By Alec Zbornak
On October 19, 2016, juniors will sit down to take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) Merit Scholarship Competition, which, as they will soon realize, will set the course for the rest of their lives. Those who score highly shall reap the rewards and live a life of fruitful, wondrous majesty. Those who don’t will burn in the eternal wraths of the College Board Underworld. Today, I will reveal the secrets necessary to ensure you make your mark upon the PSAT Gods.
Step One: Acquire the Essential Materials
While Barron’s, Princeton Review and Kaplan all offer their respective two cents on how to succeed in testing, none can compare to the knowledge gained from real-life experience. Why sit down and read when you can go outside and find the answers in the world around you.
Step Two: The Real World is Real Good
Gaze into the mathematics hidden in the stars. Read the passages graffitied onto the subway station. Experience the science in a freshly cut blade of grass. After all of this, if you feel naughty for not having picked up a book, then you should make the trek to the local printing press. Actually seeing the beauty behind the creation of raw knowledge will provide much more enlightenment than reading alone.
Step Three: The Later the Better
Don’t listen to what they say: Sleep is for the weak. It is imperative that you stay up all night and mentally prepare for the examination the night before the test. Once again, it is important to note that this does not mean reading or even doing practice problems. Instead, you need to embrace the deep, cryptic caverns of your mind and think and think and think until you achieve Nirvana.
Step Four: Background is For the Ground
Firstly, do not–and I mean DO NOT—give them your real name. It’s a trick question. Secondly, don’t include your address, as it is a breach of security. Thirdly, when asked for your race, scratch out all answer choices and write “The Human Race.”
Step Five: Be Loud, Be Proud
It’s a common misconception that you must test in silence. Au contraire mon frère! Not only is vocalization allowed, but it is encouraged. Have a question? Make sure to ask a buddy, or better yet the instructor. He or she may have a couple of years on you and can offer helpful advice. And you mustn’t forget the always-exciting singing portion, where the person who can hit the highest note will get the highest score.
Step Six: Find The Coordinates
While taking the test, it is important that you circle every 16th word beginning with a consonant. Once the word bank has been achieved, you must use the Vigenere Cypher to uncover the longitudinal and latitudinal digits to the PSAT bunker in Minsk, Belarus. Here you will be confronted with the Test Master, whom you must defeat in interpretive dance to earn the title of National Merit Scholar.
Step Seven: Take Your Throne
You have achieved PSAT royalty and have garnered the respect of all. Well done, sir. Well done.