> I mentioned "precalculus" only to describe the test. I think > the idea (giving students a precalc diagnostic test) is spot > on. I am just amazed that MIT freshmen are having so much > trouble with it. MIT still describes itself as a technical > school seeking technical applicants. I would have given this > test as part of the application process, not after.
I also think the topics asked about are fine, except I might possibly want to include more geometry and trigonometry problems, especially those that are less computationally focused and more on being able to grasp and make use of symmetry and things like the employment of auxiliary lines, except in doing so the test becomes more focused on potential than on background knowledge (and my understanding is that the test is mainly to test background knowledge). To me, asking questions like this of MIT admits is like asking qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (mid to low 2:20's, 5:20 to 5:30 mile pace) to take a stress test before being allowed to compete in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Or asking that the qualifiers for the NCAA Nationals in tennis get signed permission forms attesting to their ability to obtain a tennis racket to use during the tournament.