Clash of the Titans: Examination Day

I recently took my New York State Teacher Certification Exam (NYSTCE – LAST) exam. Its one of two exams I have to pass before I start the summer training in a few weeks.

Unfortunately I didn’t sleep well the night before at all. Not because I was worried about the exam. My mind has just been on overdrive in the past few weeks and I haven’t been able to turn it off sometimes at night. Eventually I ended up passing out – which led to me waking up 30 minutes b4 my exam was supposed to start. I definitely planned to have an hour in the morning to prepare.

So I jumped out of bed, threw some random clothes on and ran to the train station. The testing center was a 15 minute train ride away, so I figured time was no major issue. On the train I decided to do some last minute studying. Somewhere during this week I decided that I needed to go on a self imposed study-strike, so it was time for the last minute refresher. To help counteract my laziness.

Eventually, I made my way to the testing center with a little help from my Maps app. Imagine how relieved I was to get to the testing center on time even with my unexpected setback in the morning.


The feeling was immediately snatched away when I walked up to the large glass window by the testing center’s door and realized this wasn’t the type of testing center I was used to. I imagined 20 something’s all taking their graduate, law, medical school exams. I walked into a room of about thirty people all dressed semi-professionally, and they were all easily old enough to be my parents. I’m talking late 40’s and up. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I just assumed I would be with my young professional peeps, LoL. Now that I think about it I guess I’m taking a professional certification and not an academic one. The other people there were taking professional exams for nursing, real estate licenses, etc… All of a sudden a huge wave of awkward landed on my face.

I felt extremely out of place and intimidated for a few seconds. Here I was looking like I had just come from the walk of shame to come take this exam. And here these people were looking like they just left the boardroom to come take theirs. I definitely felt like all judgmental eyes were on me. The crazy black kid who came unprepared the testing center. But then as I walked to the front desk I realized I had to get over it. Regardless of what anyone else thought of me, I needed to pass this exam, and I knew my material, so lets get down to business… Fuck them. You can judge me by my appearance if you want to, but just make sure you respect me when I pass this exam.

I signed in at the front desk and waited to be called to my testing station. The testing center was run like a medium security white collar crime prison. You can’t have anything with you while you test. This includes water, chapstick, watches, anything bigger than a shall or sweater. Its an unnecessary authoritarian mess. I mean… who really expects people to take these exams that can last up to for hours without a bottle of Poland Springs to quench their thirst!? I’m actually still surprised I was able to part ways with my Burt’s Beeswax long enough not to have a panic attack.

Eventually one of the staff came to escort me to my personal computer station. I really do think I was a character in a modern day professional Clash of the Titans. And the gods up top were recklessly throwing small challenges my way to see if I would crack. I ended up being placed in a small… add-on for lack of a better term, station.Picture a regular computer lab, and then a small walk in closet attached to it that they added after the fact to accommodate more people.

The small room was big enough for one computer station and had a large window revealing a nice view of another office building across the green walkway. There was a slight and constant chill about the room. Oddly enough it helped me stay relaxed and alert throughout the test. I don’t know why, but I kind of felt like a rebel fighting an underground cause while I was there. I really played being in the separate room to my benefit. I took a quick 60 second micro-nap when I felt a little too tired. I even managed to break away from my written response for about 5 minutes to doodle out a large image of a woman  sitting at a table staring back at me. I really wanted to take a picture to share with you guys. I even kicked my shoes off, and flipped my chair around during the last 30 minutes or so as I proofread my essay.

This post is really long – so I made a new posting to talk about the actual test itself. You can find that here

–>> NYSTCE: Test advice <<–

As I wrapped up my exam, I hid my page-size drawing of the woman into the inside of my testing note pad. Think of a spiral notebook, but instead of paper – we had to take our notes on wipe boards. I wonder whats going to go through the persons mind when they see I wrote absolutely no notes except for a quick outline, a math problem or two, and a huge drawing that clearly isn’t being tested for, LoL.

I got on the elevator with another woman who had just wrapped up her exam as well. I’ve been trying to be a lot more social lately and just comfortable starting and maintaining conversations with people I don’t know lately. So… as the elevator doors closed I randomly asked her what test she was there for. She smiled and said her nursing exam and asked me the same. We exchanged short pleasantries and then she told me that you’re not required to answer all of the questions on the nursing test, but that she did in an effort to secure her a better score. I thought that was so dope for some reason. Lets hope I would have done the same thing.

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