Well, it’s done. My board recertification exam is officially off the to-do list. At least for another seven years. Though I can’t share exam specifics lest an evil pediatric lord descend upon me and pelt me with diapers, I would like to offer twelve steps on how to navigate a formal test-taking center should your life-journey ever plop you there.*
Step 1: Empty your bladder.
My first step for everything.
Step 2: Blow your nose.
Nothing but your brain, ID, and locker key are allowed in the central testing room. That includes your own tissues. So if you planned on smuggling in test answers on boogers, you’re out of luck.
Step 3: Arrive naked.
Or as close to it as you can. No watches. Empty pockets. Nothing tucked inside your socks (yes, they’ll check). If you wear a sweater and later get hot, tough. You must keep it on or leave the testing room and deposit it in your provided locker.
Step 4: Secure a locker and deposit your valuables.
I chose #7 for good luck.
Step 5: Get searched before entering testing room.
Pull pockets inside out to prove they’re empty. Lift pants to show your ankles are free of contraband. Stand soberly in front of attendant, legs spread, arms splayed, and allow stranger to pass his wand over your front and back side to ensure you’re metal-free. This may be your biggest thrill all day.
Step 6: Enter testing room and follow attendant to your assigned cubby: desk #13.
Locker #7’s good luck is now neutralized. Wonder briefly if a black cat and broken mirror will follow.
Step 7: Get situated.
Position mouse. Put on ill-fitting noise-control headphones. Try to not be a Sheldon and think about the festering organisms on said mouse and noise-control headphones. Tune out all the nervous testers getting situated behind you.
Step 8: Take two-hour exam, section one.
Self-explanatory. If not, you probably won’t pass anyway.
Step 9: Take allotted break in small waiting area.
Leave testing room. Pee. Eat snack to avoid stomach grumbles that would only add to the coughs, sneezes, grunts, squeaks, throat-phlegming, and keyboard-tapping occurring around you despite the noise-control headphones.
Step 10: Return to testing room.
Get wanded for the second time. Don’t forget to pull out your pockets and lift up your pants. Ooh la la.
Step 11: Take two-hour exam, section two.
Try not to become blubbering monkey from question overload and blindly click responses.
Step 12: Leave center.
Drive away without looking at the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street, even if you think you deserve it.
Have you ever taken an exam at a formal testing center?
*As always I jest. Despite the draconian measures, the Prometric staff was efficient and the process smooth. Even with desk #13.