Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2014 Contents A25
Friday, May 16, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Last Friday, while T&Ts
adults were still reeling
from the crime film-style gun-
ning down of Dana Seetahal, the
country’s children were being
knocked right over by the Sec-
ondary Entrance Assessment
examination (formerly the 11-
Plus), a single morning of their
childhood which affects their
adult lives far more directly than
even Trinidad’s crime rate enter-
ing hyperspace: pass the SEA for
one of T&T’s few “prestige” sec-
ondary schools and the illusion
that you’re living in a civilised
place can be stretched for anoth-
er five years.
Pass for any other school and
the shocking, boldfaced crime
affects you directly, personally
and daily the moment you walk
through the school gate and have
your lunch money taken by a boy
with a bandana on his head, a
child-mother on the side and a
knife in his school bag. (In the
East-West Corridor, replace
“knife” with “Nines.”)
In sympathy with people whose
whole lives may have been decid-
ed at an age at which they
haven’t had their first pimple, I
begin my own 51-Plus exam
today, doing as much as I can
figure out of the maths section.
Next Friday, I’ll try what used
to be “English” and is now “lan-
guage arts” and finish with the
essay the following Friday. These
questions come from a recent
Guardian SEA practice test, with
the usual million thanks and
praises to Bernadette of the Edi-
Mathematics. 75 minutes.
Q1. What is the value of 8 in
the numeral 18,307?
Ah, yes, they always start with
an easy one, so the children who
will be squeegeeing windshields
for a living in September won’t
start feeling stupid immediately.
Q4. Round off 5,407 to the
The answer varies with the
child: if a grandson of Jack
Warner is answering, you might
find 5,407 “rounded off” to 6.4
million, the amount to which
Jack “rounded off” a firetruck
retrieval exercise from 20 grand;
if it’s a grandson of former Clico
jefe, Lawrence Duprey, it will be
rounded off to the cost of the
next venture, whatever it might
Q9. Write in the missing
numerator: 6/8 = _/24? Hmmm.
Could the answer be “a First
Citizens Bank employee/board
member” or “a prison litigator”?
They seem to be missing a few
numerators, if not opportunities
Q11. Write a mixed number for
the improper fraction 45/12?
Hmmm. Is the answer, “That
hot little Reds from Accounts?”
Most of the men in Stock Room
wouldn’t mind improperly frac-
Q15. James bought a pen for
$19.75 and paid with a $100 bill.
How much change should he
In a real country, it would be
$80.25; in Trinidad, it would be
either: nothing, because “You
give me a blasted $20, call the
firetrucking police if you want!”;
or $5 and a “Do something,
nuh!” stare; at best, the purchas-
er could hope for a dinner mint
instead of the 25 cents.
Q17. Identify the mode of the
following scores: 34, 45, 43, 53,
Must be the New Primary
School Maths; if the answer has
nothing to do with, “Yuh mode-
er,” it’s a mystery to me.
Q21. 12N = 132. What is the
value of N? OBVIOUSLY a whole
heap less than 132.
Q23. There are 36 plates in a
pack. How many plates are in 65
Duh-uh! Clearly there would
be 36 plates in each: look at your
own firetrucking first line!
Q31. There are six reserved
sections, each with the same
number of seats. There are 300
reserved seats in all. How many
are in each section?
The more important question
would be, “Why are Trinidadians
willing to pay increasingly larger
sums for six different fake “spe-
cial” sections, like “Reserved,”
“Special Reserved,” “VIP,” “Spe-
cial Reserved VIP,” “VVIP Spe-
cial-Special Reserved Platinum
VIP Special Reserved” and “Kes
Diffenthaller Dressing Room”?
Especially since there are usu-
ally far more people in the half-
dozen “special” areas than there
are in General Admission.
Q29. Catherine made chocolate
chip cookies using 2/3 cup of
brown sugar and 1⁄2 cup granu-
lated sugar. How much sugar did
she use in all?
Is this a “Language Arts” ques-
tion posing as a Maths one?
Brown sugar is granulated; in any
case, the answer is, “A higher
child obesity rate than the USA.”
Q30. June goes to the gas sta-
tion every Saturday. One week
she bought 15.6 litres of gasoline;
the next, she bought 14.5 litres
and, the third, she bought 12.8
litres. How much did she buy in
Does June not know she can
switch to a diesel-burning vehicle
and steal all the diesel she wants
in the Gulf of Paria? Even if
there are no fuel pirates cruising,
there will be an oil slick.
Q35. Mother has $270 in her
wallet. She withdrew some
money from the bank and then
had $1,650. How much did she
Depends on where Mother
lives; if it’s Laventille/Morvant,
she withdrew “all”; if it’s St
James, she withdrew “the rent
money”; if it’s Westmoorings, it’s
“dinner, no drinks”; if it’s tax-
payers’ money, the sum is too
small to register.
Q44. To make a pole, students
used cans 18cm tall. How many
cans did it take to make a 270cm
Send those dotish children to
one of Trinidad’s holding-cell
high schools: they could’ve cut
one length of bamboo instead of
trying to glue 15 tin cans togeth-
Q46. A spaceship travels 60
kilometres in six seconds. How
long will it take to travel 140km?
Depends on where it splashes
down: if it’s the Atlantic Ocean,
it will land in the calculated 14
seconds; if it’s splashing down on
the Eastern Main Road during a
school morning, however, it will
take four hours, 14 seconds from
That’s enough maths. Next
week, we do some martial arts
on the language arts.
BC Pires is not a door when he’s a
jar. Read more of his writing at
THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY
Links Archive May 15th 2014 May 17th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page