Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
Emily Little

Learning permit tests generate stress

emily little
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Every teenager looks forward to the day they turn 15 and can get their driving permit. My 15th birthday unfortunately fell on a Sunday, so I had to wait until the following day to curb my permit excitement.

About two months before my birthday, I asked my dad to pick up the driving rules book to start studying. Although I had every intention of being ahead of the game, I let the book sit on my desk collecting dust until a week before my birthday. I tried to simply skim the book, but I knew that wasn't going to help me absorb much information. I set the book back on my desk, and let it go untouched for a few more days. Two days before I had to take the required tests, I realized I needed to get busy. I read the book cover to cover, highlighting important facts along the way.

The night before my test, I stayed up late cramming with my friend Angie. I took multiple online practice tests and had her quiz me before we headed to sleep. I knew the material pretty well, but I also knew I could have studied a lot of more.

The next morning, my dad drove us to the tax collector's office to take my tests - road signs and road rules. I checked in, signed an electronic touch screen, and took the picture that would be on my permit if I passed my tests.

After about 15 minutes of computer issues, I began the first test - road rules. As I was nearing the end of the test, I had four incorrect answers. The limit to pass was five out of 20, and I was getting increasingly nervous as each question went on. As I got to the 19th question, I chose my answer - which happened to be wrong. This meant I had failed the road rules test and would have to retake it. I was extremely frustrated, both by the fact that I had failed the test and that most of the questions I missed involved towing. Do I really need to know that for a vehicle to tow another, the drawbar must not be longer than 15 feet? I didn't really think so.

I went on to take the road signs test and passed it with flying colors. When I finished, I walked down a long hallway back to the driving sector of the office. As I walked back in disappointment, I saw Angie wave. I gave her two thumbs down and continued my way back to the room. I told Angie and my dad I had unfortunately failed the road rules test. I went back up to the desk, and was told I could retake the test. I walked back down the long hallway to the same testing station. I sat down, took my test, and passed it - missing only one question. As I walked back, I held two thumbs up to my dad and Angie. A few minutes later, I left with my permit in hand.

When we were about halfway home, my dad pulled over and we switched places; I drove on the road for the first time. Everything was going well, until I saw a garbage truck parked ahead on the curve. Out loud I said, "Well, crap!" although I meant for it to stay in my head. I maneuvered around the truck and the oncoming car. I would have fist-bumped my dad, but then I would only have one hand on the wheel.

As I pulled into my driveway, I realized I now had the freedom to legally drive - with a licensed driver over the age of 21, of course.

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