Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have been marked … rather my transcripts have

by Jenni

Have you taken it yet? Have you even heard of it? Have you cowered in fear?

Yep, I’m talking about the Bible Proficiency Exam (BPE). Yesterday, I took this required test. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you in suspense. I passed.

I have been worried about this test since I first heard about it. I’ve heard Luther’s urban legends about the BPE: “The BPE is impossible.” “I heard that that a student in ’46 didn’t graduate because they couldn’t pass it.” “I hear even the professors have trouble with it.” “Did you hear, they had to make the test easier because students couldn’t pass it!” “Someone once told me birthday cake is not a breakfast food!” Oh, wait, not that last one. But I have heard the rumors and I let them psych me out.

If you’re not familiar with the BPE, legend has it that years ago the professors at Luther were concerned that students graduating into ministry work were lacking in basic Bible knowledge. We can talk about the three parts of the Trinity, sanctification and vocation but what year did the Wilderness Wanderings begin? Students have to take this test after their first year (or 10 completed credits) before being allowed to register for the next semester's classes.

Let me be honest. The test isn’t easy, especially if you haven’t had a strong biblical education or are new to the faith. Before taking the test, I had already taken a number of Old Testament classes, but only one New Testament class on the Gospel of Luke. After the Book of Acts, I’m pretty thin and the test showed that. I never memorized the books of the Bible or Bible verses in Sunday school or confirmation. I don’t learn dates and places well. I understand the themes and overall story of the Bible, but I have trouble memorizing and reciting. No question this test is a “remember and recite” test which made me anxious.

I’m still not sure this is the best format. Luther wants to make sure we have the basics of Scripture before getting deeper into our studies, but it seems an unfair testing metric. Yes, there are systems in place to study and memorize this information, but is it the best way to know it? I passed the test yesterday, but could I do it again or did I just cram that information in my head long enough to pass the test?

In any case, I managed to pass the test (don’t worry, not my first time. Yesterday was my second attempt) and the taunting, bold, red “HOLD” is off my MyLutherNet account.

The test taking process wasn’t without it’s own drama, though. I’m blind as a bat without my glasses. I’m not exaggerating, either. So midway through the test, I’m starting to feel like maybe I might pass; I know the answers to a lot of these questions! And “POP” a screw just falls out of my glasses and the lens falls to my lap. “WHAT?!?!” I scream (in my head; there were other people taking the test). I can’t even see the screen, the screw is in the same place stray socks disappears to and there are no paperclips, bread ties or safety pins in the computer lab. I was going to have to take the BPE looking like a pirate (you know, sqinty-eyed) when I remembered I had my prescription sunglasses with me. So I guess I finished the BPE like a rock-star (wearing my shades inside and passing the test).

Oh, and those rumors? Yeah, when you’re an adult, birthday cake is always a breakfast food!


Post a Comment

<< Home