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Susan八年级校园生活(21)-- SAT考试(尤如上刑)

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SAT考试

 

Susan 小哭译

 

 

 

脖子疼、背疼、脚麻。我已经在同一个地方坐了几个小时了,被困在一个又硬又不舒服、叫做“椅子”的奇妙发明里。倒不是什么人把我绑在椅子上了,噢,不是。原因比那更糟,是被一个设计出来专门用以折磨象我这样的青少年的某种特别的东西……SAT考试。

 

好了,我可能有点夸大其词了。其实没那么糟糕,只是很乏味。四个小时的考试,竟然只有三次五分钟的休息?如果你问我的话,我会说这是让人感到乏味的最好的办法。也许只是因为我不习惯于考长试,你看我只是个八年级生而已。八年级并不是非要参加SAT考试。这个考试是针对那些准备上大学的高中毕业生们的。上周六我因为所谓的“人才选拔”之由参加了考试,这考试可是名符其实的啊。我和一些学生参加考试后,会有一些专职人员通过我们的成绩选拔出来一些“聪明人”(又名:有天资的人)。然后这些聪明人会获得奖学金或者什么类似的东西吧。六年级(或者七年级?)时,我的老师推荐过我去参加这个考试,但是妈妈觉得报名费太贵,不划算。这次又有老师推荐我去,不知道什么原因,我的父母这回认为值得考一次。

 

我没有为SAT做任何准备。直到考试的这一周,我才知道在哪考试,考多长时间,考什么等等。我一点也不担忧。这并不像是我应该考多少分以便能去哪所大学那类考试,这只是酷酷地去尝试一件事儿而已。当知道考试在哪里进行时,我相当地惊讶(妈妈可能告诉过我但是我早就忘记了)。考试将在CHMS进行,一个我们隔壁小镇的中学。在过去的两个上学日,我们学校由于水管爆掉而关闭了,我就是去那个中学上的学。去那里很方便,因为那不是一个完全陌生的地方。

 

他们建议学生们于早晨745分到达CHMS,我正是那么做的。当我到那儿时,已经有人先到了。正门后面有着非常开阔的空间,但大家都在入口大厅那儿挤着。人数比我想像的要少,顶多一百人吧。我们来自于不同的学校,我只认识几个人。

 

十分钟后(我们在等待更多的人到达),老师来了,让我们分散到各自的考场。墙上有告示告诉我们根据姓氏要去哪间教室(按字母顺序)。我和朋友分开后,紧张地走向我所在的教室。很快地,其它姓“B”或“C”开头的人也到了,我们一起在教室外面等着。我很失望于一个人也不认识。这样很尴尬,因为很明显他们之间相互也不认识。我说了句像是“嘿,你们好啊!既然我们要在这个教室一起呆四个小时,我们最好相互认识一下吧”的什么话。可是只有几个人嘀咕了下“我很好”和“我还不错”什么的,除那之外,我们并没有真的在接下来的几个小时里互相说点什么。

 

进了教室后,课桌上贴着指示我们坐在哪里的告示。我们坐进课桌后等了很长时间,长得足够我在告示纸上画完一个漂亮的动漫。教室很小也很温暖,让我觉得自己好像不是真的在参加SAT考试,而是在平常的教室里进行一个常规的小测验而已。又进来了一、两个人后,老师终于不管其它座位还在空着了,宣布开始考试。

 

接下来的半个小时用来填那些常规的信息:名字、生日、住址、考号、注册号等等,这些太无聊了。然后我们又读了枯燥的考试规则:不能在教室里吃喝,但走廊上可以(我们的老师很好,允许我们在教室里喝水);不能作弊;只能使用2号铅笔;这个那个这个那个。有一件事情让我感到震惊:答错一题扣1/4分(不答没事儿,不得分也不扣分)。我头一次遇到这样的事儿,这让我在猜答案的时候倍加小心。

 

