Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Testing Date

I was writing the final paragraphs of my post last night when my Internet connection broke down unexpectedly. I've left the completed entry at home, and will probably get back to it once I confirm exactly what happened to my ISP.

Yeah, I had a busy weekend. Saturday morning alone saw me in the unenviable position of being forced to come to work, and I was generally stuck in the malls for the rest of that same afternoon. Fortunately, I had heard that Mensa Philippines was holding another qualifying exam at that time, and after skipping over my original intended test in favor of the iBlog Summit, I felt that I owed them something.

The Mensa testing venue last Saturday was located on the sixth floor of the Oakwood apartments somewhere in the middle of the city mall/s. For those not in the know, however, the Oakwood apartments are more hotel-type than apartment-type, which meant that the peace and silence there were quite deafening.

I paid my four hundred pesos like a good little boy, filled out their requisite forms, and listened to their briefing. The guy manning the registration desk struck me as being extremely nervous for some reason. Maybe I intimidated him (yeah, right). Maybe he was tired of saying the same thing to each and every applicant. Maybe he just needed a good stiff drink that day.

Then I entered the testing room and was struck by about thirty square feet of pure white: White wallpaper, white tablecloths, white testing papers, and a little whiteboard to boot. I claimed my answer sheet and test booklet, then sat down to take my first actual exam in approximately four years.

The first thing I noticed about the exam was that we were using terrible pencils. I like pencils with soft dark lead, mind you, because you can vary your level of shading in order to produce very dark marks, or very light ones. Mensa pencils apparently have very hard lead, which, while it does make them last longer, also means that you have to exert some effort towards getting even one defining mark on paper.

For the skeptics out there, the test questions were just as gender-neutral, race-neutral and culture-neutral as advertised. Everything was generally a bunch of "which comes next in the sequence" items, although I can't quite say that all of them were easy. Heck, chances are good that you'll be scratching your head as much as I did, once you get to the latter parts of the test booklet.

Still, everything looked solvable. I placed some educated guesses for those few questions that I did not initially understand, then went through the test one more time and confirmed that my answers to those questions were logical enough to be correct. I considered doodling on my answer sheet just for the fun of it, but then finally decided that I could make enough trouble for the organization on my own time.

On my way out of the testing room, I found that 'registration-guy' was still manning the desk in front. He gave me a wide smile and asked me what I thought of the exam. So I told him the first thing that came to mind.

"It was... fast," I said. "Kind of."

He continued to watch me, open-mouthed, as I walked away in the direction of the elevators. Maybe we'll run into each other again in the halls of the venerable organization sometime.

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