Friday, January 8, 2010

My college test

I went to a college yesterday to take a test to see if I was "college material". I was only interested in taking English courses as I want to become a much better writer and hopefully, someday write books. I was not the only person there to take the test. I imagine that there were probably at least 20 of us. I was considered to be an untraditional student. I was by far the oldest person taking the test. And I am sure that it showed! Everyone sat down at long tables scattered throughout the large room. Each table had several computers, 1 sheet of blank white paper to write on, a calculater which I never touched and an ordinary pencil. Fortunately, I was placed at a computer clear across the room from the windows. Because of that, I managed to stay warm (it was horribly COLD outside) and I wasn't encouraged to look outside and see what was happening out there!

A college counselor took time to see what each person was interested in as far as their college plans were concerned. She then programmed each computer to only give the tests that were necessary for that person. For me, I was really surprised to find out that I was obligated to take a literature test, an English test and a MATH test!!! All just so that I could take writing classes??? I am relieved that I never told her that I was interested in becoming a Biologist! Otherwise, I would have ended up taking a huge science test also!!!

I don't know why, but I had thought that we would be taking PAPER tests. I suppose I guessed that because many a-year ago, that was how us old fogies did our testing. I figured out that this was the first test that Ihad taken in over 30 years!!! All of the tests were done on strictly computers. I don't remember what the name is for the type of keyboard that we used but I HATED it!!! Instead of having just ONE group of keys, there were TWO groups! And they were set in place so that each hand had to be slanted in order to use them effectively. Ugh! Who got that lame-brained idea??? I am sure that there is a very good, scientific plan for all of this but I just didn't "get it" yesterday. Since I already stood out, not in a good way I might say because of my age factor, I certainly did not want to raise my hand and see if an antique keyboard such as what I use at home, was available. So...I stuck it out. Fortunately, most of the time, we only had to use a mouse. I COULD handle that just fine.

I started out with an English test. I was to read an essay, find what I believed to be a mistake either because of grammar or punctuation errors. That wasn't difficult. I clicked on the area of the essay where I thought that the error was contained. Once I clicked on it, it became a shaded area. Then, a box appeared next to the essay. It had 5 choices in it. I was to click on the RIGHT suggestion. After I made my choice, the shading disappeared, my choice solution took it's place and the choice box disappeared. Then I continued reading the essay, clicking on the errors, etc., etc.

I actually did well on it even though it took me awhile to get used to the whole thing. The next thing was math. Now, with that, I really expected to excel. Not to toot my own horn but my family and friends are constantly making remarks about how quickly I come up with answers to questions. I am usually able to it without the use of a pencil, paper or calculator. this test, I was WAY off! Out of probably 30 questions, only five of them were problems that people use everyday such as fractions, multiplication, simple division, addition, subtraction...The other twenty-five were all related to ALGEBRA!!! I have NEVER AND PROBABLY NEVER WILL be able to do that. They might as well have put tests in front of me that were written in the Persian language! Either way, the material would have been foreign and I would have flunked it. Honestly, I expected the counselor who reads your caulculated test results at the end of the testing to tell me that I would have to return to 3rd grade and take the classes through 12th grade if I ever hoped to become college material. I'll tell you more about the results at the end of this posting.

The final test was Literature. I was given 6 or 7 essays to read. Out of these, there were two that did NOT bore me to death. The one that I really enjoyed was about bacteria! I was kinda surprised by that since Science has never been a forte for me. But, I am sooo tuned into to cleanliness, I guess that I shouldn't have been surprised when I seemed to fly through the questioning process at the end of that essay. At the end of each essay, a group of questions popped up. For me, the worst essay had something to do with Baghdad from MANY years ago and famous mathematicians and scientests who came out of there at that time. It was soooooooooo dry I could hardly bear to read another word!

This testing is not done on a timed basis. If it takes you 15 minutes--fine. If it takes you all afternoon--fine. One young man who was sitting next to me, finished his tests in probably 30 minutes. I don't know if he did well with his answers or if he just gave up as I did in Algebra and just clicked on any answer. I ended up being the third or fourth person to finish--2 hours later. In no way does that suggest that I was "smarter than the rest"!!! As I said earlier, we were all taking different testing and when I got to the algebra problems which were MAJOR problems for me, LOL!, I just guessed my way through all of them. After I had completed the tests, my computer told me to get up, leave the table and to go visit with the councelor. I did just what I was instructed to do.

The councelor was a very nice young lady. It was her job to tell me what the results were and what I needed to do next. I found out that I had done well in English and Literature. I had done well on the basic math questions. As I had expected, my algebra scores were not very braggable. Ha! Ha! She told me that because of my scores, I was college material!!! Yay!!!!!!Hmmm...I need to take an algebra class also. I was abit discouraged when she then told me that that particular college didn't really specialize in classes for people wanting to write books, however she thought that if I would discuss my wish for this with my college professor, he or she might be willing to help me individually for that. So, I guess we will wait and see what happens next. As with many American colleges today, they offer online classes. I am going to check in to that. Since I am raising a family and have certain health issues, I believe that that would be the right option for me. I'll try to keep you updated...


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