Monday, October 22, 2007
This is what I thought during much of my GRE-taking session that occured last Saturday. It means "no idea" as in " I have NO IDEA" (Ich habe nicht keine Ahnung)...but I love school. And I want more.
Why is it that standardized tests accompany and terrorize us throughout our educational career? There are assessments for kindergarten, both at the beginning and the end of the school year. Grades 1, 4, 6, 8 AND 10 include at least a week of the dreaded testing for the children, at least in my state. Not to mention the weeks of preparation that the students endure to get to those hours of testing that requires filling in hundreds of little bubbles. And then, the pre-SAT, the ACT, the actual SAT, the AP tests, the graduation exit for seniors--is there no relief???
Apparently not. The final for General Chemistry is a standardized test. A timed standardized test. SO unfair! I can do chemistry, ok? At least, gen chem. But timed? WIth my final grade as ransom? That is just stress. Another one waits, this time at the end of the organic chemistry series. I guess the American Chemical Society can just DO that.
Then, graduate school. The GRE is only the general test; there is a GRE Subject test as well. Or, if you prefer to be a lawyer, you get the LSAT; a doctor, the MCAT or the DAT. If English is your second language or if you wish to teach English as a second language, there are tests for that as well.
I know, I know, there are standards we all must achieve before we can move on. Yes, I realize that standardized tests are a convenient way to find the level of education to which a person has progressed. But what about those of us who know the material, yet the set-up and structure of the test points directly to our weaknesses? Could there be another way to prove to our prospective educators or employers that we are capable of the tasks and rigours required without having to know how to figure the area of a trapezoid? (it is A=1/2(b1+b2)(h), BTW)
Believe me, I studied. For weeks, and using the practice materials the testing institution itself recommended and even gave out. I practiced! I learned new vocabulary, practiced figuring (by hand) standard deviation and reviewed many algebra and geometry equations and theorems. But I still did poorly.
There is hope, however. There was actual writing involved (yay!) and I did graduate magna cum laude from my undergraduate university. May the admissions committee have mercy...please LET ME IN!!!