Wednesday of my vacation started around 6:00 AM when I woke up before my PCAT. Since my test started promptly at 8:00, and since they wanted us there at least thirty minutes earlier, and since we live about thirty minutes away from the testing center, I would need to leave around 7:00. I got some breakfast and prepared myself physically and mentally for what would be a draining experience.
I got to the testing center a few minutes later than I had intended, but still in plenty of time to start the test at 8:00. The check-in process is a little tedious, but all in the name of keeping things secure and honest. One of the most interesting observations I had was that as we took numbers and waited to be checked in, there was no number 13. There was a 12 (which happened to be my number) and a 12B. The guy at the front desk explained to us that there is no 13 due to the superstition associated with that number. So many people have complained that their bad test score was due to the number they drew, so this way there is no excuse to do poorly.
I was in the testing center for more than four hours, and staring at a computer screen for that long was making me extremely tired. The test consisted of two writing sections and five multiple choice sections that tested verbal ability, reading comprehension, biology, chemistry, and math. Writing has always come fairly naturally to me, so those two sections were no problem. The biology, verbal, and reading sections went pretty well, though my eyes were pretty tired through most of the reading section, so I may not have fully comprehended what I was reading! The math and chemistry sections were a different story. In both sections, I ran out of time and came across some pretty difficult questions. I had prepared for these kinds of questions, but the time factor was working against me. My practice book had told me to answer all questions even if I ran out of time, and I found myself doing just that as time ticked away. At least there's a 25% chance I'll get them right, and there's no penalty for guessing since you only get credit for correct answers.
One of the most rewarding parts of the PCAT was that you get a preliminary score report as you leave the building. The official results still take about a month to report (the essays being the main reason for that), but at least you have a good idea of how you did. That takes away some of the anxiety following a big test, and can be quite rewarding if you do well. Thankfully, the preliminary results were well in my favor, and the percentiles were as follows:
Verbal Ability 87
Reading Comprehension 95
Quantitative Ability (Math) 82
So as you can see, even on my worst test (Math) I still got in the 80s! Given that my composite score was so high, I was pretty excited to see these results. Obviously they aren't official, but if they are any indication of how well I did, it's looking good that I can get into Pharmacy School!
After the test, I picked up a celebratory Chick-fil-A lunch (including milkshake) and went to visit my co-workers at Ingles. We talked for a while and everyone marveled at my growing facial hair (which I kept unshaven during the week of vacation) and sunburn (which was extremely red). I was able to talk to both of my pharmacists (who incidentally are both named Jennifer) and they were both very excited about my results, and insisted that I could get into any Pharmacy School I wanted. We'll see about that when the official scores are published soon enough...
After lunch I headed home, and it was during that drive that the sky opened up. I was soaked in just the twenty or so feet I had to walk from my car to the front door, and in the process "drowned" my car remote so that it didn't work for several days. With the weather being so iffy, I decided that I would take a nap (I was pretty exhausted) and would see how it was when I woke up. It was still raining when I awoke from my two-hour nap, so I waited around for a little while longer until it slowed down significantly. I was in communication with Aunt Cheryl, who turned into Cell Phone Liaison between myself and the rest of the family. She told me that dinner would be waiting for me when I got back to the dwelling, but later joked that I should stop at Steak n Shake since it had all been eaten. Luckily she was kidding because I was starving and the food was awesome!
I took a different route to get to the dwelling this time, taking the Interstate a little further south, and taking more major highways that didn't wind through the mountains as much. This route proved to be a longer distance, but with the ease of handling the roads and a majority of Interstate travel, it ended up being the same amount of time as the shorter route. When I got back to the dwelling, everyone was done eating, but my plate was waiting for me. Uncle Duane and Aunt Cheryl teamed up for Wednesday's dinner since none of their children were there, and they put together a great spread that included skirt steak, baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, wine, and s'mores at the fire pit for dessert. I hadn't roasted marshmallows or had s'mores in years, and thoroughly enjoyed that activity. Using dark chocolate made for some very tasty s'mores, and the time spent outside by the river was a great way to wind down the day.
We spent some more time outside talking, and I got to recount my day to several groups of people. I also got to hear about everyone else's day, which included some more tubing (though down a much shorter distance of the river in front of the dwelling). My very busy day ended so peacefully outside listening to the sounds of the night and the river, and finally concluded with some Braves baseball on TV before bed. It was a long day, but overall rewarding and good, and I slept pretty well that night!
And so ended Day 4 of vacation, so stay tuned for Day 5!