Archive for July, 2009


How Did Jamie Do On the Praxis?

So I posted yesterday about my terrible praxis related anxiety.  How did I do?

Well, I arrived to the test center an hour early.  I have a habit of getting terribly lost while driving (regardless of my lovable Tom-Tom) so I left insanely early.  For the first time in my life, I managed to get to my destination perfectly on time.  Wow!  Luckily, there were stores in the complex and I spent half an hour at five below, a lovely little store with tons of cheap things.  I bought a wastebasket (with a picture of Oscar the grouch on it that says ‘I love trash!’ ahah) and a new cord for my ipod. 

I went into the testing center.  They gave me the whole privacy speech and then took me to the computer room.  They sat me down at a ratty uncomfortable chair (my home for 4 hours) and handed me some skanky looking headphones for noise blocking.  I opted not to use the headphones. 

I suppose that they assume that in the real world, everything is silent, no one goes to the bathroom more than once every 4 hours, you only have 30 seconds to answer any question someone asks you, there are no word processors, there are no internet searches, there is no spell check, all math must be done immediately in your head, all Math formulas must be memorized, there are no calculators, you do not own a dictionary, and if you answer questions wrong – that’s okay, you can just spend 180 dollars and you get a re-do.  Also, at any point, you may be asked to write a well organized and well written essay on any random topic with no background information, outside sources, or pre-writing time within a 25 minute time frame and your entire career will rely on your ability.  Is this really what Kaplan thinks of the real world or have they purposely found a way to produce a state required test which is extremely expensive and difficult in order to steal money from poor students who must buy study books and repeat tests?  That’s what I think.  My real world is nothing like theirs.

So I spent 30 minutes working on the computer learning exercises and I’m glad that I did because certain features are different on their computers than regular computers.  I would say that if you are taking the Praxis, show up half an hour early in order to do the practice exercises – doing so will save you time and effort during the test.

First, the reading section.  This section was identical in form to the Kaplan preparation book.  I was hoping that it would not be similiar because while doing the practice test in the book, I answered nearly half the questions wrong and went terribly over my time.  The real test, however, I rushed through, marking every question that I could not answer immediately.  I hid the time countdown so that I would not be distracted or more rushed than I already was.  As the end of the test, I had only used half the amount of time alotted.  That means that I had 40 minutes left to go over the questions I’d marked.  I had about 10 out of the 46ish questions marked.. so I took my time and answered those questions, thinking about every answer.  I finished the test with 30 minutes remaining.

Second, the math section.  I was surprised with the math section.  Math is my strong suit so I didn’t prepare for this section of the test.  That was a mistake.  3/4 of the problems were graphs with insane questions to go along with them that took a lot of thought, especially due to the confusing wording of the questions.  I was surprised at the amount of and difficulty of algebra questions –  but happy.  I am very good at algebra but if you are not, I would say to practice because there are there.. questions with 3 variables.  X, Y, and N all in the same problem and it wasn’t just plug these numbers in, it was solve for the answers.  Also, if you’re not good at coordinate planes and all that junk, study that too.  What I was most surprised with was the limited amount of time given to solve 3-4 step problems.  There were 2 questions that I simply guessed the answer because I didn’t even know where to begin to try to solve them.  Considering Math is my best area and I had so much difficulty solving the problems, I would say that if you are not good at Math, spend 20 dollars on the book and study a lot.

Next was the first and only break.  10 minutes to go to the bathroom and be back in my seat before time is subtracted from your test.  I was back in my seat after 5 minutes because I was terribly worried about using up my time for the writing section.  During those 5 minutes, I worried terribly about my scores.  I did not feel confident that I’d answered the questions correctly and I was wondering what my options were if I should not pass.  I decided that I would have to drop out of my current program and enroll in another program which allowed for more time.  Rutgers offers a certain degree to which students are allowed to fail the Praxis and still become certified so that was my main option.  Back to work.

The third section of the test was the writing section.  The writing section was exactly what I expected it to be and although I had some difficulty finding errors in some of the sentences, most of it came down to common sense – do you know the English language well or not?  Still, I was worried about this section because that’s what I do.  I would say that the book did help me to know what to expect with this section.  Money well spent.

