Saturday, December 5, 2009

attracted to the magnet?

so, you are attracted to the magnet program... well, today i went to richard montgomery high school to take the high school magnet test. this is for all you people out there, who were like me, who are stressing about the test and wondering why there is no good info on the magnet site. well, i'm about to give you some good info from my own experience.

just some suggestions on what to bring
i am basically about to tell you what i brought today, using some tips from my SAT book.
  1. make sure you wear layers; i wore 3. you never know what the temperature might be. some rooms might be cold and some might be hot.
  2. bring a pencil pouch so you can carry all of your stuff. take a big eraser (you might need it for the essay), some dull and some sharp #2 pencils (dull pencils are good for bubbling answers quickly, and sharp pencils are good for writing the essay)
  3. if you have a phone, bring it. they will make you turn it off during testing, but after it's over, it's helpful to call your parents. trust me, there is a whole swarm of parents waiting for their kids.
the process
when you first get to the school, the volunteers take you to a classroom with desks in rows. there are about 30 people in each room. you take the multiple choice test for 2 hours.after that, you get a so called "break" where you get up and walk around for a while. you then have unlimited time to write a one-sided page essay to a prompt. when they said "unlimited," i was imagining people who stay for hours upon hours... do you think there are those people?

the dreaded... test
the test is all multiple choice (not including the essay which i will talk about later). questions 1-60 are reading and questions 61-110 are math. they give both sections to you in the same booklet. you can start with either section, switch between sections, and spend any amount of time on each section.
i must say, the most boring part was reading the 5 passages in the reading section. 3 times i felt my eyelids slowly closing, so i had to jerk them wide open and focus intensely (that didn't work out so well for me). i swear i could've fallen asleep right there, reading about some fireball that i can't remember the name of now...

verbal section
  • 1/4 of the problems-- word selection (choose a word that best replaces a word in a sentence)
  • 1/4 of the problems-- logical reasoning (you know, those questions that make your brain ache, like: bill is 5'6''. jack is shorter than bill. jack is sitting to the left of amy. amy is sitting to the right of bill. jane is the shortest. the tallest person is sitting 2 from the right. who is the tallest person?)
  • 1/2 of the problems-- reading comprehension (you read 5 passages and answer a few questions about each)
math section
  • 1/4 of the problems-- quantitative comparisons (compare two number values)
  • 3/4 of the problems-- math problems (just your average algebra problems)
the essay
on the magnet application packet, it says you will get 30 minutes to write the essay. but, we actually got unlimited time. hmm...

according to the test prep booklet (link at the bottom of the page) on the 2003 test the essay prompt was:
Mark Twain, American author and humorist, once wrote, “Work and play
are words used to describe the same thing under differing circumstances.”
Is school work or play for you? Why? Use examples from your academic
life to support your position in a coherent, meaningful, brief essay.

today, the essay prompt was:
"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority." -Ken Blanchard. Do you agree or disagree with Blanchard's statement?

so there are some example of essay prompts to be prepared for.

on a final note
don't be nervous. it really isn't that hard of a test. the only hard part is the time limit. make sure that you pace yourself. remember to consider the time you need to read the reading passages! also, like you've probably heard, if you don't know the answer to a question, skip it, and move on the questions you DO know the answer to. the test prep booklet says that they don't take off points for wrong answers. that means that if you don't know the right answer, just guess.
if you need any extra info, here is the magnet test prep booklet:

good luck!


Louisa said...

I think it's nice that they give you unlimited time for the essay. But really there is a limit. It's the limit of your patience after a 2 hr test. For your generation, that probably is about half an hour.
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Oh hey. I am taking the magnet test soon for RM and Blair. I was wondering if you got into either of those programs?

Carlos said...


I am taking this test the coming week and I am a bit intimidated about the test. Is the test exactly the same as a SAT or PSAT and the same difficulty (aside from quntiative comparisons and logical reasoning)? IS there Algebra 2 on the test? Thank you!


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