Emily Little

Learning permit tests generate stress

emily little

Every teenager looks forward to the day they turn 15 and can get their driving permit. My 15th birthday unfortunately fell on a Sunday, so I had to wait until the following day to curb my permit excitement.

About two months before my birthday, I asked my dad to pick up the driving rules book to start studying. Although I had every intention of being ahead of the game, I let the book sit on my desk collecting dust until a week before my birthday. I tried to simply skim the book, but I knew that wasn't going to help me absorb much information. I set the book back on my desk, and let it go untouched for a few more days. Two days before I had to take the required tests, I realized I needed to get busy. I read the book cover to cover, highlighting important facts along the way.

The night before my test, I stayed up late cramming with my friend Angie. I took multiple online practice tests and had her quiz me before we headed to sleep. I knew the material pretty well, but I also knew I could have studied a lot of more.

The next morning, my dad drove us to the tax collector's office to take my tests - road signs and road rules. I checked in, signed an electronic touch screen, and took the picture that would be on my permit if I passed my tests.

After about 15 minutes of computer issues, I began the first test - road rules. As I was nearing the end of the test, I had four incorrect answers. The limit to pass was five out of 20, and I was getting increasingly nervous as each question went on. As I got to the 19th question, I chose my answer - which happened to be wrong. This meant I had failed the road rules test and would have to retake it. I was extremely frustrated, both by the fact that I had failed the test and that most of the questions I missed involved towing. Do I really need to know that for a vehicle to tow another, the drawbar must not be longer than 15 feet? I didn't really think so.

I went on to take the road signs test and passed it with flying colors. When I finished, I walked down a long hallway back to the driving sector of the office. As I walked back in disappointment, I saw Angie wave. I gave her two thumbs down and continued my way back to the room. I told Angie and my dad I had unfortunately failed the road rules test. I went back up to the desk, and was told I could retake the test. I walked back down the long hallway to the same testing station. I sat down, took my test, and passed it - missing only one question. As I walked back, I held two thumbs up to my dad and Angie. A few minutes later, I left with my permit in hand.

When we were about halfway home, my dad pulled over and we switched places; I drove on the road for the first time. Everything was going well, until I saw a garbage truck parked ahead on the curve. Out loud I said, "Well, crap!" although I meant for it to stay in my head. I maneuvered around the truck and the oncoming car. I would have fist-bumped my dad, but then I would only have one hand on the wheel.

As I pulled into my driveway, I realized I now had the freedom to legally drive - with a licensed driver over the age of 21, of course.