For my doctoral program, all the incoming students had to take preliminary exams to see where they could 'pass out' of, and which areas of study might need remediation. Post-tonal music was a sure sign for remediation for me, but I'm really enjoying learning things about music that I never learned (or at least never internalized) before. But I still worried about other areas that I thought were fairly solid. It had been over three years since I had even looked at music theory. Almost five years since I took a test on aural skills or ear training. It kind of felt like this (click on the image to make it all big-like):
Everyone is sitting quietly in their chairs, scribbling away, while I'm sweating like a pig and either staring at the page blankly, or writing so furiously that I'm breaking several pencil leads, repeating 'Oh God Oh God Oh God' as if the world's going to end if I don't pass my ethnomusicology test.
Luckily the world didn't end upon completion of all the exams. I didn't need a divine intervention from the Big Man Upstairs, and things worked out okay. And hopefully it will be the last entrance exam I ever have to take- from now on I'm only interested in tests that get you out of things (like comps or dissertations) and not into them.