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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Can't Resist a Test?

I just can't resist taking a test or filling out a questionaire. It sees I just have to prove to myself that I am as knowledgeable of things as I think I might be.

Here are two test I recently took when I came across them in The Christian Science Monitor.
The first is a series of questions from the foreign service exam taken by those who aspire to be in the US diplomatic service.

Hmmmm! Did I have what it takes to be a US diplomat. I remember falling just short of the cut-off point on a US Cooperative Culture Exam, which altered by choice of schooling from Berkeley California to Boston, Massachusettes. (Still a painful memory). For a few more correct answers my life may have been forever altered. It was a humbling experience coming after a rather successful four years of studying philosophy. I must admit I pause that this 20 question sample of the foreign service exam would challenge me, and recall the feelings of falling short in that test so long ago.

With a little trepidation I gave it a try, expecting it to be a test designed for Americans and not an observer of things America from Canada.
The Result: I got 18 out of 20 correct. If my nationalist pride had not influenced me I would have got 19 out of 20.

The second test is a geography test of South America. I never formally studied anything about South America but as a person interested in geography and a politcial news junkie I thought I could meet the challenge. For the last decade, I have been interested in South American politics.
I have even had a Venezuelan email pen friend, with whom I debated about the changes in her country.

This decade has been one of big changes in South America as left wing democratic governments came to power, with an eye to improving the lot of the poor and national improvement for the benefit of more than just the weathy few. During this time the Americans, who traditionally treated the countries of Central and South American as their resource rich back yard, lost their dominance of this continent while being distracted by the Middle East and Central Asia. One of the legacies of the Bush Administration will be the loss of South America.

I thought I had a a good chance to do well on this geography test.
The Result: It got all 16 questions correct. This was a pleasant surprise. It was a disappointingly easy test. It could have been more challenging.

I invite you to take one or both of these tests.


At 2:59 p.m., Blogger Paul said...

I took the South America test and did OK but only because I went with my first reaction assuming my brain was digging out some old, old memories.

At 3:58 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I can resist. My father always said, "Don't show how ignorant your are, son." No he didn't, but I thought I would use the line anyway.

At 5:34 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Well, Phillip, I now know that I will never qualify to become a US Diplomat ... and with my luck, if I could pass the test and became a Diplomat they'd send me to South America for sure and I'd make an absolute mess of it ... not knowing even which Country is which!

At 10:40 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay . . . I love the instant gratification of a test that tells me if I've gotten a question right or wrong before I continue. I started one, got the first four right, and then stopped. I didn't go on after that, because I didn't want to have a screen pop up and show some frowning face or something because I was wrong. I must have left my confidnece in the top drawer that day!


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