Some time ago, during our summer session, a few guest speakers talked about species-specific topics and generally gave test-taking advice for the NAVLE. Someone said something to the group of us that has always stuck in my mind and rung true while I was sitting for the test. He recalled a conversation from a former student about a question that came up for that class. It was a question about bears! The students said it was the most random, obscure question they saw on the whole test, and they had no idea what to make of it. He referred to it as the “bear” question, and that although it wouldn’t necessarily be about bears, everyone who takes the NAVLE will have a “bear” question.
When I took the test back in November, I came across my bear question in the form of a question about alpacas. I remember reading the question and staring at the screen for a full minute. I thought to myself: “They can’t be serious. How is that even a thing?! Did we talk about this ever? I certainly don’t remember it.” I walked into the test with a strategy of trying not to get hung up on questions; if I didn’t have an answer within a minute, I’d move on and go back before time ran out. As it happened, this plan didn’t work out when it came to this particular question, and I sat starting at it for almost 4 minutes.
The thing about it though was that I wasn’t trying to figure out the question. I found myself pouring through the last 3.5 years of knowledge in my head and questioning if I had learned anything in school. My bear question almost made me fall apart internally right in the middle of the exam.
That’s the constant struggle between wanting to make sure you’re on your p’s and q’s, and the impossibility of knowing everything. I knew it was unrealistic to know everything before this test, but this one question represented certain failure for me. However, you have to keep in mind that you only remember the questions you were unsure about or flat out didn’t know.