Fourth – the real writing section.  A completely unexpected essay prompt revealed itself.  Although I’m confident in my ability to write, I am not confident about my ability to write an essay on such an ‘out there’ topic in 25 minutes with no word processor, dictionary, pre-writing, or research.  I would reveal the topic but I signed a ‘promise of confidentiality’ note which gives them the right to keep my money and cancel my scores if they find out that I shared information about the test.  Not happening.  I will tell you that I was not expecting anything like what it was.  I was expecting something related to the education field or who is your hero type of things.. not even close.  Completely out in left field.  Anyway, so I did my best and I guess we’ll see.

At the end, you are given the option to immediately cancel your scores (they still get to keep your money) or see your scores.  I showed them because even if I failed, I have no idea why I wouldn’t. 

I was nervous.
Tension was running high.

My fingers were shaking – earthquake.
My breath was heavy – hurricane.
My eyes blinked repeatedly – lightning.
My stomach rumbled – thunder.
My chest tightened and then.. – tsunami.

I put my finger on the mouse.
I clicked “show scores”
I clicked “yes, show scores”
I closed my eyes.
I took a deep breath.
I said a silent prayer.
I opened my eyes.

I saw my scores.

Comment if you’d like to know how I did.


What Day is Today?

Today is the day.  Praxis day.  I can’t explain how nervous I am.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the book but I still don’t feel prepared.  It seems as though it’s more ‘test taking skills than anything.  Sadly, I have everything but test taking skills.  I have severe test anxiety.  This anxiety is only magnified by the fact that I get one chance to take the test or I’m out of my program at school.

I’m going to go get sick and maybe I’ll feel more prepared.

Wish me luck.


Should the implementation of School Suspension continue as a punishement for students?

I think that school suspension as a punishment for students is ridiculous. I think that it’s just a way for administrators to get students out of their hair. Administrators think that they are punishing their studetns and teaching them a lesson by giving them a certain amount of days to stay out of school. What they don’t realize is that students don’t care. Some actually look forward to a suspension. To them, it is a mini-vacation. Many of these students are home during the day by themselves because their parents are at work so they can do whatever they want. I think that instead of the administrators giving students a suspension sentence, they should keep them in school and take away extracurricular activities or put them in a class away from all of their peers to teach them a lesson.


Should Teachers be allowed to have a Facebook?

I think that teachers should be allowed to have a facebook. Afterall, facebook was created so that people could stay in touch with friends and family. It is an easier and faster way for people to stay connected. As long as facebook is used in the manner it was created for, I don’t see a problem with it. What people forget is that teachers are human too. They desire that connection with people as much as their students do. If their facebook is appropriate at all times , than I think they should continue on with the use of their pages. So teachers, WRITE ON!!


Should the NJASK test be formulated to fit students with special needs?

Students in every public school are required to take the NJASK test. It is a test that is based on average students intelligence, which is exactly why i think that giving the test to studnets with special needs is an injustice to them.  Students who have special needs should have a test that is specially designed for them. It should be a test that is approachable for them as well as challenging enough for them to feel that they can do the material. Giving them a test that is set on a level that even some regular education students have trouble with can be discouraging and disheartening for them and could lead to them giving up. If the desire for education is that no children should be left behind than adapt this test so that we as a society can finally fulfill the meaning of No Child Left Behind.


Should students be made to wear uniforms?

Why are students being forced to wear uniforms? Many argue that it will eliminate the students from being competitive with other students who wear name brands. But I think that  students sh0uld have the choice to decide whether or not they want to. I mean after all, they are the ones who will be wearing them.

Here is a video that shows some students opinions on why they think that uniforms are ineffective.


Should Metal Detectors and Searches be Implemented in Schools?

I think not. After school shooting tragedies like Columbine and other school incidents, schools have been more aware of the safety of their students. Some school officials have laced their schools with metal detectors  which kids have to walk through every morning and afternoon in hopes that they will be able to catch students who are carrying weapons on them. Some schools also have locker searches at least once a month and some even check the students backpacks and bags before they even hit the classroom. 

 I understand that school is supposed to be safe and that all of these precautions are to ensure that the school environment is a safe place to be, but don’t school officials think that if they treat the students like criminals, they will soon act like it. Why should students have to be subjected to searches and pat-downs before they even get a chance to learn? 

Here is a video, though it’s dated, still proves my point.


July 2009
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