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🅱️ollege 🅱️oard®

by guest writer, Tim Fraher


I woke up at 5:30 am. The night before, I had dreaded waking up early, thinking that I’d be drained at such an early time. Alas, I was raring. I had anticipated this day for six months, and I’d studied my butt off hoping to earn at least a passing grade.

This, of course, was the morning of the Advanced Placement English Language and Comprehension Exam, or as it was commonly referred to: the AP Somethin’-or-rather Test. Days and weeks of busy work and tutoring would finally pay off in just under four hours. I could not wait to leave this portion of my life behind me. I grabbed my trousers and headed out the door. No time to waste!

7:15 sharp was supposed to be the “late arrival.” I was there at 7:30; the doors hadn’t even opened. My stomach churned from the coffee I drank forty-five minutes prior, and the little creature that resides within my system screamed out at me, don’t you worry, I’ll just be down here doing my thing. Such peculiar things they are.

The doors finally flung open, the stagnant air was interrupted by the even fouler air from within this prison of a library.

“I.D.s please,” croaked a surly woman with a red lanyard. To me, she was part of the selective few who epitomized the modern day institution of education; the esoteric ideology that knowledge is a business. The scene was so surreal in nature, I wondered if I was hallucinating. I reluctantly handed her my identification.

Within the prison we were treated like the dogs we are. Our kennels were arranged five feet apart, per College Board® requirements. I, for one, was glad to have my space. Before we began testing, they gave us the rundown. No phones, smart-watches, cheatsheets, juice boxes, wigs, laughter, expression… (Students with colored clothing were taken immediately to the college board directors to feast upon). They did however present us with the materials--obvious to us--that we were allowed. Among them were a number two pencil, a blue or black pen, an eraser, a piece of scratch paper, a tube of Chapstick (in case we got hungry), needles of various sizes, and a tub of expired chocolate milk from the school cafeteria. To be honest I was content with my number two and a blue pen.

The test was excruciating. They started by asking me what race I was. In today's world, how could I know. I decided to skip it and go back to it after I’d answered all the easy ones. The majority of the test seemed fairly straightforward, however. They gave the usual “what rhetorical devices are used in the America’s forty-fifth inaugural commencement speech,” to which I answered D, “all of them.” Come on College Board®. Step up your game.

The essay portion threw me for a loop, though. I expected the prompt to be somewhat relatable, like “how does democracy play a role in the creation of bats,” but of course I was disappointed; at least half of us received “How does uwu relate to the diversification of 🐵❤️⛷️.” Nevertheless, I hunkered down and began scratching away.

When that was done, we were filed along in chains to the recording room where we had to do the speaking portion of the exam. We were blindfolded and given headsets, where we were tested on our ability to properly communicate with a human being in 21st century English. They gave us ten minutes to sell as many time shares to as many customers as possible over these headsets. We were being tested on our marketing abilities. I achieved my quota in under five minutes. Those who weren’t able to do so were dispatched immediately by a team of U.S. Special Forces, hired by the College Board® for that very purpose.

Over a microphone, the proctor gave us our final instructions. “Fill out the survey marked ‘section H’ on your student pack. When you are done, put down your pencil, look up, and shriek.” Easy peasy.

I know the test has no bearing on whether on not I get into college, but College Board® really does make it seem like they are the gatekeepers of our futures. Another thing they asked we don’t do is give out the test content. I was limited in what I told you, but seeing as that I did give away a few of the prompts, I expect that sometime soon I’ll--

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