Like any job, writing for educational testing companies comes with a set of rules. One such rule (for some companies I work for) is this one —
Do not write about snakes.
That’s right, snakes.
NO SNAKES — fictional, factual, or otherwise.
Can I write about a kid with a corn snake pet?
Can I write about the beneficial role that snakes play in limiting rodent populations?
Can I write about snakes in a house?
With a mouse?
On a plane?
In the rain?
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
Not on a plane.
Or in the rain.
You can’t put snakes in our exam,
You cannot, should not, Ma’am I Am!
Now, as a former psychologist, I completely understand that disturbing subjects should be excluded — it would certainly bias the test results if a kid freaks out.
But what about the kid with the fear of unicorns?
What about the kid who finds friendly talking animals to be, well, kind of creepy?
What if (gasp!) the test taker has testophobia?
Sorry chumps, snake phobias are the gold standard when we’re talking test taking compassion.
And so, after years of writing dutifully about anything and everything BUT snakes, well, I simply MUST write about snakes today. As in...
I feel much better.
In fact, I think I’m good for another 10 years of test writing.
PROMPT: Hmmm… what’s it gonna be today? Heck yeah!