By Laura Allan
Testing, Testing, One Two Three…
Before I go any further I really should talk about how testing actually works in this thing. I've ranted about my lower-than-desired scores and praised the tests for being available to take at any time. There's more to them than that, though. First you get to take a practice test in which you answer multiple-choice questions. It's not a PDF file or a pop-up window, and it has a little button at the bottom that says 'save and continue later.' It's the exact same format as the regular exams right down to the ability to pause partway through and come back later when you have more time. It says the tests are closed-note but it works in an honor system sort of way, so you'll have to use your moral judgment.
In some sections there's something incredibly interesting that I haven't gotten to make use of. Sometimes there's another part to the exams that either involves group projects or an essay. You can write the essays and then put them into a drop folder on the site, or you can talk to fellow students on a forum-like page. Given that in this case I have no teacher proctoring the class and no fellow students to do group assignments with, I've stuck to the multiple-choice questions. Still, the essay questions do sound like a fun way of doing things. There's even a guide at the bottom of the front page to help you write the perfect essay. Even though it's an online course it definitely tries its best to feel like an actual classroom.
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Speaking of tests, I was getting on to my very last one. I'd taken the practice test already and had received a high B. It wasn't quite the grade I wanted, but at least it was promising. This was the last test, though, and I didn't know what else I could do. I felt like I'd gone through all my paces and jumped through all the necessary hoops. Either I was ready as I'd ever be or I was over-thinking things due to nervousness... probably both. So I took a deep breath, put away my notes and opened the final test.
I went very slowly, reading each question thoroughly. As usual I wanted to second-guess a lot of my answers but I reminded myself not to. This test wasn't much harder than the rest, which I didn't expect. I thought the final exam would be like the final boss in a video game. It was almost a relief to find it wasn't, but also almost a disappointment. Still, I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth, and I finished the test in reasonable time. Crossing my fingers, I clicked the submit button. I held my breath, and…
All But the Celebrating
It was 91%. I checked it, then checked it again to be sure but that was what it said. I couldn't keep myself from smiling. It wasn't a high A but it was still in the realm of what I was shooting for. It was good enough for me. I checked my average scores over the course and it came out to a high B, considerably better than I'd done in college. I scanned the questions I'd gotten wrong, something else the test lets you do, but I wasn't looking too hard. The fact was that the pressure had been on in the final stretch and I'd buckled down and done it. Who knew that an A in a digital class could feel so good?
I wasn't quite done with Lifespan Psychology yet, though. As for the tests and classes, all was done but the celebrating. I had the option to write a final essay as well, which I considered doing. Maybe I'd at least go over it to get an idea of what I was supposed to do if I'd had a professor proctoring. There was also a small review file to look through and some ways to record how I'd done in my work. But I was going to leave all those for another day. For now I was just happy to revel in my victory and take a much-deserved mental rest.