice this isn't on your list of covered standards on your website. It's also listed with Subtest II. Is it more likely to come up on Subtest II, or should I devote some time to it now?
     
  28. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    You need to take everything in context. Geometry 17 is referenced only under Algebraic Sturctures in the Subtest Description for subtest 1. And it only refers to proving simple theorems using coordinate geometry. This is only a tiny part of analytic geometry. And frankly, I am not quite sure why it is even included here because I have never talked to anyone who has seen something remotely like this on subtest 1. The real analytic geometry shows up in subtest 2, where it belongs. Think of the referenced standards as clarifying what is specified in the Subtest Description rather than adding to them and I think you will be in good shape.
     
  29. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    IMHO subtest 3 is indeed the easiest. The hard part is math history. They take 5000 years of math history and roll it into a half dozen MC questions and one CR questions. If you are lucky, they ask you about something you know. If not, it is still not too bad because it is only a small part of your overall score.
     
  30. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    Well, I have been studying as much as possible and have come to accept the fact that there is no way for me to pass Subtest I next weekend! I know I can do it with more time to prepare, but I see now that this is going to require a lot more time than I anticipated. I feel that to be really prepared I would need several more months to study. However, my goal was to pass in time to apply for a new job for next year (as soon as I pass I'll be credentialed because it's my second credential). So, with the next tests being in March, May, and July, now I don't know what to do. My original plan was to take Subtest I now and Subtest II in March. I guess in order of having any chance of passing in time to get a new job, I have to do everything by May. Even then it may be too late. So, I'm thinking maybe I should plan to take Subtest I again in March, rather than Subtest II, so that I can just continue with what I have been studying, and then take Subtest II in May. The thing is, I don't even know if I can be prepared for Subtest I with two more months of study time, and prepared for Subtest II two months after that!!! Sigh. I don't know what to do. If I'm going to end up staying in my current job for another year, I might want to just give myself more time, study all summer, and take them in the fall or something.
     
  31. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    For most math jobs, you just need the Foundational-level Math credential. That is just Subtest 1 and Subtest 2. You only need the full math credential to teach classes like statistics and calculus. And you aren't going to be teaching those as a new math teacher. The folks with seniority will have taken those.

    FWIW a lot of districts are having a hard time finding enough math teachers. And beginning with the 2007 school year, they will all have to be NCLB compliant. My guess is that you can take your last subtest during the July administration and still land a job teach math for the fall.
     
  32. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Jan 14, 2007

    Jobs start getting posted early on, but many jobs, especially in high need areas (ie math) have late openings. Also, I know in my school district many jobs posted after school began because of increased enrollment. So, study hard and still plan to take the test if you can, even in July. Just make sure you have all your paperwork ready to go so when you get the passing grade you can start applying.

    Also, easy to say for me, since I don't have to take the test, but aside from family commitments, studying for these tests should probably take priority over pretty much anything else in your life...I hope that doesn't sound harsh, but if you're really serious, you can do it...you just have to work hard for it. But, it will be worth it.

    Good luck.
     
  33. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    I know, I have no intention of taking Subtest III! I just want a middle school position.
     
  34. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Can you take a day or two off and just study non-stop this week? Not recommended normally but you have to do what you have to do...You never know. Also, sometimes you have to rely on luck. For subtest II I happened to review a CR problem the morning of the test, and happened to get the exact same one on the test...

    So, prepare as hard as you can this week and do the best you can. Make the most of the opportunity you have. Good luck!
     
  35. DancingBear

    DancingBear Rookie

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    I already have Monday off for the holiday and Friday I have to take off to take care of my husband when he has oral surgery, so I have that time. But I'm telling you, it would take a miracle for me to pass this time around. There's so much content I haven't gotten to yet, and I'm especially unprepared for the open response questions. But, I'm still plugging away.
     
  36. innovationguy

    innovationguy Cohort

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    The duration for preparation for Subtest I, unsurprisingly, depends on one's familiarity with advanced Algebra and middle-school Math teachers [current / prospective] aren't terribly proficient in High School / College level Precalculus - the assumption, after all, is: why would I need it if I'm teaching Middle School?!!

    That said, if studying individually is a frightful chore, form a study group if possible (though it's hard to find chaps in the neighbourhood / area in a like situation... I would have imagined that "advertising" on this Forum to seek fellow pilgrims worshiping at the same CSET shrines would be more widespread)!

    Break the entire course / syllabus into chunks, prepare a detailed plan to cover a certain number of sections each week, and come hell or high water, resolve to accomplish your objectives. Needless to say - and yet I say it! - sacrifices shall have to be made: get up earlier / sleep later, study when others are yet to awake! Put in ~2-3 hours daily and ~4 on weekends. Curtail customary diversions: fun and frolic can be had once the Subtests have been surmounted...