足足在我进教室一个小时后才算开始了第一部分的考试内容——写一篇作文,二十五分钟之内写完。死定了。我讨厌这种类型的自由作文,因为我总是不知道怎么对付这种问题。我要选边站,但是我不同意任何一边!我看到了其中的错误,我能想到的唯一好答案是一个折中。但是我不可以折中。最后我决定选一边去辩论,但是在我将作文规划到一半时我又改变了想法,因为我意识到自己更支持另外一边。我太蠢了,浪费了这么多的时间。当我最后终于动笔写的时候,简直是以闪电般的速度书写,但还是不够快。最后五分钟的时候,我只写到了一半;最后一分钟的时候,除了结论外我都写完了。到点了!我还剩下一句话。一个句子!别把这事告诉给别人,但是因为只是几个字儿,我在老师没看见的时候写了下来。不幸的是,我弄错了一个语法,我在应该使用复数的地方用了单数。我对自己如此地失望与生气,但是已经没有机会修改了。我只需要十秒钟!我在作文开始的时候用来喝水而浪费掉的时间都比这个多!气死人了!

 

接下来要做的是阅读和语法。为防作弊每个人试题的顺序都各不相同,所以我不知道别人的情况如何。这部分进展顺利,我感觉平静如常。在一个正规的教室里考SAT会少去很多压力。如果要是像高中的摸底考试一样,几百人在一个巨大的体育馆里一起考试的话,我的感觉会糟很多。我们休息了五分钟,大家都到走廊上吃零食,然后接着再考。我始终觉得很不错。然后我们又休息了五分钟,再接着考。这下我开始觉得厌烦了。

 

我一直很害怕这种感觉。在摸底考试最后的阶段,我曾有过这种厌烦的感觉,简直烦到想死。现在又有了相似的感觉。我不能伸展不能动,因为那是休息时的专利。我所能做的就是交叉、再交叉我的双腿。我继续答着题,把时间几乎都花在了几个问题上。有几个问题我不知道答案,因为我知道自己肯定会做错。我的脑子里不断地回响着朵拉(译者注:小宝的动画片)的主题曲。我尽力去集中精力。当最后的一个间歇来临时,我总算得以解放。

 

但这个中间休息并没有起到多大作用。坐在教室的椅子中,与我们坐在走廊的地板上,并没有多大的区别。除了听到一个女孩问另一个是几年级的,我们这些考生之间并没有说话。问话的是七年级的,另一个则是六年级的。我没有从那种烦得要将自己杀死的感觉中解脱出来。我需要到处跳跳,随便聊聊,做点什么释放掉我那积聚起来的能量!但是我不能,因为那样会很古怪。太折磨人了。所谓的“休息”根本没有起到休息的作用。

 

考试的最后一部分终于到来了,也是最长的一部分。一小时十五分钟。如炼狱中的一小时十五分钟,太可怕了。最后十分钟的时候,我甚至都不再为几乎要完成SAT考试而激动了。我是如此地累,脑子都麻木了。关于我将会累成什么样,爸爸说得很对。但是他也有错的地方,那就是他将那种体力上的累当成最糟糕的事情了。虽然我的脖子疼、背疼,但是厌烦感让我更受折磨。当我最后完成了SAT考试,给父母打电话让他们来接我时,我都不敢相信我是真的考完了。

 

离开那栋教学楼,我的大脑马上就获得了重生。突然间,所有这些集聚起来能量都涌了出来,于是我在严寒中跳上跳下。真是太好了,我觉得真不错,终于考完了SAT——虽然我知道自己的分数会相当地糟糕。但是我考完了,对吗?现在SAT这事不再有什么吓人的了!我为自己最后总算是走完了这一过程感到自豪。现在我迫不急待地想看看我的分数到底会有多么地糟了。

 

【小哭介绍背景】这个考试让Susan感觉到身心上受到这么大的折磨,真的是令我很意外!是题太难了无法“享受”这个考试,还是时间确实太长了体力上无法适应?不知道那些高中生考下来的感觉如何。大概是Susan平时考试太少了吧?

