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A Test Before Trying

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki
Season 24 Episode
517 "Homer Goes to Prep School"
"A Test Before Trying"
"The Changing of the Guardian" 519
"A Test Before Trying"
A Test Before Trying promo 3.jpg
Episode Information
Episode number: 518
Season number: S24 E10
Production code: RABF03
Original airdate: January 13, 2013
Title screen: A married Radioactive Man with Libby in his arms flies across the screen.
Billboard gag: Krusty: Live from rehab! 8PM
Chalkboard gag: I will obey Oscar® campaign rules from now on
Couch gag: The Couch: Don't Get Comfortable
Guest star(s): Valerie Harper as Jennifer Clarkeson
Showrunner: Al Jean
Written by: Joel H. Cohen
Directed by: Chris Clements

"A Test Before Trying" is the tenth episode of season 24 of The Simpsons and the five-hundred and eighteenth episode overall. It originally aired on January 13, 2013, The episode was written by Joel H. Cohen and directed by Chris Clements. It guest stars Valerie Harper as Jennifer Clarkeson.


"Mr. Burns hikes up electricity prices, leaving most of Springfield unable to afford to use it as much as before. Springfield's schools cannot afford to use it as much either, and they decide to test every single student, and whichever school has the lowest test scores will close. Springfield Elementary gets the lowest test scores, but Lisa discovers that one student did not take the test and the school's fate will rely on his test scores: Bart's to be precise. Meanwhile, Homer uses a parking meter he found at the dump to fleece unwitting parkers of their quarters."


Mr. Burns raises electricity prices by 17%. Several residents and businesses in Springfield have to start saving their power. The Simpson family is one, and they decide to throw away some of their household electrical items. Springfield Elementary School is also having problems after the increase in electricity prices, and it is decided that the students of Springfield's district must take a test, and the school with the worst results will be forced to close.

In town, Homer is in the dumpster containing the thrown out electrical items, where he finds an old parking meter that he brings home. Meanwhile, the students at Springfield Elementary doing their test, and after the test is finished, it is concluded that their school is the worst in the state. The students are preparing to be sent to other schools in the area, when Lisa finds out that Bart did not take the test. If he makes the test and passes it, he can raise the results and save the school.

Homer begins to skim the residents of Springfield on money using his parking meter. Meanwhile, Bart is studying for the test he will be doing the next day, but falls asleep and hasn't learned anything; he informs Seymour Skinner, who makes it so he gets an extra study day. Back at the Simpson house, Homer is watching the news where they report that the police are chasing the person responsible for a parking meter scam, and Homer realizes that the police are after him. That evening, Lisa notices that Bart is not studying, and she yells at him for being selfish. Bart falls asleep and dreams that the residents of Springfield are stupid and, after he wakes up, he asks Lisa for help. Lisa tells him to answer what he thinks first, and, if he cannot think of something, he should answer "B." Marge visits the Kwik-E-Mart while Jennifer Clarkeson is there and she talks to her about how important the school is for the children. Homer continues walking the streets with his parking meter, but gets caught by the police and accidentally destroys his parking meter. He goes home, where Marge discovers the coins he amassed, and she gets him to throw the money into a wishing well. Bart does the test, but does not have time to answer the last question, however, an insect sits on the right answer. When they check his test on the last question, Bart gets it correct, and passes the test, meaning the school does not have to close. Marge thanks the testing proctor for what she did, telling her that this was a "test of her humanity."


The music for the couch gag for this episode was left extremely late in production. On Thursday, January 10 (only 3 days before the episode was set to air), music editor Chris Ledesma was asked to come up with a new soundtrack for a new couch gag, which was replacing the current couch gag. Chris Ledesma had to start to score the music and get it ready for dubbing in only a few hours.[1]


The episode gathered 5.06 million viewers.[2]

"A Test Before Trying" won the 2014 Writers Guild of America award in Animation.[3]

International airdates[edit]

Country Date Channel Note
Hispanic America.gif Latin America May 26, 2013 Fox Latin America
800px-Flag of the United Kingdom.svg.png United Kingdom May 19, 2013; 6pm Sky1 Gathered 756,000 viewers
Spain flag.png Spain December 31, 2014 Antena 3

Promotional images[edit]


The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to "A Test Before Trying".
Season 24 Episodes
Moonshine River Treehouse of Horror XXIII Adventures in Baby-Getting Gone Abie Gone Penny-Wiseguys A Tree Grows in Springfield The Day the Earth Stood Cool To Cur, with Love Homer Goes to Prep School A Test Before Trying The Changing of the Guardian Love Is a Many-Splintered Thing Hardly Kirk-ing Gorgeous Grampa Black-Eyed, Please Dark Knight Court What Animated Women Want Pulpit Friction Whiskey Business The Fabulous Faker Boy The Saga of Carl Dangers on a Train