I Hacked the College Board AP Spanish Test

Based on a true story.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cover Image
By Sabrina Chen

The College Board has managed to survive lawsuits and accusations over unfair testing conditions and illegal activities. To this day, it still manages to uphold its “nonprofit organization” description. Up until last week, however, it had yet to face its most formidable opponent: me.

I entered Stuyvesant on Tuesday, May 11, with the sole purpose of achieving a 5 on the AP Spanish exam without demonstrating the slightest bit of knowledge concerning the Spanish language. My first task was to obtain all the answers to Sections IA and IB. This was simple. When I walked through the bridge entrance on the second floor, the security guard asked me to step aside and show her the COVID-19 safety form we were asked to fill out on the bridge, which I did not have. This was not because I had accidentally closed the tab on my phone after filling out the form while I was on the bridge. It was a carefully planned, strategic maneuver that would allow me to take a photo of the security guard’s laptop before filling out the form a second time. As I stood on one of the few functioning escalators, I carefully reviewed the footage.

As I suspected, on the bottom left corner of the laptop was a sticker labeled “Lenovo,” which was clearly the Spanish word for “Lenov.” If you find the absolute value of the difference between each corresponding letter of Lenov and Cyrus (my first name) in the alphabet, you get eight, 20, four, six, and three. With conclusive evidence that the number 820463 was my test book number, all I had to do was find the answer key for my booklet. Using my hyper-focused observational skills, I noticed that the fourth digit of 820463 is four, and the second digit is two. Following the advice of “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” I took a towel from my bag and sought the meaning of life (42). Sure enough, the 42nd word that the proctor read when giving the instructions for the exam was “electronics,” which starts with the letter “E.” The only possible correct answer to all 75 questions of Sections IA and IB was “E,” so I bubbled in my answers with confidence.

Section IIA was the written free response, composed of an e-mail and an argumentative essay. I watched as students around me rushed to respond to some fake e-mail prompt in 15 minutes. Fools! I knew how things really worked. I wrote the following e-mail:

Dear David Coleman,

Ik ur reading dis, wood be pog if u gave me five. Here is magic mushroom:


Cyeres Cursteejee (Future Chief Executive Officer of the College Board)

I drew the mushroom from Super Mario in the space I gave myself and slammed my booklet closed. The proctor put his argument with his speaker aside and gave me a concerned look. I grinned fiendishly.

When the 40-minute writing period for the argumentative essay commenced, I told myself inspirationally, “You are in The Spectator. That means you enjoy writing.” With a newly found drive, I put my pen to the paper.

When I woke up from my 40-minute nap, it was time to begin Section IIB, the speaking portion of the exam. I joined the line of students outside the classroom and began walking toward a computer room with headphones that looked straight out of the ’80s. The students had to attempt to speak over each other into a bulky mic all at the same time, a concept that was surely designed by a politician. I sat down next to my friend from AP Computer Science, Ovonel Lenovo, who caught me searching the file system of the computer in front of me. He interrogated me: “What are you doing?” I had to think quickly. “Hacking,” I replied. We paused for a moment, an awkward silence filling the air between us. “I don’t think you know what hacking is,” Ovonel responded. I chuckled. I had thought Ovonel was intelligent.

On the computer, I found the perfect file to upload to the Audacity program we were submitting. Inside the Downloads folder of the computer was a file called “rickroll.exe.” I knew that, in Spanish, “ll” is pronounced “y,” and the sound of “rickroy” while trilling your “R”s was too perfect, so I uploaded the file and took off my headphones. I listened happily to the roar of pained children trying to speak over each other into their microphones.

I now await my score on July 21 at 7:00 a.m.