Of course, there’s a story to go with it. I was supposed to fly before taking the exam. My instructor took my favorite plane out with another student an hour before I was supposed to go up and they managed to knock something loose. After their last touch-and-go the GPS turned off and the radios started cutting in and out. They came back around, landed, and parked it by the shop. No flying for me.

That’s ok, though. The exam proctor was there early, so I just switched into exam mode and got started. For those who’ve never taken a government exam, they are administered in tightly-controlled conditions. They put you in an exam room, take away all of your stuff, fire up the exam computer, and log you in with your special ID. The exam questions are pulled from a questions bank on a central server via secure connection. Once they are downloaded, the proctor starts the exam and retires to another room to stare at you via strategically positioned cameras.

I settled in for a two-and-a-half hour exam.

An hour and a half later, I was done. So, I hit the submit button. What’s supposed to happen is that your answers are supposed to be uploaded to the server, checked against the key, and the proctor is notified. That’s not what happened. I watched as the internet died and my exam went exactly nowhere.

We had to call tech support for some assistance. The options weren’t good. I could choose to wait until they processed the system, discovered whether or not my exam answers were saved, then got back to me via mail (!?!) about whether I passed or whether they were able to save anything at all.


The other option? Take the exam again and hope we didn’t have another internet failure.

An hour and a half later, I was finished. For the second time.

Oh yeah, it was a whole new batch of questions so the second time around was starting from the beginning again.


Oh well. At least I passed!