Satire: College Board Releases Preliminary Testing Instructions

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For the 2016-2017 school year, the College Board has released the pre-test instructions for the PSAT online ahead of time. In an attempt to address complaints about the time allotted for reading these instructions aloud, as well as complaints about proctors occasionally skipping steps or incorrectly reading the steps aloud, causing additional confusion, the College Board is encouraging students to print out the instructions at home and bring them to school on the day of the PSAT. In anticipation for the upcoming PSATs for current M-A sophomores and juniors, the M-A Chronicle is posting these directions below.

Please remove the personal information packet from the shrink-wrapped package. Exercise caution when doing so, as the tamper-proof seals contained in the package are extremely sensitive and can be triggered by excessive force. If the seals register interference then your test may be invalidated and you must report it to your proctor to be eligible for a partial refund.

Open the packet to the first page when your proctor tells you to do so. Opening the packet before your proctor instructs, or going ahead without the approval of your proctor, violates test integrity and may cause your results to be invalidated. The packet contains nine (9) sections for personal information, from top to bottom arranged in the following order: 8,1, 3, 5, 2, 4, 9, 7, 6. Each section is delineated by a black box with the title of the section in the top left.

Adjacent to the title is a hexadecimal code that will vary based on the section and the individual test. Please refer to the reference chart on the second page to find out which code corresponds to which hexadecimal color. Each color will be needed to fill in the bubbles for its respective section.

Please note that those reference charts and potential hexadecimal colors will not be released ahead of time, for the sake of testing integrity. However, individually colored pens are available for rent for a small fee.

Your proctor should instruct you to fill out the sections of the personal information packet in the order described above. This should take approximately forty-five (45) minutes, and will require you to bring multiple personal documents to the testing center including, but not limited to: a school ID card, a valid form of state identification, a driver’s license, a passport, a Social Security card, and a birth certificate. Please note that the same physical item cannot stand in for two elements of the list; for example, a drivers license will not count as a valid form of state identification. Some test-takers will be too young to legally acquire a driver’s license in their state or territory, and have made prior arrangements with the testing center at least seventy-eight (78) business days before the date of testing. If you have not contacted the College Board by the date specified and are missing a driver’s license or another personal document for any reason, your test will be invalidated and a refund will not be offered.

Once you have completed the packet, your proctor should instruct you to remove the tamper-proof seals from a separate package within the shrink-wrap. Please note that this is the first academic year that the College Board has used this particular type of seals. Although they have undergone rigorous testing, false positives may still occur, and may entitle you for a partial refund. If a seal is triggered then its color will change to a bright red, most often caused by small tears or undue stress on the left side of the seal.

The package contained within the original shrink-wrap should comprise twenty-two (22) tamper-proof seals. Each seal should measure approximately four (4) inches long by two (2) inches wide. The top-most seal in the package, which can be distinguished by its off-white hue as compared with the pearl-white shade of the other ten seals, should have an empty circle approximately one (1) inch in diameter at its center. Take one of the colored pens that you used to fill in your personal information and fill in the circle in the center of the top seal. The color of the pen should not matter, but if more than three (3) percent of the circle is unfilled, or more than one (1) percent of the area outside of the circle is filled, then your test may be invalidated without opportunity for a refund.

Next, unpeel each of the remaining ten seals and attach them to the personal information packet. The number of seals on each of the sides of the booklet, counterclockwise from top, is as follows: seventeen (17), one (1), two (2), one (1). The seals on each side should be equidistant from each other. There will be some overlap of the seals on the top side; this is acceptable. Now, please discard the off-white seal. This section should take approximately twenty-five (25) minutes.

You should now have complete the personal information packet. If more than one (1) hour has elapsed from the beginning of the test, please report it to the College Board on collegeboard.org, along with the name of your proctor and the address of the school administering the test. If not, then you may begin your test when your proctor instructs.

I’m Jasper Fu, a senior, and this will be my first year with the M-A Chronicle. I’ll be writing anything from feature pieces to satires to food reviews with Ben Strehlow. I’m excited to work on my writing skills and broadening what I write in general. I’ve always liked writing, and also edit for an online fiction anthology, but this is my first foray into journalism and nonfiction in general. In my free time I fence (poorly), read (plentifully), and sleep (excessively).

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