My Arabic phone test is officially scheduled: January 18th.
While I've always been quite confident in my Arabic abilities for daily communication, this test is going to me in Modern Standard dialect, which I haven't used orally since my 4 weeks of language classes in Damascus in 2008. While my Syrian dialect will of course be helpful (and, I've heard that using bits of it where my standard fails will be okay), I'm still worried about being able to perform at the level required for a pass.
I've decided to hunt for a tutor to get some refresher practice before the big day. I've been doing some online research about tutors over skype: not only would this be cost-effective, but its would be the best simulation of the actual test day environment being over the phone without any visual cues. I'm also considering asking the husband of a work colleague of mine to help me out; apparently, he speaks excellent formal Arabic.
So the next few weeks will be busy work work, holidays, and Arabic. I'm glad, because I think I'm into a holding pattern in terms of clearance now. I have been getting some questions about clarifying information, but all in all it seems like my role in the process is done. I'm hoping that it goes smoothly. The target clearance date of 12/27 is fast approaching, inshallah they will meet it!