Take a moment to allow yourself to bask in the warming glow of the greatness that is this entry's title. Are you doing it, basking? No, that's not radiation poisoning you're feeling - that's your new super powers manifesting. (Only standing near my microwave - I mean, blog entry - can bring about such a magnificent transformation.) And these new powers of yours? Lymphoma. Luck of the draw, my friend!
At any rate - as you may well have surmised by now from that glorious choice of titles - like most aspiring graduate students, I am preparing to take the GRE - or Gratuitously Radical Examination - in the next 24 hours. Thought you hated standardized testing in your youth? You can learn to hate it on whole new levels in adulthood! Hrmm, is this individual a decent human being, or is he perhaps functionally retarded? Get that man a Scantron sheet, stat! And ask him some questions on subjects most people never need in their daily lives - tell us what a cosine is, you son of a bitch! Do it or we shoot you! Though I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I get to be subjected to most - if not all - of it over a computer. But really, what gets one's blood pumping more than sitting in a room taking a test for four hours? I couldn't be more excited if a piece of that spy satellite crushed me on the way into the testing center!
Naturally, in anticipating this exhausting experience as much as I am, I felt that I should impart some pre-test preparation advice to any and all fellow soon-to-be test takers, in appropriate standardized testing fashion - by which I mean I'll be using letters instead of numbers to differentiate between each piece of advice. Without them, you'd be lost and entirely unable to tell each one apart. It's okay, I understand, we're all a little like that here on the internet - except for me, I'm not like that at all.
A) Cheating - Yeah, they tend to discourage this on standardized tests. (Hell, all tests, if you want to be all "scientific" and "technical" and "shit.") But this is not a rule - it is a challenge. They may be pointing all manners of cameras and rail guns and people staring at you to guilt/threaten you out of cheating the whole time, but if you can successfully cheat despite that, then you will earn the rank of Grand Master. Grand Master of what, exactly, is still a mystery the likes of which no stoned kids and talking dog have yet been able to unravel. But of what is known, apparently an abacus plays a key role in this process. So, yeah. Good luck with that.
B) Insomnia - So, you have trouble sleeping before exams due to stress, right? Right? (Help me out here!) Right. Sometimes, the best way to deal with that problem is not to bother. Coffee's just going to make you crash midway through, too. So basically, you need to train yourself to enter a zen-like trance in which the difference between consciousness and slumber becomes impossible to discern. In this state of sleep-waking, you will achieve enlightenment and easily ace any and all test you are faced with. However, this method poses some risk of simply falling asleep and failing by default. And about 68% of the time, people get their results back and find out that they somehow managed to change their name to "Ronald McDonald" or "The Grimace" midway through the exam. That's never cool for anybody.
C) Frustration - Tests are inherently stressful, with perhaps your entire future at stake - even if you're already a college graduate, let's no pretend that diplomas themselves are worth that much these days - and as such, it's only natural that you'd become legitimately agitated over the course of the test-taking period. This is why you should apply for a Lobster Permit at the testing center well in advance, as so to be allowed to bring a lobster along with you on the day of the test to scream obscenities at whenever you are uncertain of an answer. If you're wondering about the origins of this practice, you need look no further than to the words of Bologna Prophet Oscar Mayer, who once said, "Fuck you, lobster! I don't need you or your money!" Great words from a great man.
D) Self-confidence - It's easy to take on a defeatist attitude before a major test you have little to no ways to study for, in lacking any kind of specific study guide with answers to commit to memory. In cases like these, sometimes it's for the best to simply look inside yourself and - you know, I can't finish this with a straight face. You're screwed and you know it.
E) Study Fuel - It's always important to eat before facing major undertakings like this as well. Your brain needs energy to function. Without energy, your brain will become as lazy and stupid as the rest of you. You don't want that, do you? Put that remote control down and listen to me when I'm talking to you! Anyway, some might suggest that you eat something with a lot of carbohydrates, maybe some protein - general fuel for the human body. But we both know better than that. Granola? A well-balanced breakfast with Count Chocula? Pah. Order the cheapest, greasiest pizza you can find - eat a couple of them in their entirety if you can - and stay away from bathrooms. Relieving important bodily functions might interfere with your concentration! Nothing will help you concentrate on your exams like cheap, greasy pizza eaten 4-5 hours prior to the test. Antacids will also trip you up. Focus on the pizza - become the pizza, live the pizza. Only then shall you know truth.
You learned a lot about test-taking and study habits, no? Of course you did. And it's all thanks to me. You can thank me with a ten-gun salute. Ideally in the vicinity of an old folks' home. They need to relive good memories too, after all.