Big Day Coming Up

Okay, the day is almost here. Tomorrow, I’m driving down to Austin, Texas, stay at one of Austin’s finest hotels, get up the next morning, present myself at the Texas Board of Professional Geologists‘s headquarters and spend the day filling in bubbles with a No2 pencil.

After 10+ years since your last exam, it’s been an interesting experience to study text books, burrow through study guides, make flash cards, review what seems like an entire college education, and get into test taking mode.

This is the ASBOG (Association of State Boards of Geology) exam, one requirement for applying for licensing as professional geoscientist in the State of Texas. 8AM, Friday, No2 pencil ready in hand, I will start 130 questions covering what they call “Fundamentals of Geology” – a 4-hour tour de force. Then after lunch, I will sit for the “Practice of Geology” exam, 100 questions, another 4 hours. Wow, won’t that be fun. Of course, part 1 is supposed to be easier than part 2. But after 10 years in the business, real world questions make a lot more sense to me than remembering a bunch of terminology, formulas, and definitions I may have once been familiar with as a young and bright college student.

Anyway, by now, I think (I hope) I’m well prepared. It’s all about test taking and not how much you know anyway. A lot of the test questions I have seen are simplistic, designed to be misread or to be tricky, and – like most other standardized tests – don’t test how qualified you are but how well you studied for the test. I’m glad when I read these days that many colleges are no longer considering SAT scores as the sole or main criterion for admissions. There is more to preparedness and the promise of future performance than filling out the right bubble with a No2 pencil.

Wish me luck.


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