Shizzlin' the SATs

SAT prep has gone hip hop, reports Brad Kava in the San Jose Merc.

Defined Mind’s new 12-song CD is called a “vocabulary accelerator,” an SAT aid with songs that use 315 of the 2,000 words taught by the Kaplan Test Prep schools.

. . . Take the tune “Supergirl,” by trip-hop artists Lyle Beers and Adrienne Hecker: “I’m your Supergirl, traversing the cosmos in a super world, uniting the factions.”

Or club performer Nina Zeitlin’s lightly lascivious love song, “Why Didn’t You Tell Me”: “How come I didn’t know you’d be so sensual/ Why didn’t you tell me about your flagrant style? Maybe you weren’t cognizant of anything/ How can I make you mine for a while?”

The CD, which mixes hip-hop, alternative rock and R&B, sells for $25.

Update: Wall Street Journal subscribers can read a story about an English teacher in Pennsylvania who assigns 11th graders to write love poems using only words found in Journal stories. For example:

I seek stability in your arms
My serious attraction rises,
My wild love increases,
As I weakly watch you move.
Help me, stabilize me.
My volatility just won’t close.
Until you share your hands,
Profess your plan,
And make me certain
of mutual love.

— Julie Siwicki, from “Tech Firms Seek Stability in Arms of Institutional Holders”

Teacher Emily Farrell got sick of poems with “my love is like a rose.”

About Joanne


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Damn it! I was going to put those very words on your next valentine.

  2. It is a little dissonant, but it looks like a cool way to force creativity!

  3. Michelle Dulak Thomson says:

    Cool assignment, actually. Reminds me of the old game of taking the words from the “Jumbles” puzzle in the paper and using them all in a single sentence. Hmm . . . let me see: “The snowy beauty of the just-laundered white tablecloth threw into sharp relief the musty smell and general dinginess of the old abacus Chad had just placed upon it.”

    Well, hey, those four words don’t really give one a lot of options, do they?

  4. If they’re going to play this stuff, they’ve got to get some Tom Lehrer in there. That’s got more SAT words per song than I’ve heard anywhere else, not to mention it’s just hilarious.

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Tom Lehrer – Put him in charge of lesson plans.

  6. I’m not sure if Walter’s last comment is a jab or not. If you know Dr. Tom’s work well enough, you know that his humor is based in reality. Heck, it IS reality. Actually, he would do better than some teachers today. In fact I read somewhere he taught College math.

    It all has to do with creativity…

  7. In fact I read somewhere he taught College math.

    He was actually a professor of mathematics at Harvard during his performance career, and always insisted that he was a teacher first.

    I heard something awhile back about him teaching at UC Santa Cruz, but don’t remember when or where I heard it.

    The last thing that he recorded was 1993’s “That’s Mathematics” as a tribute to the professor (Wiley I think his name was) who discovered a proof for Fermat’s Last Theorem.