Picking up where I left off a little while ago, the answer to SAT math trickery, part of the answer, is extinction learning.
"Extinction learning" means learning that what you've previously learned no longer applies.
Say you're a rat in a cage and the sound of a buzzer means you're 2 seconds away from receiving an electric shock. You learn this lesson very, very well.
Then one day, things change.
Now, under the new regime, the sound of a buzzer means a piece of kibble, or perhaps a morsel of cheese.
You -- the rat whose life fortunes have taken such a dramatic turn for the better -- don't just go with the flow. You don't hear the buzzer and say to yourself: Buzzer means kibble---oh, boy!
No. You remember the dark days when buzzer meant shock, and it will take time and many repetitions to learn that buzzer means kibble now. You will learn that buzzer means kibble now, but you will never forget the old days; buzzer means shock will always be with you. There's a saying that once you've scared a person or an animal, you can't unscare him, and that's true for many things, including a. When you've learned something very, very well, you can't unlearn it; you can't not know. You just have to learn the new thing on top of the old.
So say you're a high school senior and you have spent the last 4 years of your life seeing the letter a only in the context of the quadratic equation in its standard form: ax2 + bx + c = 0.
You are the rat, a is the buzzer, and buzzer means
Now it's senior year and you're taking the SAT -- a math section -- and time is running out. Your eyes are bleeding from the protracted Ella Baker critical reading passage you’ve just hacked and bashed your way through, your future is being decided and your fate being sealed -- and all of a sudden, here you are, staring at the letter a inside a quadratic function.
And you blow it.
You don't see that this a isn't the a you know.
Which is exactly the effect the question has been written to produce.
Getting late – will finish this up tomorrow.
I'm a 10
rat psych: what to do about SAT math (part 1)
rat psych: what to do about SAT math (part 2)
rat psych: what to do about SAT math (part 3)
rat psych: careless reading errors on the SAT