As its students filed into the auditorium at ten o'clock, the HSK gazed at them through bleary eyes, wondering what hope it had for an early retreat back to bed. It had been a rough night. What had started as a few drinks at Sanlitun quickly veered off-course when the TOEFL showed up with its band of groupies. Linguistic one-upmanship escalated the drinking, and led the party to a disco south of Workers Stadium where they hooked up with the IELTS and Spanish STS and things got seriously out of hand.

By four in the morning an entire league of standardized tests had somehow descended on Maggies where the party continued until six in the morning. The TOEFL commandeered the disco box and laid on a heavy rotation of Irish punk as the Spanish and Dutch tests picked fights at the bar. The HSK could vaguely remember chasing tequila shots with Oliver Stone. Considering the carnage through the prism of its unearthly headache, the test was seriously tempted just to give everyone perfect and head home.