by Marinka on February 6, 2012

On Saturday, Young Ladrinka took an admissions test for 6th grade at the local public school. In NYC, you have to apply to get into certain public schools. I’ll let you think about that for a moment, while I get a cup of coffee.


Young Ladrinka has been going to a private school since he was 2 which means that he’d spent weekends at his classmates’ homes in the Hamptons and been invited to spend Spring Break in Palm Beach, but he’s never taken a standardized test and doesn’t know from making all circles on the answer sheet dark. The correct ones, that is. But Husbandrinka was in charge of explaining that concept to him, mostly because I have an undiagnosed yet deadly allergy to tests. I’d get tested for it, but…

Anyway, the night before Young Ladrinka and I prepared for the test.

“You need to bring pencils with you,” I told him.

“Why do I need pencils?” He asked.

“What do you mean? To take the test.”

“Isn’t the test at the school, though?” he was still confused.

“Yes, but-”

“What kind of school are you sending me to that they don’t have pencils?” he asked. Because at NYC private schools, each student gets a personal butler to supply them with pencils. Fine, I’m exaggerating. Some kids have to share.

He packed the pencils. And a snack. And a supplemental snack in case the primary snack didn’t take.

“Are you nervous?” I asked. Because in my experience questions like that relax everyone.

“A little,” he said. “What if I fail, will you hate me?”

“Of course not,” I said, like you’re supposed to, “I just want you to do your best.”

“That’s it?”


“What if I do my best and get every question wrong?”

“That won’t happen.”

“But if it does, will you be proud of me?”

“If that was your best, yes.”

“What if I get everything right and it’s not my best?”

“There’s no way that can happen. If you get everything right it means that you’ve done your best.”

“No. I could get some right by mistake.”


“You’re saying that if I get everything right without trying my best you won’t be proud of me? Thanks a lot, mom!”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Ok, but we both know you did.”

“Just do your best.”


I walked him over to the school early on Saturday. I was scanning my memory of best last minute wisdom to impart.

“Sometimes you’ll get a question that you just don’t know the answer to,” I explained. “You just need to not panic and take a guess and move on.”

“GUESS?” he said, “shouldn’t I try to think about it first?”


This may explain why I’m not in the test prep business.

One year ago ...

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cranky Old Man
February 6, 2012 at 12:30 am

I wonder where that boy gets some of that stuff?

Cranky Old Man


annie February 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

you do realize, don’t you, that your days of being smarter than Young Ladrinka are over?


Alexandra February 6, 2012 at 9:48 am

I think you’d be JUST what a kid needs in the test prep business.

It’s not too late for a career change. And you can sit and work on your blog while your kid clients do the practice sheets of little black circles for an hour.


Kara February 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

So? . . . How did it go? Did he try his best and fail, or not try his best and get everything right?


joeinvegas February 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

A test to get into public school? New York


February 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

““What if I get everything right and it’s not my best?””

This line kills me.


ChiTown Girl February 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Next time your advice to Young Ladrinka should be:
When in doubt, always go with C!


Margaret (Nanny Goats)
February 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Somehow, I get the feeling after your conversation with him, he’ll ace that thing and get right in. 🙂


Hope February 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Love his logic: he might get something right by accident. Brilliant! I am sure he will ace his test.


February 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

The logic on the young one…clever. Private school tuition was clearly money well spent.


the mama bird diaries
February 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I now have test anxiety.


Becky Rice
February 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

As much as I enjoyed this post, I have a feeling the “results” post will be even better.


Amanda May 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Wow, I thought I was the only one with an allergy to test prep! This condition has proved especially problematic as my children start kindergarten in NYC. Public school and the Gifted and Talented test, private school and the ERB…There are no options that don’t involve testing. Given my aversion to test prep, I reached out and got some help. Private School Edge and their tutors were so patient with my kids and really helped me feel comfortable with the whole admissions process. I would absolutely recommend these tutors if you share this allergy, or if you just need an extra hand


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