I’ve done many preposterous things to get into college. “Take PE,” they said, and I did. “Analyze the author’s nonexistent intentions,” they said, and I did. “Forgo the internet,” they said, and I (kind of) did. I told my conscience not to worry, that one day, we’d become professional Costco sample tasters. But for now, we’d have to listen to them and dance to their academic tunes. The imitation crab would have to wait.

And then they asked me to memorize SAT words.

It’s not that words aren’t important. Words are the reason I’m able to sit here ranting about the SAT. But while going through the Gruber’s list of 3,000 SAT-prone words, I realized that there are an infuriating number of synonyms for literally every word and phrase. Avuncular, meaning uncle-like, is a word that simply does not need to exist. So is erinaceous, which means like a hedgehog. Must my chances of getting into the college of my dreams depend on the ability to compare something to a keratin-spined mammal?

Thank goodness for the process of elimination. Usually it works out pretty well while you’re rushing on the SAT. Once in a while, however, you get a list of highly-synonymous words and sit there with a slowly numbing face, thinking your chances of college have come down to whether the answer is A or B. What exactly do you do when you have to choose between incoherent and unintelligible? You do nothing, for you are rendered both incoherent and unintelligible by the fact that you must choose between the two words instead of choosing between gouda-apple sausage and Italian sausage samples at Costco.

There’s not much we can do to escape the SAT. Just try incorporating SAT words into your everyday life, and you should be a bit more prepared. For example, instead of mournfully yelling, “Why does my life suck?” try out, “Why does my élan degenerate?” You’ll impress all your friends AND beat the SAT!