August 31, 2011

August 31, 2011

Deja Test

Did your teacher ever give pre-tests? I only remember them in spelling class, but I suppose the concept could be applied to any subject. Before each new unit, we would have a quiz on the new words. Anyone who scored 100% didn’t have to take the actual quiz for that unit. I’ve no idea if or how we were prevented from studying ahead; perhaps the whole point was to get us to do so. Regardless, I enjoyed those weeks when my voracious appetite for Baby-Sitters Club and Nancy Drew books helped me ace the spellings of “diverse” and “impostor.”

I wish pre-tests were a more common occurrence in adulthood. Though deadlines can be a positive motivator, my best performance tends to be when there’s no pressure. My favorite band practices were those the day after a big concert. We’d just performed (hopefully well), so maybe we’d noodle around on some new pieces, maybe we’d just high-five each other, whatever. No pressure.

Yet for every exam I need to take as an adult, I get no dry run. Well, no dry run that counts if I ace it. I didn’t get to take the driving instructor out a day early to show that I really COULD parallel park in less than 14 moves. I’d love to have my blood pressure measured the day before my physical, in the comfort of my own home. If there were a way to take the GRE and GMAT just to see what scores I’d get, without paying hundreds of dollars, you know I’d be all over that.

When you’re a kid, and things don’t really count, you get a lot of chances. As an adult, you have to figuratively stick the dismount on the first try. The universe assumes that we’ve all gotten more skilled and accurate since we were children. To which I say: have you looked at us lately? We’re still crashing cars, injuring ourselves, and making unwise investments.

Who wouldn’t appreciate a few dry runs?

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