The PRC administers an online test to its foreign language experts. As an oral English teacher here, I had to take the test. I was evaluated on writing, basic knowledge and my psychology. In the last two categories, I failed miserably. (The result for the writing test has not come in yet so I could have failed that one as well.)
My score on the basic knowledge was 56. For someone who has never failed a test in her life, this result should have been devastating. However, I’m actually not so concerned. Throughout the test, I was thinking, This must be a joke. Here are a couple of the questions:
What color of the majority of Chinese have? [sic]
American psychologist Bruner thought the essential factor of studying was _________.
a) to form a kind of cloze
b) to form one's own cognition structure
c) to form the link between stimulation and reflection
d) the cognition of circumstance
How these questions could give any indication of my capability as a teacher – or a human being – I have no idea.
However, I was feeling more self-conscious about my score of 61 on the psychological test. According to the evaluation report, my high scoring areas were in “Drink, Extent of Mental Health, Harmonization Capability, Heart Endurance, Sense of Achievement, Emotional Stability, Tendency Towards Violence, Professional Spirit.” I did not have any low scoring areas.
Apart from the “Tendency Towards Violence,” the rest of the high-scoring areas are positive. Yet, how did I still receive such a low score -- especially since the introduction to the test stated there were no wrong or right answers? One should simply answer to the best of their ability based on their life experiences, which is what I did.
So when the test asked me if I would sing at a party, I said I would if asked by friends. Do I think smoking relieves stress? As an ex-smoker, I answered, Yes, sometimes. And when the test asked my strategy for playing chess, I chose, "I normally think about N steps and design a trap for my counterpart." (Maybe that’s why I have a “Tendency Towards Violence"?)
Other questions included: Do you like to laugh? Do you believe that drunken people normally conduct themselves badly? If you went out for dinner in a restaurant, where would you prefer to sit?
I confided in my boyfriend my scores. His first reaction was disbelief. Then I shared with him some of the questions and he laughed, taking full advantage of the situation to poke fun at me for both the scores and my freaking out over the scores.
“Am I really crazy?” I asked him desperately.
“Well,” he said. “A little.”
His answer was of no relief, and I was starting to doubt all my answers on the psychological test questions. But I felt comforted when he reminded me that this was a Chinese psychological test.
I may have Chinese written all over my face, but it’s the good U.S. of A that instilled my morals (maybe lack thereof, to the Chinese), my opinions and my personality. If Americans were all rated on a Chinese standard of normal, healthy behavior, I suppose most of us would seem pretty crazy.