If you can solve a literal equation
And rationalize denominator surds,
Do grouping factors (with a transformation)
And state the factor theorem in words;
If you can plot the graph of any function
And do a long division sum (with gaps),
Or square binomials without compunction,
Or work cube roots with logs without mishaps.
If you possess a sound and clear-cut notion
Of interest sums with P and I unknown;
If you can find the speed of trains in motion,
Given some lengths and "passing times" alone;
If you can play with R (both big and little)
And feel at home with l (or h) and π,
And learn by cancellation how to whittle
Your fractions down till they delight the eye.
If you can recognize the segment angles
Both at the centre and circumference;
If you can spot equivalent triangles
And Friend Pythagoras (his power's immense);
If you can see that equiangularity
And congruence are two things and not one,
You may pick up a mark or two in charity,
And, what is more, you may squeeze through, my son.
NOTE: This poem refer's to a student's need to pass the pending School Certificate Exam.
Source: Times Educational Supplement, July 19, 1947