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Making a difference: PSI test center administrators tell us what it means to support test takers in meeting their potential

June 17, 2022

PSI’s Test Center Administrators (TCAs) come to work every day, facing uncertain circumstances while working extra shifts to ensure the world’s essential workers are prepared to do their jobs. Their resilience is clear as they’ve quickly adapted to new and ever-evolving safe distancing protocols, changing schedules, and sanitization measures, all while maintaining positive attitudes and excellent levels of service.

Three months into the pandemic, a letter was shared by one of our TCAs, Richard, to his fellow employees. As you read Richard’s letter and the other TCAs’ experiences below, you will see how these stories aren’t just about exams passed, but about lives impacted.

These accounts inspired everyone at PSI and encouraged other TCAs to share their stories of why they do what they do. From hearing what a passed exam means for a candidate to sharing in their celebrations and offering a calming presence, they are helping people meet their potential.

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Carolyn (Wilsonville, OR)
The rewards of my work

I had a candidate come in to take a long test.  When he was finished, he came out and asked me, “How long will it be until I know if I passed?” I said, “It will be about five seconds.” I had already printed his score report and I knew that he had passed. When he saw that he did pass, he said, “I have been waiting a very long time for this.” He began to cry and said, “English is my second language, and the two things I am most proud of are my US citizenship, and now, this.”

I told him that I was very happy for him! This job can be so rewarding.

Keturah (Chicago, IL)
An opportunity to help enhance careers

When the Atascadero site began reopening after the Covid-19 lockdown, we were one of the few locations open, so we were receiving an unusually large influx of individuals from all over who needed to test so they could work in their essential jobs. As I was collecting the required documentation for check-in for an individual taking his Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) exam, I realized that he had driven to California to take his exam from Nevada the night before. Because his original exam site in Las Vegas had to close, he was extremely grateful we were open and letting people test safely.

When he finished his exam, I handed him his score report and instead of leaving he was so stunned that he sat back down. He had passed the test and began to thank me and explain his excitement around passing. He could finally accept the promotion position he had been offered if he had gotten his FNP license.

For him, this meant that he would be able to work full time and his family could breathe a little easier, especially since we were at the height of unknown with the pandemic affecting everyone and their jobs.

Liz and Judy (Lanham, MD)
Helping people while doing our jobs

We had a candidate who had relocated from California to the DC area come into the test center several times, but on this occasion, she passed her Barber exam. She started to cry, telling us how much she had been through, and this was life changing. On another occasion, a gentleman who passed his exam celebrated when we gave him his exam results. A few days later, he returned to the test center just to thank us. These times remind me of a favorite lyric, “If I can help somebody, then my living is not in vain.”

Michelle (Mobile, AL)
A passed exam means a second chance

A candidate came into PSI’s test center to take a Real Estate Salesperson exam after having to leave the military for health reasons. She had tried other jobs after the military, but they were too labor intensive and were impacting her health negatively, so she knew she couldn’t do it long term. The day of her exam, she came in our office and told me passing this exam meant that she could continue to work and support her family and avoid going on disability.

When I gave her the results of the test, she cried because she passed both exams. She hugged me so tightly and said it was the kindness in this company that allowed her to pass. She stated that because I took a minute to listen and talk with her, she was able to focus and forge a new path for her family.

Richard (Medford, OR)
Thankful to make a positive impact

I had the pleasure of proctoring a candidate taking a medical exam. As the candidate finished her exam and exited the exam room, I proceeded with the check-out process which included giving her the score report.  As is very common with candidates who pass an exam, she expressed her gratitude and thanked me enthusiastically. She related how she has taken a few proctored exams in her career, and that this was the first time she was treated with respect.

I told her it was me who was thankful. I am always honored to be the person to witness candidates’ accomplishments, and this was no different. Her expression conveyed her relief, and after a few moments of silence, she shared her emotional journey – she spent two years studying to even be qualified to test! She proceeded to say how much of a sacrifice it has been for her. She has looked forward to this day of testing with both excitement and dread, but now she could move forward in her career with confidence.

Ronet (West Des Moines, IA)
Offering support to keep going through crisis

Last week, a man who had passed his exam looked so drained after he was done with his exam. I asked if he was ok, and he started to tell me about how scared he was. In addition to the pandemic, people of color were not being treated with respect and dignity.

This week, a young woman came in to take her exam, which had been delayed since in March. She went on to say that she lost her sister during the month of March. She also shared her concerns about the racial injustice, saying, “My family is biracial, and it’s been so hard. We’ve had so many conversations from all different viewpoints.”

Both of these individuals needed to talk about their personal situations after their tests were completed. Sometimes, as TCAs we do more than administer exams; we listen when people need to be heard about their lives. I simply needed to give them a few minutes of my time and I honestly felt honored to have heard their stories.

Sue (Gaylord, MI)
Encouraging – and being encouraged by – test candidates

A couple of gentlemen came into the test center to test for the Physical Therapy Jurisprudence Exam. After I finished the check-out process, both candidates told me the rumor at their college is that the PSI test center in Gaylord, MI is awesome! They both told me other people have come here from their school to take their exams and had a great test experience here. They explained how it’s already so stressful to come and take a test like this, but I made them feel more at ease and that everything was so professional and clean. I thanked them for telling me this. My personality has always been an encourager, so hearing them tell me that I’m making a difference is meaningful. I love celebrating with candidates when they succeed, and the ones who don’t pass their exams at first, I just try to say something encouraging to them before they leave. “Don’t give up,” is my motto!

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