December 15, 2005: The Test

Last week, Stella and I went to Jerusalem for our “Yishuv Test.” This is an all day psychometric examination that is required for anyone who wants to purchase a house in one of the yishuvim. The purpose of these tests is to make sure that you are “sane” or perhaps “insane” enough to live here.

My favorite part of the exam was the group activity. We joined four other people who were taking the test that day. While the psychologists observed, we tried to participate in the group discussions. What made it difficult may have been the fact that the group did not speak English and besides sentences like “I like to eat fish and drink beer,” my Ivrit is still quite limited. We all had to give a personal narrative. After listening to the others speak, I was asked what I thought of their stories. From my understanding of their narratives, I could tell that:

A) they were women, and

B) they were taking the test.

After the group discussions, we got to play with legos. I am not making this up! (I think it was to prove our maturity.)

The exam had many different components designed to see how your mind works. It started with a series of math problems. However, the exam is not realistic. All the problems had answers that made sense. Life in Israel is not always that simple. Here is my suggestion for a more realistic question, “Banking in Israel:”

Yitzhak has 4,000 shekels in the bank at the beginning of the month. He withdraws 2,000 shekels. How many shekels does he now have?

A) 10, B) 0, C) -200, D) -3,000, E) “Ain Baya”

The next section was looking at sequences of numbers and events and determining the pattern. However, everyone who lives in Israel learns the patterns of life. You don’t have to be an expert to fill in the blanks on my practice question. “How does one get a driving license in Israel?:”

Memsi Exam, Pay Fee, Medical Test, Pay Fee, Misrad Harishui, Pay Fee, Driving School, _______, Misrad Harishui, Pay Fee

The next section was about 100 sentences where we filled in the blanks. Things like “A good person always…….” I wonder what they thought of my answer “…enjoys taking psychometric exams.”

Time for the essay questions. “Write at least ten lines about your whole life.” Excuse me, ten lines? I can write more than ten lines about what I had for breakfast. I barely got through describing Kindergarten in ten lines! Give me more paper, more time. How about a publishing contract?

Just as I finished writing the abridged history of the life of Jordan/Yarden Frankl, I was asked to come for the interview. The first question was “Tell me about your life.” Wait, didn’t I just break my wrist writing everything down. I wanted to tell the lady to go read my essay.

Finally, the day’s activities came to a close. We are now eagerly awaiting the results at which time the Yishuv will find out whether I am mentally stable. Of course, until then, they still let me run around with a loaded M16 at 3:00 A.M. AND work with children.

But didn’t I say that Israel doesn’t always make sense?

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