The Wonderful World of Standardized Testing

They always tell you to get a good night's sleep before taking a big test. At around 2 AM, I remembered this rule and figured I'd get to be in about 15 minutes so I'd be well rested. 1 hour later, I was looked at the clock and did the math. An hour isn't the same as 15 minutes. So I went to sleep, I figured I would be fine, it was only a test.

      I woke up to the delightful sound of my alarm clock beeping in my ear. Resisting the urge to knock it off the shelf, I remembered why it had dared go off so early. I get to take a test! As I was getting dressed, I tried to remember the last test of academics I had taken. I couldn't remember one in particular, although I was pretty sure, even in my sleepiness, that I had taken at least one in High School. I also remembered that eating a healthy breakfast was important to your SAT's as well. Apparently, they are able to discern whether you got a good night's sleep and what you ate for breakfast, because you are always encouraged to eat right and sleep well before the SAT's. So, I downed a bowl of Golden Grahms, full of goldenny sweetness, and we were off to the Test Center.

      The lawn to the high school where the SATs were being given had a line with perhaps 300 people in it. I didn't know testing was that popular, but apparently the SAT 1 had sold out. Luckily, I was taking the SAT 2. So I walked towards the door, finding a sign that told me the SAT2 was being given in the library. You have to realize, that I had never seen this school before in my life and I had no idea where the fuck the library was. So I wandered around the schoolyard trying to look like I wasn't lost until I found the line.

     Standing in line I checked to make sure that I had brought number 2 pencils, another essential testing material. To my horror, the number on the pencils starkly read: 2 . 5.

      "Oh SHIT" I thought.

      I stood there trying to look casual while I scratched off the ".5" from the pencil. I hoped they wouldn't be checking these sorts of things. Thankfully, when my turn in line finally came around, the woman looked lazily at my new york driver's liscense for a second, then looked again... and again, and finally, let me pass. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I proceeded to my seat.

     I sat down and proceeded to fidget nervoisly for the next 15 minutes or so. Nobody was speaking for a long time, until we all realized that no one else was coming in yet we were still not testing. The girl across from me looked annoyed. I told her quietly that they were checking to make sure everyone had a good breakfast and a solid night's sleep. She laughed... giving us away to the instructors. They came over and informed us that there was no talking during the test. I decided not to ask when the test was actually going to start, seeing as I was paying to be here at 8 AM on a Saturday morning.

      An hour passed, and the test finally started. All people who needed to take writing had to take that first so I started scratching out my essay. At this point I'd like to say that it had been more than a year since I had handwritten anything more than a few sentances. My computer job, thankfully keeps me from penning most things. This being said, one can imagine that my essay of two pages was both illegible and excruciating on my arm. Nursin my arm cramps I tried to fill in the ovals for the rest of the writing test. I was sure to make my marks heavy and dark and to erase any mistakes completely. More cardinal Rules of standardized testing.

      As the test finished, an hour later, I realized that I was not going to make it out of this place by 11, like I had planned originally. In the next 30 minute break between tests, I chatted with teh girl across from me. We decided that the instructors were trying to figure out which were the test books and which were the answer sheets. We were told again not to talk while testing. Again, I questionned their sanity. Finally, the next test started. I chose AmeriKan History.

      I don't quite remember anything about the History test, I just remember that there was a lot of oval filling going on. It was about 11:30 when I finally finished with the History test and we all took a break. I was able to get a coke from the: 'Soda Machine in a Cage', my morning caffeine... slightly late. It dawned on me that while SAT1's would not meet the college I wanted to go to's requirements, of the SAT 2's that one had to be math and one had to be english. Strange that those are the two subjects covered by the SAT1. I tried to suck down the soda quickly so I could get back into the library before I got yelled at again, but this just made me need to berp. I tried to let the berp out softly, and not make any noise, but as soon as I sat down it erupted in all it's glory, announcing that I was the one who had drank some soda during the break. Once more I was asked not to talk during the testing.

      Last was the Math test. This was the math test where you had the option to use a multi-function graphing calculator if you so chose. I, unfortunately did not have $100 to spend on such a fancy calculator and decided before the test that I would just go without. Mostly the math test was easy, unless I got to some part of math I had forgotten, like how to find the length of the sides of a triangle when you know the area of a sqaure that is drawn next to it in the booklet. Similar stupid questions such as how hard an airplane would hit the ground if falling such and such amount of feet next to a lighthouse, were on the parts of the test that I guessed on. I finished the Math test just before 1 PM. A good monring wasted that I could have been sleeping.

      As I walked out of the school and towards the parking lot I remembered something my ride had said about needing to be at the airport by 1. As I stepped around the corner to the parking lot, I saw three cars, none of which were my ride.

      At this point I was really not happy, but I turned around and started walking. It wouldn't be too far of a walk for me to get home, only about 4 miles; so I walked. I crossed one or two intersections, walked past a landfill or a green house, one of those two I couldn't tell, and sweated a little in the afternoon sun. As I reached the second intersection, I waited for the light to change. Up drove a truck and someone stuck their head out. I prepared myself for him to say something stupid, as people in cars often do to people on foot.

      "Nice shirt, dude." he yelled.

      I looked down and saw that I was wearing my 'KILL YOUR TV' shirt. I nodded, and the truck drove off. I crossed the intersection, and started walking again. Thankfully, fifteen minutes later, someone pulled over right in front of me. I looked at the car kind of funny, till Jonathon, a friend of mine, stuck his head out and told me to get in. The universe took one last pot shot at me that day as I jabbed myself in the leg with my number 2.5 pencil, getting into the car.