Today I tested myself with the sample questions that Austin Community College gave me for the TSI college placement exam I’m taking tomorrow. There are sections in sentence skills, reading comprehension, arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college-level mathematics. (There’s also an essay question that I didn’t do because there’s no way of scoring it before the exam tomorrow.) Out of 25 sentence skills questions, I missed two. I scored perfectly on reading comprehension and arithmetic, and I missed six of 20 questions in elementary algebra. I attempted to go through the college-level questions, but it was very clear that they were all beyond me. I took a stab at a few questions that I thought I could figure out, and I missed all of them.
This concerns me a bit, as my deal with Texas Workforce Commission says that they only pay for the pre-requisite classes listed for the degree. If I wind up placing below college algebra, then I’m on the hook for that course, and it will be at the greatly increased out-of-district rate, which will be over a thousand dollars for one three-hour course. That could derail my whole degree plan with TWC, and my mind is trying to figure out all the “what if” scenarios that could result.
I once read that someone describes that act of looking for all the “what ifs” as trying to determine all the places a served racquetball could land. It’s just impossible to do without much more information – where the ball was served to, how fast was it served, etc. This situation with my education is the same way – I just don’t have all the data in front of me, and so many things are still speculation at this point that there’s no way of figuring out all the possibilities just yet. With time and a little patience, the path ahead will become much clearer.
I have to remind myself that going in to excel isn’t what I’m trying to do. I need to give an honest assessment of my skill level, especially in mathematics, in order to be placed in the appropriate class.
Fortunately I’ll receive my results immediately upon completing the test, so there won’t be any suspense about where I wind up. Based on my pre-assessment questions, there’s no chance whatsoever that I’ll place out of college algebra, but hopefully I won’t place below college algebra, either. That’s my best-case scenario.
Here’s hoping. I’ll give an update tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.