I PASSED THE NATIONAL COUNSELOR EXAMINATION (NCE)!
The relief is unbelievable. I took the exam this afternoon and I must admit that I was concerned. This exam marks the very last time I will ever take a major licensing/academic test. I spent the last couple of weeks scared to death that I would not pass it. I studied hard in the last week or so and I really felt that I just wasn't going to be able to remember the things I needed to know. There was so much information. I had two classmates/friends who took it in August and they were both very helpful in suggesting study strategies and so on. Still, once you get into the exam room, it's just you and the test.
I did not sleep well last night. I even took a sleeping pill, but it did not help. It made me groggy, but not enough to sleep. The anxiety was overtaking sleep. I got up this morning and did some last minute studying. Then, I bought a Code Red Mountain Dew and began driving to the testing center, which was about 15 miles away. I drink Mountain Dew only once a month and today was the day for it. I arrived at the testing center and had to wait about 30 minutes before I could go in. I did some studying in the car and then, it was time.
The test is administered at H&R Block offices. I don't know why, but it is. Anyway, I sat down and began the exam. It is 200 multiple choice questions administered via computer. I did not know the answer definitively to the first several questions and I started to get concerned. Several more questions in and I was sure I was not going to pass. There were a lot of questions on Research and Statistics, which is my worst area so that was not helping. As I continued on in the exam, I realized that I did know the answer definitively to a lot of the questions so I started to have some hope. That hope went up and down as the exam went on. I was exhausted so that did not help matters.
Finally, I finished the questions and began to go back over the ones I had skipped because I was unsure of the answers. Upon the second glance at them, I realized that I was fairly certain of the answers. Even the Research and Statistics questions I had skipped were making sense. It pays to skip what you don't know and return to it later.
I decided to go through all my answers just to double check. About 20 questions in, I was so tired that I realized I wasn't going to make it through all of them so I gave it to God and pressed the button to end the exam. Once you do that, they force you to take a 15-question survey about the exam conditions before they will print your exam results. BASTARDS!! I am certain that qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. The results print out at a printer near the front and only the examinee is allowed to see them. I went up and collected my results. I was scared to death to turn it over to see what it said, but once I did and I saw that beautiful word, PASS, on the top...the relief was unreal!!
I have been in school for a very long time. I have two B.A. degrees, one M.A., and a J.D. (law degree). I relate this not to brag, but so you can understand why this exam was particularly poignant for me. It is the very last time I will ever take a school/licensing exam. That is a strange feeling because, with the exception of only a couple of years here and there, I have been preparing for exams since I was 17 years old. I am 35 now so given the years off from school now and again, that is nearly half my life. I am thrilled, relieved, and excited to truly be done. Since I was 17, I have taken:
1. SAT (college entrance exam)
2. Entrance exam for the professional journalism school at the University of Oregon.
3. LSAT (Law School Admission test)
4. MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam). This is the ethics portion of the bar exam, administered separately from the bar usually in the second year of law school.
5. The Bar Exam. That just speaks for itself.
6. Comprehensive exam for my M.A.
7. NCE (National Counselor Examination).
And folks...WE ARE DONE!