Brainbench-a-thon, Part 5

I didn't take any Brainbench tests yesterday, because I was busy working on a freelance writing assignment I picked up from my more-sucessful brother. Today, I had no coherant plan for what to test, so I grabbed a bunch I thought I could pass easily: "Spelling", "Business Math", "Problem Solving - Qualtitative", "ITAA Information Security Awareness", and "Internet Security". I may have finally met my match in that last one.

"Spelling" was only slightly harder than similar questions on the PSAT. Business Math was mostly about calculating interests and discounts. (I've worked retail.) I got the Master's Level certifcations on those easily. After taking the "Spelling" test, Brainbench announced that there was a "job role associated with this skill", so I clicked the associated hyperlink. Apparently, I already have half the skills needed to be an editor or a technical writer. What good that knowledge does me, I'm not sure.

"Problem Solving - Qualtitative" (what the SAT would call "Reading Comprehension") threw me for a loop -- I always scored 97% percentile or higher on similar sections of standardized tests like the SAT or GRE, but I only reached the 91st percentile at Brainbench -- that's a 3.77 out of 5, far short of the 4.0 needed for a Master's Level certification. Ouch. After the cakewalks of the "Written English" and "Spelling" tests, who would have expected Brainbench to be tougher than the GRE? (More importantly, who would have expected them to ask so many literature questions? Are companies hiring lit professors through Brainbench?)

Seriously, that score was disappointing enough that I'm scared to take the equivalent math test (my GRE Quantitative score was nowhere near the level of my Qualitative score), so I decided to try computer security. I easily earned a Master's Level score on "ITAA Information Security Awareness" (despite not knowing who the hell the ITAA is) -- it was basic e-mail stuff like "Should you open e-mail attachments from strangers?". Then I tried the more expansive "Internet Security" test, and didn't do so well -- I passed, but not with a Master's Level certification, and the results said my weak areas were "Electronic Mail" and "Firewalls".

I cop to the lack of firewall expertise (I just trust ZoneAlarm for that), but didn't I just pass a test about e-mail security? I decided to retake the "Internet Security" test, so I could get the Master's Level certification. Instead, my score went down. I decided to quit while I was behind -- I removed the lower score from my Brainbench transcript and went to bed.

Posted at 11:55:33 PM EDT on 10 July 2004 from Trenton, MI