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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Test It Was, And What a Test It Was...

Once there was a test...  It's one of the few scores I care to remember.  You might think it was my S.A.T. score.  You might think I studied hardest for that high-stakes test to help unlock the doors to colleges.  You'd be wrong.  It wasn't even an A.P. test in my junior year to make my transcript shine that much brighter in some college-admissions office somewhere.  It was a test I took in May of my senior year--when I had already been accepted to colleges.  The score could make absolutely no difference to me for either college entrance or G.P.A.  It was my Economics IB score.  

So, why did I take Economics IB and why did I burn the midnight oil to do so well?  Was it because I realized the great importance of economics?  No.  Was it because I had a natural interest in economics?  Most decidedly, no!  Was it because I thought such knowledge might make me monetarily richer in life.  No, again.

The simple fact is I signed up for Economics IB because it was taught by my former history teacher.  I had developed a special connection with history in eleventh grade and I will never forget that it was through my teacher.  Despite, twenty-five years of teaching or so, it would be this teacher's first year with advanced economics.  So, I said, if he was going to have a go at it, I would, too.  I just wanted to try my best.  I purchased a second-hand copy of Samuelson and read it cover to cover.    

When it came time to sign up for the exam, I had to make a choice.  Would I opt for the higher or lower level?  I opted for the higher level.  On a warm May day I took that test.  In the springtime of my life, I baked my brains.  Some seniors really couldn't be bothered.  Some hardly tried; many left early.  I stayed to the bitter end.  I pumped out every last bit left in me.  I don't remember how I felt when I left the room.  I just remember when this test was over (and my other APs), I went home and slept through the afternoon.      

A couple months later I received my score.  It was a 7.  The highest score on the higher level of this international exam.  I was among the best of the best--at least on this test.  But my greatest gratification came from knowing I built myself a goal.  My motivations were somewhat unusual.  It was driven by something David Coleman could probably never grasp, not "giving a shit" how people feel.  But I reached my goal.  And, if anything, my teacher could assess his first year with Economics IB at least knowing he taught one kid to be among the best students (at least on a standardized exam) of economics in the world.  It's the only test score I care to remember.  Test it was and what a test it was, it was...   

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