Because of #1 above, the night before the test itself, I went to bed much later than I had intended to. I woke up the next morning thinking the most important thing I have ever thought of all the mornings I have lived so far -- I have to eat something before I leave. But I had forgotten that the only things in the fridge that might provide adequate sustenance were a week old Chinese take out box with fried shrimp, a 2 week old take out box of pork chops and mustard and other assorted condiments. Then I looked on top of the microwave, found one whole shining bagel and fired up my oven to toast it.
On the drive to the test center, I chanted my winner's mantra out loud. "You WILL do well. You will, you will, you will." You could tell all the other driver's on their way to work that morning envied my conviction. Or else they were just staring because they thought I was crazy. But either way, chanting mantras really works to pump yourself up.
Once I got inside, I took a seat in the lobby and waited a grueling half hour to be checked in before I could start. The first ten, fifteen minutes of waiting were acceptable. But after that, you could tell the whole room was about to explode soon by the number of jittering legs. One woman got up and started doing karate kicks across the room.
I ended up forgiving the testing center for the wait after interacting with the proctors. These people must have been trained professionals. You could just read it straight out of their eyes that they felt for you. And the suspicion I had that all the proctors were worried that we were all doomed and were surely about to fail our tests was quickly confirmed when they handed each of us the Kleenex box. When I said thanks, but no thanks, I was urged to take some... just in case. At that point, all the test takers looked at each other. We all knew what that meant. They were for the tears we were soon about to cry. One girl turned around, put on her jacket and drove home. (Well, that's what I originally thought. But it turned out she just went to the bathroom).
After we each tucked 2 tissues into our otherwise empty pockets at the insistence of the proctors, we were finally allowed to enter the testing room and begin our tests. The test went by quickly. Well, as quickly as 4 hours can pass while spending the entire time scratching your head and drawing tic tac toe scribbles on your scratch paper. When I finished, I got up to leave and the proctor asked how I did. I said I think I did ok. He printed out my score report and said with his eyes open wide, "Oh, that's good. That's really good." But I had a feeling that was also part of his training, in addition to the Kleenex offering, and that he must have said that to everyone he had seen that day. But anyway, that's all over and done with... Hopefully.