What do you Meme I can’t post that?

Graphics from Adam Sasser, Luis Mario Estrada, and Collegeboard.

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Meme (pronounced mEEm): an element of the internet that is passed from one individual to another by imitation. Memes and today’s internet culture go hand in hand. Memes have evolved with today’s culture and have become more incomprehensible over time, and many people find them hard to understand because of that. Many people use them to relieve stress or to poke fun at certain widespread topics.

“Memes are something like an inside joke between a wide group of people who may not know each other. They take something funny and make a trend out of the same joke,” senior Hailey Bullard said.

The PSAT, or Practice Scholastic Aptitude Test, is an optional test high school students may take every year in October. It measures students’ ability to understand reading, writing, and math. There is a catch, however. Students have to swear not to discuss the contents of the PSAT with anyone in any form. However, students countrywide have disregarded such rules and have started posting memes about PSAT online.

“[People make the PSAT memes] to make fun of them, to release anxiety before the test,” freshman Luis Mario Estrada said. “I think it’s really cool if they’re making memes on the PSAT.”

Some memes are harmless, like ones discussing their scores, the concept of the PSAT, or hypothetical questions. The real problem is overly specific memes discussing memorable questions.

“They’re funny  but technically bad because you’re not supposed to talk about what’s on the test until after materials have been released, although after materials are released it’s fair game,” Bullard said.

For example, in 2016, the English portion PSAT contained passages on dolphins and blowfish, the story of a girl trying to get a photography apprenticeship, companies misusing the artisan label, and why the FDA should regulate its use, and a story on sponges in coral reefs. Teenagers took to the subreddit r/teenagers and started posting memes on the story passages.

“Yes, I do think that memes that use PSAT content posted after the PSAT or just PSAT-memed content in general are bad,” freshman Nathan Sexton said.

This directly violates the Collegeboard’s (the organization responsible for the PSAT) policy: “Sharing of test questions or answers is prohibited at any time. Never give questions or answers to anyone or discuss them by any means (e.g., email, text message, exchange via the Internet, or any other form of communication).”

It has even gotten to the point where Collegeboard has made its own memes in a desperate bid to stop students from posting memes about the PSAT.

“I don’t really care if they’re breaking (the policy),” said Estrada. “If it’s fun, it’s fun.”

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