    Alternately, hire an accomplished tutor or get somebody from the state university in advanced Math classes as an instructor. You shall make much quicker progress!

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     
  37. symplkiss

    symplkiss Rookie

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    Jan 15, 2007

    Need answers quick!

    Hi everyone! i registered to take all three subtests of the single subject math cset this saturday jan. 20 (how crazy am i huh?:( ) and im cramming as i type right now. Can someone tell me if there are any application type of problems on any of the subtests? I know my concepts but applying it to a real life situation and work it out through there, i'm a little shaky. Also, i have a hard time finding answers to what are groups, rings and fields (subtest I), what exactly do they mean by knowing those definitions? anywhere i can get examples of the type of questions that they'll ask about them? :thanks:
     
  38. symplkiss

    symplkiss Rookie

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    Hi, i was curious on what you studied exactly that ended up as one of the CR questions for subtest II? I'm studying off of the actual cset website, I printed all of their sample questions for all the subtests and studying just based on that, is that the best way to go? I have my test this saturday
     
  39. innovationguy

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    Jan 15, 2007

    To address both your concerns:

    Depending on the concept, real-life applications DO make their way into the CSET Qs. Naturally, some concepts - like quadratic functions, systems of equations, etc. lend themselves more readily than others. Here are a couple of examples, for purely illustrative purposes:

    MCQ Subtest I: A fighter pilot is flying along a route described by the curve y = f(x). If a anti-aircraft battery is located at P(x1, y1), then at what position shall the plane be nearest to the battery?

    Free Response Subtest I: A window is in the shape of an equilateral triangle atop a square / rectangle. What should the dimensions of the window be that maximum light might be allowed?

    MCQ Subtest II: There are x T-shirts in a pile of which p are Large, q are Medium and the rest are Small. A fellow wants 3 T-shirts, one of each kind and delves into the pile extracts one T-shirt after another. What is the probability that he shall be unsuccessful in his quest?

    Free Response Subtest II: A child is constructing a cardboard decoration which is in the shape of a flat n-sided regular convex polygon to be cut from a circle of radius, r. How much material shall be discarded?

    Re groups, rings and fields, the Qs are - not surprisingly - rather abstract but wikipedia's articles on the topics are 1st-rate! [Click on the afore-mentioned links!]. Otherwise,
    Schaum's Abstract Algebra by Frank Ayres is a good text - study Euclid's Algorithm: you're practically assured of 1 Q [MCQ or Free Response on it!].

    I wish you well! I took all 3 Subtests in Jan of '03 - the very 1st instance of the test, and emerged triumphant! So it can be done...

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     
  40. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jan 15, 2007

    IMHO the best way to prepare for CSET math is to start with the Subtest Descriptions and the referenced Mathematics Content Standards for California Public Schools. If it is in those, or implied by those, then it could be on the test. If it is not, it won't be on the test. If you are just using the Sample Test as a guide, I think you are going to be in for a surprise. It is there to show you what the questions will be like, not necessarily everything that could be on the test.

    When I took Subtest 2 there were geometric proofs, a Chi-square problem, and a linear regression problem in the CR section. You may or may not see any of what I saw. The test changes from administration to administration. Certain types of questions disappear for a while then return. Others seem to go away. And new ones get introduced.

    It is possible to pass all three subtests in one sitting. Jay did it. But most people who are not math majors cannot. IMHO two are doable if you are well prepared. But IMHO it is best for most folks to do them one at a time if their schedule permits. FWIW I productively spent about 4 hours on each subtest.

    You will get Subtest 2 first because you are allowed to use a calculator on it, and only it. When you are done with it, the proctor will give you the other two subtests. You will have to manage your time carefully and probably have to make strategic decision about whether to blow off one or more tests, or blow off certain questions in a given test.

    The first few chapters of any textbook on abstract algebra will explain groups, rings and fields. Schaum's Group Theory does, too. It is Jay's stated opinion that you should just blow off preparing for group theory because it is a very small portion of the subtest, and spend your time on something more productive. I am not sure I agree, but he has a point.
     
  41. innovationguy

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    Jan 15, 2007

    Test-strategy-wise, "commit" on passing the 1st Subtest ABSOLUTELY [which would be Subtest II, always administered first since calculators are permitted only for this exam], and time permitting, the 2nd, too [select Subtest I, since in conjunction with II, it shall enable a Foundation Credential] rather than doing a bit of ALL 3!

    A bit of a reality check: unless you're a recent Math / Science / Engineering major OR your preparation has been VERY rigourous, otherwise, if it's been awhile since a "hard-core" Math test was taken, you shall likely require ~ 3+ hours per Subtest as many Qs test familiar concepts but in rather novel imaginative ways...

    Jay.
    http://innovationguy.easyjournal.com
     

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