To meme, or not to meme


PSAT memes going viral on Twitter, hours after students have taken the test. Image courtesy of @jjpitts16 on Twitter.

Chase Olson, Staffer

     “By signing this, you agree not to disclose specific test information through any form of communication including emails, text messages, Internet posts, or social media.”

     Every student sees this message when they take the PSAT, and they all sign the box with their signature and printed name. Despite this, many students flock to Twitter after the exam to post memes about the reading material, and even questions, that they just read and analyzed. Since 2014, PSAT memes have become an annual tradition, and the practice of memeing standardized tests has even expanded to the STAAR test, ACT, and even the SAT. College Board tries to stop the spread of these memes under the assumption that they can be used to cheat on the exams, but the way they’re designed makes them unable to be used in that way. 

     Most of the memes about the PSAT or other tests are about the content from the reading and writing/editing sections, taking moments from the selections and rewording them to allow the insertion of a reaction image or video. This type of meme really wouldn’t benefit people who haven’t taken the test already, since it requires knowledge of the test beforehand. It’s like memes about movie or TV show plots; you need to have seen them first to understand.

     Another thing that makes these memes useless for cheating is the fact they don’t reveal any answers. They’re just for poking fun at the text. The only thing that can be considered showing the answer in a standardized test meme would be STAAR memes that reference the essay prompt for the Reading and Composition test. Other than that, no popular standardized test memes expose any questions or answers. Therefore, their impact on test results should be negligible, if there’s any at all.

     So is College Board in the right to nullify test scores over these memes? Well, the contract on the back of the answer sheet did say they agree to not share any information about the exam, but many have pointed out that contracts don’t legally bind minors, making the contract on the PSAT more of a suggestion than anything. The guidelines on the PSAT Student Guide only state that it’s prohibited to share test questions and answers until they’ve released it publicly themselves, which the majority of these memes don’t do. So if you’re not that concerned about standardized tests, go ahead and post all the memes you want. But if you don’t want your test to be invalidated, then it may be best to just look at other people’s memes. Either way, you shouldn’t feel bad about looking at or sharing PSAT memes or any other standardized test memes.