Saturday, August 19, 2006

WPE! I Can Write!

Hooray! On July 8th, 2006, after over an hour of standardized testing, on a Saturday nonetheless, I participated in and satisfactorily passed the Writing Proficiency Exam which all students at CSULB are required to take at some point or another. Personally, I didn't take it until I had reached the "or another" period in time, i.e. until they put a hold on my account and prevented me from registering for my classes.

Of course, it's one of those things that's mentioned in the long and arduous orientation marathon that I attended a year or so ago when I first started CSULB. They try and freak you out by telling you all these important things to remember and dates to keep track of and tests to take and where to shovel money into their pockets. Naturally, this was one of those dronings I must have misplaced (disregarded) in my mind.

So when I got the threatening e-mail saying that I have to take the WPE or I'll be dragged out of my house in chains and forced to watch them burn all of my academic records, my future diploma, and my underwear, I finally got motivated.

After I had waded through enough red tape to make a bull keel over in a heap of enmity and overstimulation, I finally got the hold lifted from my account so I could register again, and secured a test date.

On the morning of my test, I arrived at my school, waited to be admitted into the room, had my ID checked to make sure I was me (sure don't want imposters faking someone's proficiency at's not like their teachers won't find out next semester anyway), and sat down in a room with many other students upset at the waste of their precious Saturday.

The test wasn't any sweat. I was given a topic and had to write an essay about the dangers of misinformation and having too much info localized in one spot, i.e. the internet. The hardest part was keeping from laughing at my two crack test administrators.

They were two black people, a guy and a girl. The girl was the ultimate showcase in spoken monotonism. Her sacred duty was to read the instructions of the test. The sole duty of the guy was, well, I don't really know. All I know is he sat in the front of the room in a desk which was facing us, with his back to the wall, and once the test had begun, he put on a pair of sunglasses and fell asleep.

At one point, I looked up from my furious scribbling to see him, resting his head against the wall, with his mouth totally agape. We were just lucky he didn't have Stuffed Nasal Orifices Resonating in Ears syndrome, or SNORE.

Against all odds, however, I managed to write an essay that I was happy with and with which I felt confident that I would pass without a problem.

Sure enough, a few days ago, I got a letter in the mail verifying that exact thought. I needed an 11 to pass, and I got a 14 out of a possible 18 points.

I'm now officially proficient enough in writing to meet the requirements and expectations of CSULB. Whoopee! I can write, and it's all thanks to this mandatory state examination. Now I've sufficiently proven myself to be worthy of continuing in my studies as an ENGLISH major who already has taken six English classes in two semesters at CSULB, two of them being creative writing classes and five of them being upper division.

I'm sure glad I have the security and confidence of this standardized test under my proverbial belt, so if I ever have any doubts about whether or not I am a good writer, I can just reference my score of 14 on the WPE and be instantly self-assured again. Whew.

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