02 January 2012

A marathon, not a sprint: General Ordination Exams

Tomorrow through Saturday I will be taking General Ordination Exams administered by examining chaplains appointed by the Episcopal Church. My buddy Mike wrote a nice summary last year, comparing the test to OWLs. The comparison that springs to mind for me, though, was the Ph.D. qualifying exams I took in my first year of grad school. The scope is similarly comprehensive, though the stakes are not as high. In this case, failure in a subject area generally means a meeting with a local examining chaplain and maybe a supplementary paper. Not, you know, getting one more chance to pass it or being asked to leave with a master's degree.

In any event, I swore after that exam (for which I studied full-time for two months and managed to squeeze by on the first go, thank God) that I would never again get that worked up about a test. Some nerves that set in yesterday notwithstanding, I've managed to stick by that pledge. The only systematic review I've done is re-reading three quarters' worth of church history lectures--more than 400 pages in all. It was a bigger project than I'd first thought but also fun and probably worth it. Today I've set up my examination files and will do some light review of my notes. And then I will watch the Rose Bowl (go Badgers!).

I appreciate your prayers and good wishes for me and my classmates during what I expect will be a long, but perhaps also kinda fun, week. Catch you on the flip side.

Support me, O Lord, in my examinations; and, that I may make the most of the knowledge I possess, grant me confidence, steadiness, honesty, and a quiet mind. Amen.

(Prayer courtesy of fellow test-taker Jo Belser.)

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