Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It is over

This whole summer you have hear me complaining about summer school, at least it seems like it first with micro and then with the history CLEP. But no more! I have finally finished my "classes".

At 1 pm today I was scheduled to take my (I think) final CLEP test. I took it in UMaine Orono. I wanted to take it at UMaine Augusta because it is closer and I have been there before but, alas, the August date was full by the time I got around to signing up. So to Orono I would journey.

I have been studying history for a month and a half now and have read 2 textbook, listened to recorded
college lectures, and studied the official study guide. Most of the time when I take a CLEP I'm pretty casual about the whole thing. This causes my beloved parents some anxiety. This time was no different.

Don't get me wrong, I studied. I read one college text book chapter a day, which is no easy feat, and remembered it. I made a point of comparing the differences in view points between sources. And I thought about it. However I didn't fret and once I was done for the day with what I had set for myself I was free to do what I either needed to do or wanted to do.

I got done exactly on schedule. I read the last chapter of the second book yesterday and listened to the last lecture this morning while traveling. Because I had never been to UMO before I was driven up by my mother. Mothers are nice that way. Not only do they figure out the directions and drive you but they also give you food.

So it's 9 in the morning and we're almost ready to go. Nine? Did I say nine? Yes, we left at 9:15 for a 1 o'clock appointment. Well, not exactly 1 o'clock. I got a call the night before from the test proctor asking to bump the time back to 12:30. You see, unlike UMA this college has tests set up at the testers’ convenience. You pick the day that fits your schedule and, if that day isn't already taken, pick your time from 11, 1, or 3 on that day. The proctor wanted to go home early on the day that I choose.

But all that doesn't explain why we left at 9 in the morning. Well, that is actually easily explained, but I hesitate to say it. Take a deep breath. Now let it out slowly. Good. It's a two and a half hour drive. No, that's not round trip. Even I can do the math for this little problem. 5 hours of driving in one day. And that's not even counting the hour and a half I sat taking the test.

I do joke about being terrible with math, but once again even my minimalistic math skills show a problem with leaving at nine. Count with me now! Ten, eleven, eleven thirty--why that leaves a whole extra hour before the test starts! Ah, the sweet smell of sarcasm in the evening. The idea was that we would probably get lost and that we would go and find something to eat first. Neither happened.

The fact that we didn't get lost is an out right miracle- it wasn't for lack of trying, let me tell you! Mom was driving and I was navigating. One problem though-nobody had showed me the maps first. This shouldn't regularly be a problem but remember when I said that mothers are good for figuring out direction? Mine is a little to good.

She had six different maps that all showing the same thing from a slightly different angle and, once in town, she would periodically call out things like "Quick, where's the subway!" or "We just passed Theodore Road. How many more streets left?". I would have to shuffle through all the maps until I found the right one and then figure out which direction we were going on that map and then find the point of reference, which was now long gone, and figure out the answer to the question.

As I would never answer in time she would grab all the maps from me and either look over them while she was driving or abruptly pull over onto a shoulder that wasn't quite large enough for a tricycle and then look over them. It was nerve-racking to say the least. Finally I found myself on one of the maps and ignored the rest. It was all so easy from there.

We got there safely with only slightly fraying tempers and with no appetite whatsoever, personally that is. After finding the building and room the test was in, with a brief though intense search for a bathroom between, I questioned the secretary as to when the proctor would be available. I don't pretend to hide the hope that I wouldn't have to spend the whole hour doing nothing but waiting. He wanted to get out early? Well, so did I. "I'm sorry but he's in a meeting right now. He should be out by noon and maybe before."

We leave. Go to the building across the way. It has a cafeteria. Oh! A Taco Bell! Oh. It's closed. Wander, wander, wander. Sit on comfy couches. Ummmmm. Starbuck. Oh look! Somehow a chi appeared by me! Yum. Drink, drink, read, read. Look at watch. Time to go. Rouse parent. Walk, walk, walk.

We got back to the testing center at the same time that the proctor does and, although he was surprised that I was early, he seemed pleased to see me. Yada, yada with all the preliminary stuff. I get set up in the room and the proctor leaves and, well before I tell you the rest I need to back up a little. Remember the whole "I'm so casual about CLEPs" thing? About the time we pulled onto the campus I started getting edgy.

I think I masked it pretty well. You know, have your eyes glance over people so you never really see them, step firmly, eyes ahead and everyone thinks that you are in total control. That's what you do if you're lost and you don't want anyone to know it.

Anyway, my temper might have been a little short and my eyes might have franticly scanned around me a time or two during that intervening half hour, but I think I handled it pretty well. When the door shut my composure lasted about 15 seconds. I came nigh to hyperventilating. I have only been that scared that I wasn't prepared once before. Ok, fine! Twice.

After several frantic, guilt-ridden prayers that didn't help as I couldn't think of one good reason why they should be listened too I resorted to my last-ditch calming trick. Singing "It Is Well With My Soul". Very, very quietly. I'm not completely sure why it work, maybe it puts the utter insignificants of whatever I'm worrying about in mind, but it does work.

With my mind now clear I set to work. I timed that test perfectly. After I had answered all the questions I had 16 minutes to go over all the questions that I wasn't sure of the answers. I had nine minutes left when I had finished my review. There was 90 minute for 120 questions.

If it was a normal type of a test where I didn't know the answer immediately I would have absolutely no idea how I did. I never do. There were quite a few questions that were laughably easy. No, I mean that I laughed at them. No, that's not "just an expression"! A lot of them I was reasonably sure of the answer, some I just made an educated guess, and with a few I just guessed.

I was just about to give you an example when I realized that I checked something or breather about not giving out questions or telling answers or some such thing. It may have been alright but I won't take the risk. It was a ridicules question, completely generalized and subjective with no one right answer that could possible be given.

When I was done all my nerves jumps to life again. I sat there like an idiot with my hands over my face doing Lamaze breathing. For a full minute I sat there and then with my hands still over my face I clicked "Proceed" and...

A questionnaire popped up. I filled it out and clicked "Proceed" again and another questionnaire popped up. This happened about five times. By the time my score did show I was so bemused it barely registered. "75. Hum, I needed 50. I wonder what that means. Maybe it's out of 100." I trot obediently across the hall to inform the proctor that I'm finished.

He is quite a genial person. He asks me if I did alright. I said I thought so. He inquired if the score printed. I politely said that I hadn't noticed. Upon investigation it had printed and he took up the sheet and saw my score.

"Well." he said.
"That can't be a good thing" I thought in the back of my rather numb mind

"Well! You did quite well." he said.
"That's good." I thought, numbly.
*mumble, mutter, mumble* he said.
"I said that they had better give you credit for this class, maybe you should teach it!"
" 'Scuse me?" Weakly.
"75 is two and a half standard deviations above the mean! That means your score is about the 99th percentile!" Heartily.
"Oh, thank you." Numbly.

It really is a good thing I'm so numb. That way I can't get a swelled head. I just have no comprehension of what happened. And that was seven hours ago.


Cheryl said...

Wow - wow - wow - congratulations!

Emilie said...