Passing the Test

Today, I worked on writing the examination questions for my Abnormal Psychology students’ first examination. I wanted the test questions to be sufficiently challenging.

It was important to me to design questions that are reasonable to answer, assuming that students have been keeping up with their reading assignments, as well as paying attention during lectures.

I started to think about how well those of us with chronic illness pass our daily test of coping with long-term medical challenges. I’m not sure that you can ever possibly be fully prepared for such an examination. The questions themselves certainly prove to be very challenging.

After all, most of us have been raised to believe that we can surpass any obstacle placed in our way, given adequate ambition, hard work, and perseverance. Chronic illness simply doesn’t obey those rules. Symptoms stubbornly persist, independent of your ongoing efforts to bring them under submission.

As a result, how do you fairly grade someone’s performance on an examination that truly never ends? I don’t think that there’s such a thing as grading on a curve for this type of test, either. Everyone with chronic illness receives a unique type of examination, with all questions tailormade.

There appear to be multiple opportunities to take a re-test of our coping abilities. After all, chronic illnesses are not static conditions. I sincerely hope that my professional expertise, as well as personal experiences, assist others to pass their own individualized test of coping with chronic illness.

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