After taking the GED examination, I was more than a little confident in my failure of the exam. Ironically, it was my “best” subject that I was sure I had failed.
The exam itself was not necessarily as bad as I had expected. The GED examiner really made the atmosphere comfortable and, I suppose, exciting. I knew I had done everything I could to prepare, besides working on essay writing more, and I knew that this exam was the only solution to the serious pickle I’d gotten myself in. You do not usually hear about people dropping out of middle school and making it far in life, but I’m bound and determined to be the exception to that proverbial “rule.”
The other examinees were an interesting bunch—that’s for sure! When taking an incredibly important test, it is usually an excellent idea to try to be on time. Apparently, however, some did not believe the test was as important as I did, as one person showed up hours late for the exam. She was turned away.
The other examinees consisted of the young, the old, and the weird. One particular woman, who had obviously had an incredibly tough life, was not the least bit shy. When the examiner told everyone about our breaks, she specifically asked about whether she would be able to go outside and smoke. She told us that she had quit many times; in fact, she had quit for more than 10 years. Each time she quit, however, she would take up the habit again (obviously). She had tried the patch and myriad of other products to quit, but the addiction was too tough.
I could not help but question whether nicotine was her only addiction. Really, she resembled methamphetamine addict. She obviously did not care much for herself, as her hygiene was obviously lacking. Being that I’m a “dental fanatic,” one of the first observations I made about her was her general lack of teeth. For me, that would be an utter nightmare, but it was relatively obvious that she was unable to obtain proper dental care. Even with her downfalls, such as talking way too much, I admired her, as she made one of the best decisions she could have possibly made—and that is to get a GED.
She made the decision to pursue a GED because she was unable to find a good job. She said that she would work at various places, but, because she lacked a high school education, she would eventually have to “leave.” I’m sure by leave she really meant “fired,” and there’s a good chance that it had nothing to do with her educational shortcomings. Either way, it certainly could not hurt her to pursue this endeavor.
She also solidified my desire to obtain my GED and pursue higher education for this single reason: I did not want to end up like her. I wanted a better life; I wanted to make better decisions. Nothing I have said above is an attempt to degrade this woman, and I truly hope that she has been able to change her life. She is an unfortunate example of how poor decisions can adversely affect your life. However, she did one thing many others do not: She tried to find a solution. She made an effort to change things.
I forgot the results were on their way.
It generally takes 4-6 weeks before you receive the results of your exam. If you pass, you receive your diploma. If you fail, you are, I assume, given your scores for all sections (to help you prepare) and told which sections you failed.
Because it takes so long before you receive your results, I simply forgot about the exam. The fact that I genuinely believed that I had failed a portion of the exam did not help so much; it was as if I wanted to forget about it. I was disappointed about my dismal performance on the essay and wished I’d prepared better. I was more worried about having to wait months to take that section again, as well as having to tell Sheri and my other tutors about my failure. I did not want to disappoint them.
One morning, I was awoken by my father telling me I had received mail. Judging by his general excitement, and knowing that I never received any mail except from the army, I knew exactly what had arrived. I was tired, however, and apparently did not care enough to actually get up at that moment; instead, I wanted to sleep some more. My father was pissed that I did not immediately jump up to go get my mail—and he made his disdain rather clear.
Twenty minutes after being rudely awaken, and after realizing I was unable to go back to sleep, I decided to go downstairs and get my mail. I asked my mom, “Where is it?” She got out of her chair with something in her hand, walked up to me, grabbed me for a hug, and said, “You got it! I’m so proud.”
She was nearly in tears and her pride was evident. I was irritated, however, because I don’t like being touched and I was still in that “waking up” stage of the “morning” (afternoon). It was almost as if I was experiencing sensory overload and, at any time, I was going to explode.
Naturally, my first question was how they even knew I’d passed. I assumed they had opened my mail, so I was rather pissed and I was fully prepared to press charges. My mom quickly pointed out that it said “diploma enclosed” on the front of the envelope. I was a little peeved that the GED people decided to stamp that on there.
Perhaps the postal employees take special care of envelopes with “diploma enclosed” clearly printed on it with red ink. Or not.
My scores were better than expected. In all, I received a relatively high score in all subject areas with mathematics being the clear winner. My hard work certainly paid off, as I received a “79 percentile rank” in the mathematics portion of the exam. I think that translates into being in the top 21 percent of graduating high school students, but I can’t be sure. The scores are not the easiest thing to interpret. (In order to determine scores and such, they test high school seniors.)
My writing score was disappointing, but I obviously did better than I expected. I received a 33 percentile rank. Prior to actually taking the exam, I expected to receive a much higher score. Even though I passed, it really messed up my average—and that seriously irks me!
Several years later, when I was considering going to dental school, I emailed the Ohio State GED Administrator. I told her that I did not perform as well as I’d hoped on the writing portion and that I was curious if I would be able to retake only that section.
Her response was surprising and did not give me much faith in my fellow humans! She told me that my score was actually above average and a good score. She told me not to worry about it. She also told me that you are not allowed to retake any part of the exam if you passed it, unless you retake the entire exam.
Note: Perhaps it is silly to say this again, but I want anyone who reads this to know that I am still very interested in hearing what you have to say about my blog. Suggestions, questions, etc. are encouraged!