Friday, June 27, 2008
Victory In DC
There really shouldn't have been a lot of pressure about this test I took today. Somehow, things didn't work out that way. We had the cancer scare with Judy that ruined a month, then turned out to not be cancer, but a triglyceride problem. It did make studying a small problem, as well as breathing. One tends to hold their breath for days on end. I didn't publish anything because, I think I'm superstitious. Or I scare easily. Whatever, I'm off topic.
The last day for taking this test was this coming Saturday. I filed to take it then. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call telling me that I would have to change locations from Bethesda, three blocks from my office, to downtown, and that I would have to come in on Thursday morning at 9:00 AM, two days earlier.
Naturally, I was on-line, and who did I notice was also on-line at the same time? My good buddy, friend, pal Open Grove Claudia. I definitely want to grow up to be more like her. Really. I got into chat with her, and she simply said that all studying did was to make sure that you were familiar with the material, and when I was sitting there taking the test, I would see the same material, and it would all look familiar. When that happens, there is never a reason to panic, just calmly to sit and figure things out. Is there any wonder that I keep telling you to read her blog all the time? Another one who is more than just another pretty face. More than just another great writer, and novelist. So much more. A source of mental health. A trusted friend.
I found myself on the subway at 7:00 AM with a box of energy bars that my partner had warned me to take with me. I wasn't prepared for what happened. You are not allowed to take any personal items into the testing area. This includes a cup of coffee, no energy bars, I even had to take off my digital watch. I was led to a small cubicle with a partition, and a camera pointed right at me. I was logged into a system called PROCTOR where I was informed that any untoward behavior caught on the cameras could result in my failing the exam. I can only imagine what I might have schemed up to do with a digital watch. Maybe something with a NSA satellite?
Here is where reading the Mel's of the World, and the O.G. Claudia's and the Glamourpuss' and their fire-walking death-defying looking-fear-in-the-face-positive-mental-attitude stories pay off for you. You push all of that crap out of your mind, and you sit there, and just do it. Skinny Little Blond dresses it up in spectacular imagery, but I have to tell you, ultimately, it's all about competence. We each pick our challenges, and then it's up to us to fullfill the challenge we picked.
After seven hours, and a 30 minute break in between, I pushed the exit button. I had answered over 190 questions out of 230 live questions and another 20 experimental questions correctly to hit two standard deviation units out. That's the 95 percentile. Not where NoR wanted me, but way better than passing. I'm satisfied. I filed for the next exam today. I learned this course in four weeks. My partner took six months. I also have a lot more experience now when I took the exam than he did when he took his. On the other hand, the industry has vastly changed and become much more complex since then. I'm proud, and I thank all of you who helped me stay positive through a lot of less than pleasant.
And keep reading these people, they help you achieve the meaning of life! No small task, and they are sooooooo good at it. Not that I have an opinion, naturally. (Hint, I think they are all existential philosophers, and some then turned to Zen. You'll have to go read them to find out for yourself.) Have a fabulous weekend, and remember to have a good time, please.