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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Snover

...the Pen 15 Club

I'm not sure if elementary schoolers these days still pull the same pranks that they used to, but back in my day there was something called the "Pen 15 club."

Your friend would ask if you wanted to join, and a few other people would cluster around, oohing and aahing about how exclusive the club was, how lucky you were to be invited.

"Of course," you would reply, peer pressure working. "How do I join?"

"Easy they," would say, "Give me your arm."

Then they would take a marker and write pen 15, except they would capitalize it and squish it together so that it looked just like this:


They would probably make the number five nice and rounded as well.

Then everyone would run away howling and laughing, and you would be left there, boiling with shame. The only silver lining is that you can't possibly fall for this trick more than once. The next time someone asked you to join the pen 15 club, you would tell them to fuck right off (in whatever words a fourth grader would use).

The SAT is just like this. It is chock-full of dumb one-time tricks. They might ask for 3X instead of X, or mess around with the scale of the axis on a chart, or put numbers out of order and then ask for the median. They'll give you a perpendicular slope and then ask for a parallel one, hoping you mix up those two words.

There's no shame in falling for these, at least not the first time. If you can avoid falling for the same trick twice, pretty quickly you will run out of things to get wrong, because, just like a 4th grader, the SAT is just not that clever. It plays the same dumb pranks again and again.

By the way, your epidermis is showing.

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