Early March I took the Praxis test for Middle School Mathematics. The way the Praxis works, once you have a teaching certificate, you can take a Praxis to be certified in other areas. My degree is in Elementary Education, grades 1-6. Late last year I decided that I wanted to have certification for math, so I signed up for two tests: Middle School Mathematics, and High School Mathematics. The first, as I said, was in March, the second will be in June.
I always have some sort of test anxiety, and of course, for a test that costs $130, and that I will only have one chance to pass, my anxiety was particularly unpleasant. I did not sleep well the night before, waking up every 10-15 minutes between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
By the time the test started I was tired, slightly grumpy (the proctor decided to wait about a half hour for someone who was supposed to be there, but never showed), and increasingly nervous. Once the test started, it only got worse.
The test consists of 40 multiple choice questions and 3 construct-answer questions. Whenever I take a timed test, I work my way through putting stars by any question that I am not absolutely certain that I got the right answer on. In the first 40, there were three that entirely baffled me (one that I worked through, got an answer for, but it wasn't one of the options, one that I couldn't even think of where to begin solving it, and I don't recall the last one). I then started on the construct questions. The first one was fairly simple, I knew exactly what it was asking, and was able to make the graph, the formula, and the explanation for both. Nervously looking at the clock, I went on to construct question number two. Part one, easy.... too easy? Did they seriously just ask me to answer that? Anyway, I didn't have time to think of a harder answer, so easy it would have to be. Part two, didn't make sense at all. After frantically reading it two or three times, I left sufficient space for it, and went on to part three. This I understood, and was able to jot down some sort of answer.
I forced myself on to construct question three. As in the second question, there was one part that wasn't making sense to me. I put the best answer I could, and went back to question two. Not happy with either of them, I decided it was time to use my remaining time to go over the entire test, checking through. I didn't have time to check all of them, so I started with the ones that I had starred.
Guys, what I am about to tell you is something I will probably be ashamed of for the rest of my life. The first starred question asked me how many more compound numbers than prime numbers there were between two specific numbers. I had written down all the prime numbers, subtracted them from the compound numbers and come up with a number that wasn't one of my choices. When I came back to it, I counted up the prime numbers again and found that I had previously miscounted.
I wrote down 10 prime numbers, but had counted them as 12, so when I subtracted them, I got an incorrect answer.
With probably about 15 minutes of the test left, a wave of horror swept over me. I had no time to check the whole test over, and I just found out that today apparently I could not even count correctly to 10. I did my best with all the other starred problems, and was able to check over the construct questions one more time, and the first 15 or so of the multiple choice before the time was up.
The rest of the day I was in a bit of a daze. The only bright spot was finding out that Tess got engaged (yay!). When anyone (which was basically everyone I saw) asked me how it went, I gave a sickly smile and replied, "not too well." The best I could say was: at least I finished all the questions.
Often when I said that I didn't do too well, the person would respond with "I'm sure you did just fine", and eventually, Ellie started answering for me with "She passed, she just missed a few points." I hate not living up to expectations, and I was horribly worried that I wouldn't pass, and everyone would be terribly disappointed.
So fast-forward to today. I had been expecting an email with my test results, but they hadn't come in yet. I took matters into my own hands, and looked it up on the ETS website. I passed, with a score of 191 out of 200 possible. I am now rather happy, and extremely relieved. Now I am just waiting for the horror of June 7th.