I was always good at tests. After all, I moved around a lot, and the first thing they did in every school was to TEST me. Where does she fit in? How smart is she? Is she gifted? Average? Behind? Where shall we put her? What do we do with her? Is she worth extra time? Can we just ignore her?
So I got good at tests. If I was particularly bored in my new town I made an effort on the tests, knowing I would get into the advanced classes and at least I would be able to read as many books as I wanted to. If the new town was interesting to me in a social way I would purposely get some answers wrong, eager to just be the "normal" kid, in regular classes, so that I could fly under the radar and not have to put in too much time on schoolwork.
In all honesty, I never took tests too seriously. And I never realized until I was much older how much anxiety some of my fellow classmates felt when they were handed a test. I wasn't necessarily better at the material, I was just good at TESTS. I could often intuit what answers they were looking for without being that familiar with the material itself, and I was therefore slightly contemptuous of the tests themselves.
What a jerk, right? Before you get too irritated at me, keep in mind that tests rarely measure actual intelligence, and I had plenty of other things to freak out about, like being the new kid all the time, a frightening test all on its own that I could never intuit my way through no matter how I tried. In one town I was interesting, pretty and popular, in the next? A nobody teased for freckles and an unnatural love of books.
And believe me, the latter was more often the case.
One test I love but have no confidence in no matter how many times I take it is a familiar test to writers. It's called the Page 69 Test (sometimes it's the Page 99 Test), and the general idea is that page 69 of any book should reflect the basic tone and premise of the book. Marshal Zeringue, book lover, story lover, and, apparently, fellow test lover, the brains behind Campaign For The American Reader, has been kind enough to ask me to apply the Page 69 Test to Matters of Faith.
I was lucky enough to do the same for Catching Genius, but I was happier with the results for Matters of Faith on this particular test. And unlike those tests of my youth, I take these tests more seriously than you might think. Stop by and read the Page 69 Test for Matters of Faith and let me know what you think.
Maybe you'll think I'm brilliant (ha! Fooled you all again!), maybe you'll think I'm just a dumb, freckle-faced kid with her head addled by too many books, but maybe, just maybe, you'll be interested enough to want to put the Page 69 Test to work and see for yourself if it's an accurate barometer. If you read the test and then read the book, come back and let me know how I did. I promise I'll take your responses much more seriously than I did the results of those little fill-in-the-bubble tests I took throughout my youth, the ones that, in truth, never did ever manage to peg me.