Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Testing, One, Two, Three

Hubby recently printed some tests from the Ohio State University. Their purpose is to test cognitive impairment in the elderly. The SAGE tests are designed specifically to detect early signs of memory and thinking difficulties and lets you know how well your brain is functioning. They can be found at this site.


We discussed the tests and he gave me examples of some of the questions.

``If you buy $13.45 in groceries, how much change would you get from a $20 bill?``

I was quickly able to calculate this without using paper or pencil. It occurred to me that many people can`t do it even without any cognitive or memory issues. I gratefully recalled and recounted my elementary school years.

``When I was in school we used to have something called mental math. I hated it. The teacher would give us a sheet of paper. We`d number it from 1-10. Then she would read math questions aloud and we had to quickly calculate the answer in our heads and write it on the page.``

I remember that I found it a struggle at first. I was not always very successful, although I gradually improved. I was proud when I eventually managed to raise my meager score to an 8, 9 or occasional 10.  I now know that this activity did not address my learning style. In fact, this method was the worst way to help me learn and process information.  Having said that, however, I appreciate being forced to do this in my early years. Through continued practice I learned to compensate and create my own strategies for success. Instead of panicking I realized that I really needed to listen and concentrate (always a challenge for me...ADD are my middle initials) and visualize the problem in different ways in order to solve it. Sometimes, I`d visualize for so long that I missed the next two questions, but eventually my speed and ability caught up with most of the rest of the class.

I suppose at least in my case, there is something to be said for the sort of structure, skills and organization that certain tasks and tests have given me beginning in my younger years. Often we acquire skills which we can use throughout our lives. I certainly appreciate being`easily able to pass this test entitled ``How Well Are You Thinking?`` 

So? How well are you thinking?

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