Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three.

It doesn't take that much of a roadbump to send me in to full-on crisis mode.

Take, for instance, pretty much every school project I've ever worked on. If I am assigned a certain task, I do not hesitate to turn that task - easily manageable and forthright it may be - into a full-on, Broadway-style production number. In the third grade, a report on Egypt included the construction of a 2 foot by 2 foot pyramid, inscribed with the hieroglyphic symbols for "Here lies the Queen of Plastic" (for, you see, a mummified Barbie dwelled inside the tomb). In a report on France, in the 5th grade, I printed out an eight page newspaper, with articles detailing the history of the country, as well as current news, like entertainment and food. I also served the class madeleine cookies to go alongside (I think the idea was like they were at a French Cafe, or something). Anyways, I have always been a perfectionist, and this annoying obsession seems to go hand-in-hand with trying to outperform everyone's expectations all the time. Obviously, the results are not always that spectacular.

The good news is, I think I've begun to get this certain compulsion under reasonable control. The bad news is, it seems to pop up again at the most inopportune times. Like, how in preparing for my Nancy Drew research paper, I almost completely forgot to prepare for the SATs this past Saturday.

Before you go gasping, and shaking a reprimanding index finger at me, I'll have you know that it was only my first time, and that I WAS prepared for it. I've done the vocabulary, I know the test-taking skills, I've done practice essays... just not terribly recently. It seems that a certain supersleuth has sucked me away from the work on which I should be focusing. However, it is totally okay, and I'm sure my score will turn out fine. My mom already told me that I'm going to be taking every SAT test possible until I earn the fabled 2400, and I wasn't going to hit that number on the first try, now was I?

You might be wondering why I am dwelling so long on some inane standardized test, but I promise that I have a good reason: Departure from the Nancy Drew disease led me to the first non-Nancy books I've read in almost a month. The first, being a belatedly applied SAT prep book, Princeton Review's Cracking the SATs, was decent, and had a few good test-taking strategies in a comprehensive format, and was therefore of no use to me when I rediscovered it under a month-old layer of dust, leaning dejectedly against the side of my bookshelf.

The second, however, was a library book, Robin Wasserman's Hacking Harvard, a book that a friend of mine has been trying to get me to read since around the eighth grade. Incredibly comical, truthful to the stress and competitive spirit associated with college choices, and reasonably well-rounded, with stealthy super-spy "hacks" and romance coexisting side-by-side, I liked it. While the middle did get a little boring and drawn out, it was pretty fun. As someone going through the experience of having to choose colleges, and freaking about taking all the standardized tests you can possibly shove down a person's throat, I felt it was pretty cool. The style of writing, as well as some of the personalities present in the book, reminded me a little of John Green's novels, too. Which is cool, because I love John Green's novels.

So, anyways, I let go of my precious research materials for a few days, so I could fling myself out and scramble to catch an SAT preparation guide, as well as a novel about the stresses of college applications. What a relaxing vacation. Luckily, late starts for school, due to HSPE testing, mean I didn't have to show up to school today until 10:20 am. Same goes for tomorrow, too. Maybe I can squeeze in another Nancy Drew before my notes are due on Friday. :)


  1. I would be interested in knowing if the Princeton Review book actually came in handy for you. In other words, during or after the test, did you think it made a difference in your score?

    On another note. Did Barbie "dwell" in the pyramid or did she "rest", or maybe "exist as an empty plastic husk of decaying doll"? "Dwell" sounds like she was walking around in there and I don't remember hearing any tiny plastic high heels coming from within. Jason and Grant, did you hear that!! That was definitely footsteps.

  2. I think I'll be able to tell if the Princeton Review book made a difference in my score once I see my results. :) In all seriousness, it didn't really affect my score that much, because I had a lot of the skills down already, but it did have some useful information in regards to structure and format of the test, as well as what to expect from each section.

    To your second comment: Barbie, thankfully, survived the mummification ordeal, and went on to lead a wonderful life stuffed into the bottom of our Barbie bins. Therefore, her sleep in the tomb was temporary, and, therefore, a temporary dwelling place. So she was dwelling. (Nice Ghost Hunters reference, though).