Inside the Strange World of PSAT Memes

Students aren’t supposed to share information about the test, but: memes

Standardized test
This year's PSATs have brought with them a new crop of PSAT memes.
lecroitg/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / October 19, 2019 10:51 am

You may remember taking the PSATs during your high school years: it serves as a precursor to what you might expect on the SATs, and also relates to qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program. But if you took the PSATs before the era of social media, you might be missing out on something strange and wonderful: the world of PSAT memes (or, perhaps, #psatmemes) that have flooded social media in the past week.

At The Cut, Madeleine Aggeler investigated the phenomenon, with particular attention paid to this year’s crop of memes. It’s a somewhat controversial topic, as the College Board has requested that students not post any allusions to the tests, lest others who haven’t taken it yet be tipped off as to what to expect. 

If you suspect that the College Board’s warnings about posting memes have also been turned into memes, you are quite correct.

As Aggeler notes, this year’s group of PSAT memes largely centers around a reading comprehension passage, which appears to be an excerpt from Ruth Ozeki’s acclaimed 2013 novel A Tale For the Time Being. That in turn leads to one of the surreal charms of exploring PSAT memes: trying to piece together the context of something from the memes it inspired. 

Aggeler points out that the College Board’s threats over creating memes may or may not pose an actual danger to the memes’ creators. “It’s unclear whether the College Board has canceled any scores over memes, and the vast majority of the students sharing them are using anonymous accounts,” she writes.

Still, there’s only one thing for certain in the world of PSAT memes: we can expect a whole new batch at around this time next year.

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