At covid SEA

Pupils of the Valencia South Government Primary School, sit awaiting the start of the Secondary Entrance Assessment examinations in Valencia last Wednesday. - Photo by Roger Jacob
Pupils of the Valencia South Government Primary School, sit awaiting the start of the Secondary Entrance Assessment examinations in Valencia last Wednesday. - Photo by Roger Jacob

YESTERDAY, 18,000-odd 11-year-olds sat the Secondary Entrance Assessment exam, all hoping to pass for a “prestige school” which, in Trinidad, means one where there are more drugs in the chemistry lab than the book bags of the Form Three students.

In sympathy, then, with children whose education may have ended yesterday, before their lives have properly started, I begin my own Senility Entrance Assessment exam, with a Newsday practice test, maths today and, next Friday, “language arts,” the modern Trinidadian pidgin for what used to be called “English.” I’ve shortened the questions considerably because SEA grammatical style is not particularly languaged-ly-artful.

Mathematics. Section I

Calculate the difference between 48 and 13. The SEA examiners are very unfair to make the first maths question a language arts one, too, when they could easily have written, 48 minus 13 is what? The children will feel real dunce to fail two sections of the SEA in one question, and the first one, to boot!

If Brent’s two slices of pizza [constituted] is one-sixth of the pizza, how many slices are there in total? The answer is J’Ouvert rum but I really can’t show you the working.

A fan purchased for $150 is sold at a loss for $18. Calculate the selling price. Does this transmogrify from a one per cent into a 99 per cent question because they’ve got it the wrong way around and are buying at retail and selling at wholesale price?

Mother paid for a $21 box of cereal with a $10, $5 and $1 bill; calculate the value of the missing bill. It don’t matter what the value of the missing bill is because them chirren at home will not touch a cheap $21 Trinidad cereal when they look a $75 box of Cap’n Crunch right next to it. We wants both the Yankee dollar and the Yankee sugar levels.

Calculate the length of a meeting that starts at 8.23 am and ends at 9.16 am. Well, I can calculate that it’s probably an OWTU meeting since no one else would start a meeting at 8.23 and not 8.15 or 8.30. Furthermore, if you’re starting meetings at such vaille-que-vaille times, you are probably insolvent in truth and can’t pay for Petrotrin. Everybody better buy electric cars.

A six-cm square is cut into four smaller identical squares. Calculate the area of each small square. Why can’t I calculate the area of just one? They’re all firetrucking identical! Still, the answer is four nips of J’Ouvert rum.

Section II

Q 22.
Sean had 16 25-cent coin pieces, 20 ten-cent coin pieces and 12 five-cent coin pieces. How much money does he have? However you count it, the answer is “not firetrucking much” but I’m more interested in why Sean couldn’t simply have all those coins; why did they have to be coin pieces? The brightest children would advise Sean to ask for whole coins.

Luke, Asha and Colin shared 42 stickers equally. If Colin loses five stickers, calculate the number of stickers he has remaining. The examiner must have children named Luke, Asha and Colin because “Three children shared…” would have worked. The answer is no damn J’Ouvert rum for nobody, tell Fake Michael Jordan haul his mother coin pieces back to America. Also, the children should stop wasting their time with stickers and get into memes.

Section III

Q 37.
After picking 80 grapefruits, a farmer sold 14 heaps of four grapefruit each. If he shared the remaining fruit amongst three neighbours, what per cent of grapefruit did each neighbour get? The key thing here is, before you park the van to take the grapefruit out, make bleddy sure it ent have no pot-bellied short men hanging around anywhere with a forklift.

At a school bazaar, Marlon threw ten rings around different coloured bottles, green ones worth two points, blue ones worth three and red ones worth four points. If he got four points from two green bottles, nine points from blue bottles and ringed five red bottles, how many points did he score in total? Green bottles is a misprint, it was supposed to be “grease” bottles, and blue bottles must be for jab-jabs, which have more to do with Paramin than AstraZeneca, and red bottles have to-bound to-must be mud, ergo, the answer is a case of J’Ouvert rum.

That’s enough firetrucking maths. Next week we do artless language.

BC Pires is more likely to pass for THC than CIC. Read the full version of this column on Saturday at

BC Pires -


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