Aah yes, the test that proves your competence after 10-11 years of school that has enveloped your entire being for longer than it should have.
On Dec, 12th I took this test and shall now give a narrative on how everything played out, so that my experience can hopefully bring some light to the frightful concept of taking such a test (especially for homeschoolers who have likely never taken any sort of test in a public school).
Four weeks before my test I got mono (which I am still struggling with). As most people know, mono causes extreme fatigue- which means I was unable to study at all, for four weeks.
Now, as a homeschooler my educational background has been good. I’ve been to a co-op twice (didn’t work out well just with the scheduling), I’ve studied above my grade (not the smartest in the bunch, but decently bright), and I’ve gone on independent study- doing many projects and research papers voluntarily. However due to many severe health problems in my family, I’m behind in a few subjects. Biology, chemistry, algebra, and geometry. Yeah…a lot. But I’m versed enough in all of them to at least attempt the test.
Well, I had gone to the library before I got sick and got an ACT Princeton Review study guide with practice tests. I didn’t do so hot- however the english and reading were a breeze.However, once I got mono I could barely concentrate. Yes, I was studying before I got sick, but mono tends to shrivel all braincells to a point of being useless, so all information was basically lost. I had to walk into my test with a very incompetent brain, and feeling like crap. Here is how the test day went:
The night before the test I had a nightmare that I was taking the test (in the living room of the house I used to live in…weird, I know), and this kid kept taking the test from me, the time was called, and i couldn’t take the test. I woke up in a fright (yes, I know I’m dramatic…but seriously that’s how I was seeing this test). I kept waking up in anxiety all night, and actually beat my alarm clock to waking up that morning by 10 minutes.
Getting to the test center was fine since we used to live right next to Warren (the high school I was taking it at). I walked in with my mom and we sat down for a little while since we were early, and registration didn’t start until 8. A little bit about warren: It’s about %70-80 black. I’m not prejudice AT ALL, but the culture is not familiar to me- to top it all off in my individual class room, I was one out of only 3 white kids, one of which was a mute (seemingly) and the other, a ghetto boy. No one talked to me, but that was fine. In fact it was a little bit easier to deal with having to focus only on the test.
The time was called and we got registered. Mom walked me to my classroom and then left for me to begin the long and gruesome test. There was assigned seating, and mine was number 13 in the back row (lucky for me, because I’d rather be up against a wall where I can feel semi safe). We waited for about 40 minutes because people were late (which supposedly was “prohibited”), and then the teacher walked us through bubble after bubble to fill out for the computer to read our forms– that took about a half an hour, including the explaining of every rule and all that was prohibited.
The classroom we were in was really small, lit well considering how dark it was outside, and the temperature was comfortable (something I was worried about, as I find it difficult to focus when I’m absolutely freezing– who wouldn’t?).
The test began, and off I went. Zooming through the questions on the english test pretty quickly, I ended up finishing about 10 minutes early. Once that test was finished we got yet another lecture on how evil certain calculators are, and what would happen if we were using such a calculator. The teacher went on to explain the prohibited behavior (once again), and then the mathematics test began.
Math has never been easy for me (except geometry…thats not too hard). So as I began answering as much as I could and making guesstimates on all the others, I look up and see kids sleeping! At least I think they were sleeping… I wonder how many times they’ve taken that test?
There was a short break in between all four tests, and so as all the other kids left the teacher goes “If you are back after the test has begun you cannot make up for that time” —the break was 5 minutes long. My opinion? Too short of a break.
Then the reading test began. “WOW!” I thought to myself as I began (being the dramatic person I am) pouring myself into the characters of the excerpt from some book about space exploration. I completely forgot I was testing, and upon looking at the clock once I was finished, realized I needed to rush through things in order to get all the questions answered before time was called. I know, I know- silly of me.
After the test was done, and countless guesstimates were made on the science test, I left that VERY uncomfortable and restraining little desk of mine and headed the heck out of that classroom. I was to meet my friend Allie in the lobby for lunch. Well, she was doing ACT writing, and I wasn’t, and of course I forgot to clarify whether she was or wasn’t taking that part of the test. So I was stuck in the FREEZING COLD lobby of Warren Central High School, a ghostly-white spectacle for all to see, waiting for another 45 minutes before she came out. With mono. Uhg.
I got to see for the entire 45 minutes (and earlier, after being apart of it myself) the zombie mob of kids walking out of the school or slumping apathetically and mechanically into the metal benches that surrounded the lobby as they waited for their ride home. Their feet shuffled, their eyes squinted, their speech murmuring softly in the cold dark room. Ordinarily these kids would have their music pumping through their ears, eyes open and talking loud… but this was ACT day, and smiles aren’t allowed.
I felt like one of many monstrous man-eating creatures emerging from the grave as I walked with them down the dark and silent hallway after the test. No one said a word. It was as if the silence was an unspoken rule- not because of the other people taking the test in rooms down the hall…but because there simply was no reason to speak. Nothing mattered anymore except finding food, and going back to bed before you rip someones brains out. It’s a wonder the teachers didn’t run away in fright as they made sure we left the school quietly. I was intimidated just being near my co-freakers I hadn’t spoken a word too. And in the lobby, as they quietly whispered to one another for no reason other than that they lacked the strength to speak; they stared at me as if they were hungry….the white kid was all alone with no friends and no knowledge of the layout of the school building. Perhaps they found me an easy target to inflict upon a violent demise out of sheer desperation???
Either way, I wanted to talk to them. Perhaps liven the mood? But I myself had not the strength, and I think they found me very weird.
My friend finally arrived and we scurried to Burger King where I scarfed down the largest amount of food I could afford. Eating like boy people is definitely something that comes out of a girl when subject to such a terror – but I eat like boy people anyways…lol
However you want to look at the ACT test- a simple academic assessment or zombie training- I lived, and all the other zombies did too.
To any homeschooler that may read this, that hasn’t taken the test yet- it’s all good. Wasn’t too scary…I would however advise anyone to not take the test while living (or not living) with mono.
All in all, it was quite the adventure -sorta- and I am praying for a good score so I do NOT have to do that again. =]