Remember dat speeling test u tok in graid skool?

You do? You probably didn’t pass it the first time then, if the above sentence actually made sense to you.

But that’s beside the point. About that test—oh yes. It wasn’t real.

Nor are all other manmade ones.

Each test that’s known, explained, or prepared for (or all of the above) ahead of time is flying in and out of your life under false colors.

I’d want the fine print on each test (so called!) to say something like this: “Tests in reality aren’t like this. Either this is not a real test, or you’re not living in the real world right now.”

A contrarian opinion, perhaps. But that’s what it really boils down to.

In real life, you never really know what you need to know when you need to know it, and you don’t actually know just which buttons to push when, which letters to write down where—or you might know but just couldn’t do the thing you know—to get something to work right.

And that’s the real definition of a test.

Being put on the spot, without knowing that the moment would come in this way, at this time, requiring you to perform this certain skill or act on that particular tidbit of knowledge you may or may not have–a connection between this moment and that action that you haven’t prepared for but which demands competence, because there would actually be consequences—real consequences—if you don’t measure up.

Whereas in the “tests” they hand out at schools, universities, colleges, and educational courses, you know when you’re going to be drilled in what way on which topics, often to the point of knowing which format the questions would be presented in, and which types of answers are required.

I won’t get into all that wasted time stuffing information into sleep-deprived brains just to have them all fly out the window the second after the exam is over. I won’t rant over how simple and easy it is to hack such tests and pass them without learning a single thing. I won’t write a diatribe over how the underlying assumptions about the human mind, the process of learning, and the systemization of people present a sickening, depressing picture of modern education. I won’t dive deep into how, having given such significance to this form of testing and achievement, actual life being lived in reality and struggled through somehow seems something to be avoided because it isn’t so neat and pretty, because the grades aren’t clear and clean and fair, because…

I said I wouldn’t talk about that, right, I’m sorry. I got carried away.

Where were we? Oh yes, tests. “Going to take a test tomorrow, gotta study tonight”-type of test.

That just isn’t the way the real world works. It just isn’t.

Get out there and do something where failing or succeeding would actually mean something to you.

There’s more to be gained in failing a real-life test than a fabricated one made by someone who has no idea who you are—and who probably doesn’t care either.

Live in the real world. Take its tests. Fail. Then live some more. And then take them again.

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