Evaluating reasoning and creativity
I made a challenging technical test because I wanted the applicants to show they were not the kind of people who memorize formulas without understanding them. I did not allow the use of calculators or smart phones since the computations involved were very simple, and I also included some personal opinion questions to see their creativity in action.
I had my concerns about the difficulty of the test, so I talked with the teacher in charge of the math commission. He told me that the test looked a bit complex, but all topics had been covered, so the students, in theory, were able to solve them. He was also expecting to see the results.
On October 14, 2017, twenty-six applicants took the test. Silvia Moya, the vice principal was surprised that almost all students who attended the talk were applying. They had 90 minutes to solve the test. I clearly told them that calculators were not allowed and that cheating would automatically take them out of the application process.
While grading the tests, it was very sad to see that most people had a terrible performance in math. Almost at midnight, I had selected 18 students who showed, somehow, problem-solving skills and creativity. They were notified via email to continue with the second phase of the application process.