Sunday, July 15, 2007

Praxis ... er, practice makes perfect

Oh my ... I am in for it.

I've never been very good at standardized tests. I remember with striking clarity filling in bubble after bubble with my No. 2 pencil during the weeklong ITBS tests in elementary school each spring. The test generally fell the week of my birthday. And I was usually sick with some over-zealous, snot-inducing illness that I had to power through because nobody wanted to take the makeup test in the principal's office.

I remember how, even back then, I would talk myself out of the correct answers. I knew then what I am even more sure of now: Multiple-choice exams are evil. Sheer, utter evil — devised by people who like to watch little boys and girls squirm while deciding if C is the right answer over A, B, or the brutal D - all of the above.

The horror of every standardized test I've ever lost sleep over is coming back to me again — at age 30. And I'm not sure I'm up for it, but I'm sure going to do my best.

I've just begun studying for the Praxis test which, as I mentioned before, I must pass in order to be admitted as a "real" grad student. Pressure is the word that most describes the situation at hand.

Lots and lots of p-r-e-s-s-u-r-e.

English isn't going to be a problem. I'm honestly not nervous about that portion of the exam, which I'm grateful for. I've always had a knack for punctuation, grammar and so forth ... I guess that's partially why I chose journalism as my major in college. That, and I suck at math.

Actually, if there were such a thing, I believe I could be classified as illiterate when it comes to numbers and everything that goes with them. I believe math problems are called "problems" for a reason — because they make no sense whatsoever.

Math is a foreign language. Math is scary. Math is almost as evil as standardized tests.

And I get to rehash it all in the coming weeks as I prepare for the Praxis. I'm beginning with the basics (don't laugh) — I've never really understood how to multiply and divide fractions, and you can forget breaking down square roots. Algebra, on the other hand, I can generally figure out. But geometry needs to stay the heck away from me.

Unfortunately, geometry and fractions and square roots and every other frightening math scenario is about to unfold before my very eyes. I just pray that I can power through this like I powered through those ITBS tests back in elementary school. Only this time, I hope to keep the nose dripping under control.

Let the studying begin ...