 

住在橡树园时,就收到过数学老师发来的邮件,推荐参加这个考试。当时邮件中就介绍了初中生参加这个考试,是个别现象,并且是自愿性质的。一看那么多的报名费(总共好像88美元),而且也看不到考试有什么意义,我们就放弃了。去年再次收到老师的群发邮件,说是在快班的孩子们都会收到这个考试推荐。一想Susan他们快班的孩子数量非常地大,她身边的孩子可以说个个都会收到邀请,并且很多都会报名,那就还是给她报了吧。另一个,她平时在作业上花的时间明显地超过了合理的时间,因此得到的高分含金量不高,可是这一点她无论如何也不能理解。那就还是让她去参加考试,从自己的经历中去体会她的数学并非是她以为的那么好吧;让她体会一下什么是“人外有人,天外有天”吧。如果报名费能够换得她对自己有个正确的评价,以后能够在作业上减少时间,或说为了保持好成绩提高效率,那应该还是值得的。就是为着这么个目的,给她报名了。她本身应该没有什么感觉,或许会有点获得推荐的小小自豪?

 

她没有为SAT做任何准备,我们也没有。在我们眼里,学习是一个漫长的过程,每一次考试都是之前过程的一个检验,所以不存在着什么复习备考,一切任其自然挺好。也许,当她高三的时候,我们对分数会有另外的看法?现在不得而知。考完我们也没有做任何调研,这事就过去了。大概一个月后,成绩就到了,其实就是前几天。我一看她的阅读在同年级中排名挺靠前,感觉不错;再看她的数学很一般般,觉得正好可以让她重新定位她自己的数学学习;再看写作相当地不好,我想这事可能需要和她认真谈谈。这就是我从这次考试中得到的信息。比我想要的还多,原来我们只考虑到了数学这一科。

 

自从Susan上八年级,我就明显地感觉到了她的阅读在进步,主要是阅读的面广了;写作也在进步,主要是她的思考能力加强了。但是,她在一些大作业和小测验中,明显地感觉到了在写作上并没有什么优势。主要就是得到的分数并不理想,离妈妈平时的好评相差很远;还有经常感觉写起来很吃力,找不到思路不知道写啥好。为这事儿我曾经在上次家长会时,专门和她一起问过老师,老师说原因就是Susan平时写的都是自说自话的体裁,现在需要练习在报刊杂志上发表的那类文章的体裁。老师还给了她一些具体的建议,让她看书练习。可是她把自己全部的时间都花在了日常作业上面,根本没有花时间认真考虑老师的建议。

 

成绩出来后,我犹豫再三,还是给威尔基女士写了封邮件,请她给Susan解释一下SAT写作的指导思想。主要就是给老师介绍Susan面对这种作文要求,在逻辑上存在着一个误区,无法理解题意,理不出来写作的线索,我们努力解释也无法让她明白。她就是认为如果她自己不能百分百地同意任何一边,那这个作文就没法写。以前我曾试着用中国外交部发言人的角色来解释她选边站的处境,我说选边是你的工作,不是你的价值观,你只是需要在作文中圆满地说清你的论点并给出足够的论据支持就好。可她就是不能理解,还为这样做导致的她眼里的逻辑不通气得又哭又闹,简直就差去挠墙了。看她这么痛苦,我们最后只好作罢。这次成绩出来后,我在网上查了一下中文的资料,感觉并非是一定要选边站呢?似乎也可以给出一个折中的观点并进行论证呢?Susan爸的看法是,这孩子不会写议论文,无法理解议论文这种体裁。我觉得非也。她的那种游说讲演稿,其实就是议论文的套路。我认为问题出在她不理解题意,我们的讲解并没有让她明白解题的思路。如果威尔基女士能让她明白,这事就解决了;如果不能,大概就只有等到哪天她自己开窍了。当然,有机会帮的时候还是要帮她开窍。(这文章压在这儿一周没发,结果威尔基女士就已经跟Susan谈过了SAT写作。Susan说老师讲的意思和家长差不多,但就是更明白一些,所以她已经听懂了。)

 

这事如果出在前几年,我自己会非常地纠结,觉得孩子这么多年在写作上投入了大把的精力,相关人员评价也非常不错,为什么在作文考试与竞赛上就不行呢?可是现在我明白这是写作的两个方面,互相不能划等号。现在就是发挥她强项的一面,继续写作,让写作成为她的兴趣和爱好,甚至是生活的一部分;另外再有目的地加强她的弱项一面,主要就是想办法让她开窍,理解考试竞赛类的作文考查的是什么,如何按考试的套路走。

