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A Test Before Trying

"A Test Before Trying"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 24
Episode 10
Directed byChris Clements
Written byJoel H. Cohen
Production codeRABF03
Original air dateJanuary 13, 2013 (2013-01-13)
Guest appearance(s)

Valerie Harper as Proctor Perkins

Episode features
Chalkboard gag"I will obey Oscar Campaign Rules from now on"
Couch gagThe couch sequence is a trailer for an action movie called The Couch.
Episode chronology
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"Homer Goes to Prep School"
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"The Changing of the Guardian"
The Simpsons (season 24)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"A Test Before Trying" is the tenth episode of the 24th season of The Simpsons and the 518th episode overall. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 13, 2013.

The episode is dedicated to the memory of Huell Howser, who appeared in the episode "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?". This episode won the Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Writing in Animation at the 66th Writers Guild of America Awards.


A trio of proctors visit Springfield Elementary School, telling them that they must pass an upcoming standardised test or the school will shut down for having low scores. All of the students take the exam except for Bart, who spent all day playing with a beetle. They eventually fail, which causes the school to be shut down and the children to be sent to different schools. However, when Lisa learns that Bart did not take the exam, she urges him to take it, but he does not care. The following night, however, he changes his mind when he has a nightmare in which Springfield becomes the stupidest town in the country. Bart's test day arrives, but he is still not ready. As a result, he answers the first few questions with the same answer and does not fill in the last answer. However, the lead proctor mistakes the same beetle from earlier, who landed on one of the answer bubbles, for one of Bart's answers; she announces that he passed the test and the school reopens, despite a wrecking ball knocking into Skinner's office since Superintendent Chalmers assumed Bart would fail.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burns raises the price of electricity. As a result, Homer throws his domestic appliances in the dump, where he finds a parking meter that still functions. He decides to set it up at parking spaces around Springfield, moving to another as soon as someone pays. The scheme goes off without a hitch, until he finds out that Chief Wiggum is onto him. When Wiggum confronts him, he manages to escape in his car, but he accidentally crashes it and the parking meter flies out of the car and lands hard on the street, expiring soon after. When Marge discovers that he still has the money, she has Homer return the money to the community by throwing it down a wishing well.



This episode received a 2.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic and was watched by a total of 5.04 million viewers, making it the 2nd most watched show of that night.[1]

Critical reception

Robert David Sullivan of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B, saying, "If you're liberal, you can see the episode as a criticism of the 'test, test, test' strategy that is often offered as an alternative to better funding of public schools. If you're a conservative, you can laugh at the incompetence and jadedness of the public school administrators. Bart, no doubt, doesn't care what you do."[2]

Joel H. Cohen won the Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Writing in Animation at the 66th Writers Guild of America Awards for his script to this episode.[3]


  1. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda. "Sunday Final Ratings:'Family Guy' & 'The Mentalist' Adjusted Up; '60 Minutes', 'The Cleveland Show' & 'Happy Endings' Adjusted Down + Final Golden Globes Numbers". Zap2it. TV by the Numbers.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Robert David (January 14, 2013). "A Test Before Trying". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (1 February 2014). "'Captain Phillips,' 'Her' Win Top Screenplay Awards". Variety. Retrieved 23 February 2019.

External links