Two thirds of the way through the exam, my stamina waning, I paused in amusement to consider my fellow exam-writers.
There was the laid-back older guy wearing jean shorts, the right shoes (without socks), and sporting longish hair… no tools or pencils or anything. Presumably he had partialed, and was coming in to rewrite just one section of the exam; he left within a half hour of my arrival.
Then there was the studious 20-something guy sprawled out over two large desks – various papers spread out next to the computer terminal on the desk in front of him, and Nav chart and tools strewn across the desk behind him.
Two or three young-ish, nervous sorts popped into the room after I had already started, and looked anxiously around at the other would-be pilots every time a computer beeped or the door creaked open to let someone in or out. I caught one of them just staring at his screen a few times, as if willing the question to answer itself somehow.
I myself was the only person in the room with snacks -- cut up apple slices and cinnamon, and some cheese and crackers, along with my water bottle -- sustenance for the the hours of mental exercise!
The most entertaining was the very serious guy who came in all business-like, and proceeded to organize his materials on the table in front of him: First his flight computer/E6B, carefully laid out at the far end of the desk. Next, the Douglas protractor, and beside that, the white navigation ruler, aligned parallel with the protractor, precisely two inches from its edge. Then, out came the pre-packed ziplock baggie and all his writing implements: one pen, two pencils, a highlighter and an extra erasor, all neatly arranged in the baggie. He placed this on the desk, next to the ruler, then decided the ruler should go beside the E6B instead, leaving the protractor to reside next to the writing tool baggie. Finally, there was the actual exam package, with the instruction booklet, appendices and cover sheet. Each had to be carefully arranged on the desk in front of him. Man, was the guy ever going to open the booklet and actually start writing the darned thing?!
I smiled to myself before turning back to my own exam, which was only slightly more than half over. I guess everyone has their own way with dealing with the stress of the test.
(Yea, yea, I know you people all want to know how I did -- you will have to wait for the next blog post for that answer!!)