Yeah, I was definitely frustrated after the first day. The capper came that night when I was messing with my computer and my little brother called. I had fun talking to him (and his girlfriend in the background), but the consequences were dire: I ran out of time to use the hot tub. It was shut down for the night, so I crawled into bed with enough time to get six hours of sleep. When I woke up, I was wide awake. Then I looked at the clock: I’d slept for five hours.
I pulled the covers up and dozed for another hour until my alarm went off. I thought about getting packed up and heading downstairs for my usual hot breakfast ritual, but I changed my mind for a couple reasons. For one thing, I still had half of that Subway sub sitting in the fridge—since I was grabbing lunch with a friend that afternoon, it seemed kinda silly to keep it around. For another, no hot tub the night before. Consequently, I got out of bed, shaved and jumped into a hot shower for a couple minutes. (Not nearly the same thing, but sometimes you have to make do with what you’ve got.)
Freshly cleaned and clean-shaven, I ate my sub, packed up all my stuff and brought it out to my car. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to worry about my laptop being dysfunctional until I got home–the second day is two three-hour sessions of 100 multiple-choice questions. I usually escape the room with about twenty minutes left to go because I don’t like going over my work again. Okay, scratch that: I don’t like going over my multiple-choice questions again. I can be very particular about what I write in here (or any other essay, for that matter), but when it comes to filling in little bubbles… I figure if I didn’t get it right the first time around, I won’t be any smarter when I look at it again and come up with a better answer.
Even though I took extra time to clean up, the lack of breakfast at the Liffey meant I got to RiverCentre fairly early again. There still wasn’t a whole lot for me to do outside the testing area, so I went right in, signed in, checked my stuff at the coat room, went back to my seat from the day before and waited for things to get started. And because I didn’t have my laptop there, I didn’t need to worry about the “Cruel” proctor getting pissy for running a non-SofTest program again.
When it was getting close to the starting time, we got our usual instructions: “Stop writing after I call ‘Time’; fill in the bubble completely; don’t fill in more than one bubble per answer or the scoring machine will get confused, chew up your answer sheet and spit it out on the wall, we won’t be able to read anything manually and we’ll just give you a 0 because we’re lazy.” You know, just for that little boost of confidence before everything hits the fan.
“You may begin.” Everyone opened up their books and started making little scribbles that vaguely resembled circles all over their answer sheets. Usually next to the numbers that signified the questions they were answering. I cruised through the test (as usual), got stuck on a couple tough questions (as usual), finished early (as usual) and got the hell out of the room as quickly as I could (as usual). Not much different than when I’ve taken the exam before (as you may have noticed by the previous sentence), but I felt a little more confident about my answers this time around.
So I got my bag and coat, sat down and drank my final bottle of Gatorade, then waited for my friend to finish the test so we could grab some food. I waited for a pretty long time. You’re not allowed to leave the testing area when there’s less than ten minutes to go—I don’t know whether he needed the full amount of time or whether he got trapped inside because of the clock, but regardless, I was sitting around until the entire group started filtering out of the testing area. Thankfully, the sun was shining, so I found a nice spot where I could absorb some rays, lean against a pillar and see everyone leaving the room.
We went to grab some pizza, I found out a little about what was going on in his life, I answered some questions about the show and being on TV in general… nothing spectacular, but the pizza was pretty good and we got to walk around outside in the sun to get to and from the restaurant. Plus the test wasn’t over yet.
Even after drinking that Gatorade plus another big bottle of Mountain Dew, I had a problem: I started to nod off during the afternoon slot. I don’t know why it happens, but when I’m really dehydrated after lunch, I usually get really warm and really tired (which sometimes put me in a bad spot during a couple really tedious afternoon classes at William Mitchell). Just like last time, I wasn’t doing the tired-head-bob so much, but I was definitely resting my pencil on the page and leaving streak marks across the little bubbles.
Thankfully, I found a way to solve the problem: I couldn’t help the dehydration part, but since I was wearing two shirts, I took off the outer one and took the rest of the exam in just a t-shirt. Dropping a layer was just what I needed—I felt more alert and much less likely to leave drool stains on my answer sheet. I don’t know whether it ultimately affected my cognitive skills, but like I said, if I didn’t get the right answer the first time, there’s not much point in going back to stare at it some more.
About twenty minutes before time was up, I handed in my materials and left the building with one more bar exam under my belt (and I’m hoping it’s the last one, ’cause this belt is starting to look a little tattered…). But the fun wasn’t quite over yet, which wasn’t because of the overcast sky. That was kind of a pisser—it was nice and sunny the entire day before and during lunch that day as well. After finishing the exam and getting outside, it was cold, gray and I saw a couple snowflakes coming down. I don’t think God was trying to warn me not to get my hopes up, but it sure didn’t make me feel any better.
Then I got to the hotel’s parking garage, ready to jump into my car and drive home. Except I couldn’t get out. I ran my key card through the slot and it kept getting rejected. It turned out that the guy in the truck ahead of me who had to back away from the exit was having the same problem, so we went up to the front desk of the hotel to find out what the hell was going on. The girl behind the counter said we could have pushed the “Help” button when our cards wouldn’t work, but she jumped onto the computer, pushed a couple buttons of her own and we gained the ability to leave again. The magic of computers was not on my side on those two days.
Once I got out of the garage, I made it home with no problems. Drove home, dumped all my stuff on the floor and turned into a vegetable for a couple days. I didn’t update my blog (you may have noticed the recent lack of entries), I didn’t write many e-mails or instant messages… my contact with the virtual world shriveled up into almost nothing. I’m still in recovery mode to some degree, but at least I’m using my laptop again, especially since it thinks the wireless card still exists. Now if it suddenly decides to delete SofTest at random, that’ll make life a whole lot nicer. Not as nice as getting a passing score in the middle of April, but close enough for now.