 

前几天听见Susan问爸爸一道二元一次方程的解法,她总是想找窍门走捷径,可并不是哪个方程都有这样的捷径的。让她按照常规的解法去做,她就发脾气不接受,说是那样很麻烦。事实上,她这样下来,可能花了很多时间最后也没有找到办法,最后一看时间不够了作业还没做出来,她自己就又跟自己生气了,气头上做题还非常容易出错。Susan爸问我准备什么时候出手帮帮孩子,我说如果她真的愿意接受数学是需要做题训练速度的,那这个暑假我愿意教她。如果一让她练习她就别扭发脾气,只用眼睛学数学,那就算了。强拧的瓜不甜,人的时间不是非得用在哪一个地方才行的,还是让她去做更感兴趣的事儿吧。反正到目前为止,她的兴趣爱好也没有什么让我们觉得要去阻挠的。逼迫不是办法,这么大的孩子了,做事要靠她自己内心有驱动力才行。只有她真心想提高数学了,才会听从我们的建议。如果她认为她自己已经做得很棒了,妈妈说的都不对,那就算了吧。

 

SAT考试,可以告一段落了。我们想要的小小目的,已经完全实现了。现在Susan已经可以平心静气地接受她的数学并非是自己以为的那么好这一评价了。我们希望她能够通过考试知已知彼,在合理安排时间这一事儿上有所改进和提高。

 

附上英文原文:

 

Taking the SAT’s

 

 

 

My neck hurt, my back ached, and my feet felt like they were falling asleep. I had been sitting in the same position for hours, trapped in a hard and uncomfortable contraption called a chair. I wasn’t trapped because someone had tied me to it, oh no. The reason for my pain and suffering was something far worse, something specially designed to torture young souls like mine……the SAT’s.

 

Okay, I might’ve exaggerated a tiny bit there. It wasn’t that bad. Just really boring. Four hours of testing* with only three 5-minute breaks in between? The perfect recipe for boredom, if you ask me. Or maybe it’s just because I’m not used to taking long tests, seeing that I’m only in 8th grade. I’m not even supposed to be taking the SAT’s in 8th grade. It for people graduating from High School into College. I was taking it last Saturday for something called “Talent Search”, which is exactly what the name implies. After a bunch of other students, including myself, take the test, important people would look at our tests and pick out the smartest (aka: the ones with “Talent”). Then they’ll get a scholarship or something like that. My teacher recommended me to take this before in 6th (or was it 7th?) grade, but it costed too much and wasn’t worth it. Another teacher recommended me again and this time, for some reason, my parents decided it was worth it after all.

 

I did not prepare at all for the SAT’s. I had no idea where I would be taking it, how long it would be, and what it would be about until the week of the test. I wasn’t worried. It wasn’t like I was supposed to reach a certain score to get into a certain college. It was just something that would be cool to try. When I found out where it was going to be, I was pretty surprised (my mom probably told me before but I had long forgotten that). It was going to be at CHMS, a middle school in a town right next to where I live. I had actually been going to that school for the past two schooldays since my own middle school was closed due to poisonous mold. Pretty convenient because then it wasn’t a completely foreign place.

 

They recommended students to get to CHMS at 7:45 AM, and that was what I did. When I got there, a bunch of the students had already arrived. We were all crowded in the entrace hall, a big open space right behind the main doors. There was way less people than I had expected. Maybe a hundred at most. We were all from different schools, and I only spotted a few people I knew.

 

After about ten minutes (we were waiting for more people to arrive), teachers came and dissmissed us to our testing rooms. There were posters on the walls telling us which rooms we go to based on last name (alphabetical order). I left my friends and walked nervously to my assigned room. Soon, other people with last names beginning with “B” or “C” arrived, and we waited outside the room together. I was dissapointed that I didn’t know any of them. It was awkward, because it was obvious none of them knew eachother either. I said something like: “Hey, how are you guys? Since we’re gonna be stuck together in a room for four hours, we might as well get to know eachother.” There were a few mumbles of “I’m good” and “fine”, but other than that, we didn’t really talk to eachother at all for the next few hours.

