“You may now begin your exams.”
I had been waiting anxiously for the proctor to say those six magic words. As soon as she gave us the go-ahead, I eagerly flipped open my text booklet. And as soon as I read the questions on the first page, I freaked out: I didn’t know any of the answers. The questions were on topics like Japanese haikus and Carribean writers– content that wasn’t covered in any of my college English classes, much less my CSET: English study book. I told myself to refrain from freaking out yet, and instead, look through the book to find questions I did know the answer to. So I skimmed through the book and still, nothing.
Still trying to keep calm, I reached for another one of the four subtest booklets I was supposed to complete during the five-hour exam time. My hopes of keeping calm came crumbling down when I saw that the questions in Subtest #2 were just as broad and obscure as Subtest #1.
“Fuck. I’m going to fail this test,” I quietly said to myself. And this is when I started to develop extreme test anxiety.
I sat and stared at questions for what seemed like hours. I thought “I’m going to fail I’m going to fail I’m going to fail” in my head over and over again. I nervously tried to figure out how I was going to complete 100 multiple choice questions, two long essays, and four short essays in five hours. I even cried a little bit.
It was the most frustrating, stressful, and difficult
English exam I’ve ever taken, and I’m glad it’s over… for now.
I don’t think there was ever a point during those five hours when I was 100% calm, but the few times when I was relatively calm, I managed to resist the urge to just walk out of the test room, and instead, do the best I could to answer the questions and write my essays. I only managed to complete the first three subtests, which means at some point before I apply for any credential programs in August, I need to re-take that fourth subtest I never even had the time to start. I’m pretty sure I failed one if not all of the three subtests I completed, so I’ll eventually have to re-take those, too.
I’m one of those people who HATES to fail, and when I do, I beat myself up for it. During that test, not only was I freaking out in my head because I knew I was going to fail, but I was also scolding myself for not doing a better job of preparing for such an important exam: “Why did I have to be so cheap and only buy ONE prep book to study from?! Why did I sign up to take all four exams on the same day?! Why didn’t I start studying sooner?! WHY AM I SO DUMB?!”
Essentially, I’ve fallen off the horse, and it hurts. I know that at some point, I’ll need to pick myself up and get back on, but for now, I just want to lie here in the fetal position and dwell on the fact that for the first time in a long time, I have failed.