16 March 2009

Nothing distracts reading a test more than reading a book.


In case you hadn't already figured it out by the title of my blog, I'm a bit of an Anne of Green Gables obsessor. That is putting it very lightly. I will fight tooth and nail with anyone, anyone, who dares claim a stronger relationship to Anne than I have (I've done it before. It's not pretty, and I do win.) I have grown up with her and rather than going into the details of this comparison, take my word for it. We are two peas in a literary pod.


As such, I generally enjoy finding ways to compare my life to my semi-fictional friend. It happened this weekend when I took the Praxis: an exam set out to prove that I am (or will be) worth my salt as a teacher. In other words: I have to know more than the average high schooler. The whole time I was there I imagined myself in that hall Anne goes to for the entrance examination to Queens. That was much more satisfactory than taking the actual test.


Here's how it works:


BYU and UVU students (apparently) do some kind of school switch for the exam. Since the exam started at 7:30 in the morning (my favorite hour of the day), I got up at 6:00 (my other favorite hour) to eat and get dressed and generally wake myself up. I armed myself with two #2 pencils with good erasers, a book to read during down time, a water bottle to keep myself awake and to keep myself from coughing, cough drops and gum to help as well, and some kleenex (since I wasn't about to use the scratchy non-lotiony school kind.) Let it never be said that I go anywhere unprepared, especially to tests.

This is where things get odd.

For those of you who will be taking the Praxis at some point in your life, let this serve as a warning.

Our room was divided into half English Education and half Elementary Education majors. This is important because the Elementary Education majors have calculators that feature prominently later in the scene. We are told that this is a very important test that will influence our future lives and that if we don't pass our entire educational career will have been for NOTHING. It is serious, and should be treated seriously. I am officially humbled.

We are then told that the test is two hours long, that we are not allowed to leave unless we have an absolute bathroom emergency. I have to keep my horrible driver's license picture on my desk at all times (for what, exactly?) and nothing else. We are not allowed to eat, drink, or chew gum. If we do, we will spill on our tests, and then they will not be scan-able and we will fail. Food? I understand. Water? I look around. I don't see any open glasses. Just water bottles. And gum? That doesn't make any sense at all. If you're dumb enough to accidentally spit your gum into the middle of your test, you probably wouldn't have passed anyway.

Then comes the bad news.

We must stay in our seats for the duration of the test. Even if everyone finishes in the first five minutes, we have to stay for the full two hours. And when we are finished, we are not allowed to read. When I ask instructor number one about this, she tells me that reading is a distraction. (Insert eyebrow raise here.)

So the test starts. Feeling somewhat cheeky, I ask to go to the bathroom half an hour into the test because I am more than half way done already, and bored with answering questions. I take my time.

I come back in and finish the rest of my test with nearly an hour to spare. I take a nap. I go to the bathroom again. I sit down and write on the back of my test booklet the following list:

Things that are more distracting than reading:
  1. The boy sitting behind me and to my left who persists in bouncing his feet on the ground, and who has the noisiest marking pencil ever.
  2. The calculators. I think the Elementary Education Department has trained their students to believe that the louder they press the keys, the more correct their answer will be.
  3. The clock on the wall that gives a little buzz every couple of minutes.
  4. The pages turning in the test booklets that people are (wait for it): reading.
  5. Instructor #1 at the front of the room. . . (wait for it again). . . reading.
  6. Instructor #2 who leaves the room every fifteen minutes or so and then comes back in for no apparent reason.
So there it is. Nothing distracts reading a test more than. . . reading a book.

7 comments:

The Girl in the Other Room said...

Love the title and the picture. I think the kind of people who have to proctor those exams have been very disappointed in their lives and probably want you to be bored out of your mind.

I hope you did well. You always do. And then we can watch Gilbert telling Anne "We tied for first place. You and I." Oooh! It gives me the giggles just thinking about it. I heart Gilbert (though probably not as much as you). Cheers my cheeky friend!

Rebecca O'Bryan said...

It's good to see that at least you were well prepared. I never do too well with the whole rules thing and usually just end up breaking them. If I were you I would have stuffed the book down my shirt and then pretended like you had a horrible bout of diarrhea or made vomiting motions and spent the rest of my time reading in the bathrooms.

Rachel EM said...

Your list of what's more distracting is why I always take tests in the music room. I HATE that cavernous room where you can hear someone cough half a km away, or feel the desk behind you shake whilst a california blonde squeaks her eraser back and forth. GAAAAAH! No reading? Balderdash!

Rachel EM said...

My mind would invariably have wavered to OWL's during Snape's worst memory. I love Harry's description of how he quickly he flew up the aisles when he sees his father. Hah. Also that he doesn't recognize what L.E. stood for.

Rachel EM said...

...flies up the aisle when he sees his father...
...flew up the aisle when he saw his father...

Pardon my grammar. I'm tired.

Joni said...

Heather: I watched Anne like... the minute I got home from church on Sunday. That part is my FAVORITE!!! "Fishing for lake trout." "For lake trout?" *stiff nod*

Rebecca: I totally should have done that. Or faked my period or something.

Rachel: I love the music room. Especially because I can always point out the titles of about 90% of the songs they play, which is generally better than how I do on my tests without the essays taken into account ;) Go figure. And I like your bad tired grammar. It's funny :P

Cathryn said...

Hooray for being done with the stupid PRAXIS. Don't let them tell you it's important--no one cares about your score unless you don't pass, which is incredibly unlikely. (The girl from Education Advisement that helped us register for the test during 379 told us that no one from BYU's English Ed has ever not passed it.) I finished it with an hour to spare, too (and actually scored very, very well)...I "went to the bathroom" and wandered the halls of the MARB for about 20 minutes until one of the cranky proctors caught me. I think I ended up sketching my shoe on the back of my test booklet. I sat next to Jared Chandler while I was taking it, and he and I finished at about the same time...we kept exchanging "I-can't-believe-how-inane-this-is" glances. :) Yay for being done with the beast! I'm sure you did great!