 

When we went inside the room, there were post-its on desks telling us where to sit. We sat there and waited in our desks for a long time. Long enough for me to finish a pretty anime drawing on my post-it note. The room was small and cozy, and it made me feel like I wasn’t really taking the SAT’s, just a normal test in a normal classroom. One or two more arrived, and our teacher finally decided to start the test without waiting for the rest of the empty seats to be filled.

 

The next half-hour was spent filling out formal information: name, birth date, address, testing number, registration number, etc. It bored my brains out. We then read through the boring test rules: no food and drink in the classroom, only in the halls (our teacher was nice let us drink water in the room), no cheating, only use No.2 pencils, yada yada yada. One thing surprised me: wrong answers were worth -1/4 points (and providing no answer was worth nothing, no negative, no possitive). That was the first time I had encountered something like that, and it made me a lot more careful about guessing on answers.

 

We finally started the first section of the test more than an hour after I got there. It was an essay. Twenty-five minuetes. I was doomed. I hate these type of open-ended essays, because I always have no idea how to approach the question. I’m required to pick a side, but I can argue with both sides! I see the faults in them, and the only good answer I can think of is a compromise. But I’m not allowed to make compromises. I finally decided on a side to argue for, but then I changed my mind halfway through outlining the essay because I realized I supported the other side more. I was so stupid, wasting so much time. When I finally started writing, I wrote with lightning speed. But I still wasn’t fast enough. 5 minutes left: halfway through the essay. 1 minute left: everything’s done except for a conclusion. Time’s up! I still had one sentence left. One sentence! Don’t tell anyone this, but since it was just a few words, I wrote them in while the teacher wasn’t looking. Unfortunately, I messed up on the grammar, I used singular instead of plural. I was so dissapointed and mad with myself, but there was not changing the sentence after that. I just needed ten more seconds! I wasted more than that at the start of the essay while I was taking a drink of water! Ugh!

 

The next section for me was reading and grammar. Everyone’s tests were in different orders to prevent cheating, so I can’t say what it was for others. That went by smoothly. I felt calm and normal. Taking the SAT’s in a normal classroom relieved a lot of the stress. If I had taken it in a huge gym with hundreds of people like how I took the Explore test, I would’ve felt a lot worse. We took a 5 minute break during which we all went into the hallway and at our snacks. Then, it was more testing. I still felt pretty good. We took another 5 minute break, and kept on testing. That was when the boredom started.

 

I had been afraid of that. During the end of the explore test, I had felt so bored that I literally wanted to die. What I felt then was similar. I couldn’t stretch, couldn’t move, because that was only reserved for the 5-minute breaks. All I could do was cross and recross my legs. I continued answering the question, and I almost ran out of time for a few of them. I left no answer for a bunch, because I was pretty sure I would get them wrong. The Dora theme song kept playing and replaying in my head. I tried to focus my mind, and when the last and final break came, I was relieved.

 

The break didn’t help much. We sat in chairs in the classroom. We sat on the floor in the hallway. Not much of a difference. We didn’t talk to eachother, except I heard one girl ask another what grade she was in. She was in 7th. The other girl was in 6th. I felt no relief from the boredom that threatened to kill me. I needed to jump around, to talk aimlessly, to do something to release my pent up energy! But I couldn’t, because that would be really weird. It was torture. The so called “breaks” offered no breaks at all.

 

Finally came the last section of testing, and the longest section. One hour and fifteen minutes. One hour and fifteen minutes spent in purgatory. It was awful. By the last ten minutes, I wasn’t even excited about almost being done with the SAT’s anymore. My brain felt dead. I was so tired. My dad was right about the how tired I can get. But he was wrong about that being the wost thing. Though my neck hurt and my back ached, the boredom was worse. When I finally finished the SAT’s and called my parents to pick me up, I was almost afraid to believe that I was actually finished.

 

Once I exited the building, my brain revived again. Suddenly, all that energy needed to be released, and I did it by jumping up and down in the cold. It was wonderful, and I felt a great sense of accomplishment of finishing the SAT’s—even though I’m sure I got a pretty bad score on it. But I still did it, right? Now it doesn’t seem so scary anymore! I’m proud of myself for surviving through that. Now I just can’t wait to get my score back to see just how bad I did.

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