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November 24, 2004

Just over a week to go...

I can't begin to tell you how busy I've been. Besides the studying, I've been putting in quite a few 10 and 11 hour days recently. Add an hour of commuting every day and you can deduce that I don't have time for much else.

Over the past two weeks, and especially this past week, my emotions have ranged from the utmost confidence about the exam to feeling utterly unprepared. Over the weekend I took two practice tests. On Saturday I took a 70 question test and only missed three! I slept so well that night.

The next day, I took a 200 question test, the actual length of the exam, at Virginia Commonwealth University's (cool link) library. (I actually made a call to the Richmond Marriott -- my test location -- to see if I could get into one of their meeting rooms, to simulate the actual exam) I scored about 78% on the longer exam. I've heard that if you hit 80% you'll definitely pass. Well, to be under 80% on that test was not a good feeling. I wrote down about 20 topics that I wanted to review. Specifics on ADA, libel, the contents of certain financial statements, etc.

In the longer test, I saw quite a few questions I had seen before. So I began to wonder if my score was artificially high because I was answering familiar questions. I also noticed that a small number of the answers on this test were different than the answers for the same questions on other tests! That really pissed me off! I came home from the library and instantly consulted my books. I came up with four answers that were just flat out wrong. That bumped my score up to 80% exactly. But still, I can't help but think that my score is artificially high because I'm seeing many of the same questions for the third or fourth time.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, I reviewed some CAE prep materials from the Michigan Society of Assn Executives. Their questions were really hard. But they had some really good explanations of why certain answers were better than others. It was a good exercise, I'll probably review those materials again.

So today I'm kind of in the middle. Not feeling overconfident, but not incompetent either. I figure I'm more prepared for this exam than 95% of the other candidates. I've read each of the texts at least twice, some as many as three times. I've picked apart probably 300 questions or more. I've created my own flash cards. I've debated questions with my peers. I've got my own CAE blog!!!

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I'll be taking Monday and Tuesday off for some last minute preparation. Then I have two jam-packed days at work before the exam. I don't think I'm going to do any studying the night before the exam. I may, however, wake up a little early and review my flash cards one last time in the parking garage or hotel lobby.

At this point, I just can't wait for it to be over.

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