Your guide to the ACT

More stories from Jandi Palmer

“I Have 3 ACT Scores For Glenn. You Go, Glenn Coco!”


The ACT test is a very stressful standardized test that will essentially determine the outcome of your future.  Luckily for us, the great students of LCHS, have some upcoming testing dates to look forward to.  The brilliant minds at the ACT headquarters, or whoever decides the test dates, have scheduled a testing date on the same day as Prom, and one on February 7.  Yes, this is in fact terrible, but there are ways to prep and make life easier!


Personally, what I have found to be the easiest form of studying for the ACT is reviewing my previous answers from past tests.  For just a low fee of about fifteen to twenty dollars, you can purchase your past answers and a booklet, and the nice men and women at the ACT headquarters will mail them to you as quick as possible.  This is helpful because then you can see what you really need to work on.  For a person that is more visual and wants to know more about why you got the first score that you got, then this is the best option for you.


However, if you have never taken the ACT before now, you obviously cannot study your past test because it is non existent.  So, the best way to study for the test would be to stock up on “ACT for Dummies”-esque books.  These books are very helpful on ANY form of standardized testing.  From the ASVAB to the SAT, reading a guide on your test will always be some what beneficial.  These books will basically breakdown the test in order to make it seem less like a monster manifested by government to torture children by taunting them with a single test to determine their future–but needn’t that be a problem if you prepare yourself.  If reading just is not your forte, try to ask some of your favorite teachers in each of the subjects tested (in the ACT’s case that would be science, reading comprehension, math, and english; there is also an optional portion of the test that is writing).  Teachers and guidance are at your disposal and are eager to help their students achieve his or her goals.


Make sure to go over all your current subjects in school.  The most difficult thing on a test is the aspects you did not study for.  Even if you are not in current classes such as Geometry, Algebra 2, or Pre-Calculus, it is beneficial to look over the content covered.  The ACT’s math portion of the test is mainly Geometry and Algebra 2.  The science portion, however, has been unanimously voiced as being the most difficult due to time constraints and other discrepancies.  Essentially all the science portion of the ACT is is being able to interpret graphs and charts and apply them to a question.  Now, this sounds simple in theory, but when you are stressed and under a time limitation, this is pretty difficult.  Also, though the science portion of the test says “science,” it is actually reading comprehension that has a main idea of “science.”  This means that your skills acquired in your past scientific classes basically will be useless on the science portion (now, granted, some things like the punnett square and such will be on there, but the bulk is interpretation and comprehension).  Doing the practice tests in books is the best way to prepare yourself for the science and reading portion.  To even further enhance the benefits of studying, it is highly recommended to study whilst listening to the compositions of Bach or Beethoven!


An important things to remember when you take the test is to bring your own calculator approved by the ACT, be aware of your time to take each section, and breathe.  Though standardize tests can be scary, don’t allow them to ruin your future by stressing over test scores.  Remember that you can take it as many times as you want, and point improvement is definitely possible.  Please, people, do not forget a calculator!  The school or testing facility that you will be attending will not, I repeat, not supply you with a calculator.  Also, if you are an anxiety prone student around other individuals that you know, you could simply attend a different school location.  All in all, if you remember everything you are suppose to, and you prep a little, then your scores and you will turn out just darling.


All in all, the test is a mental bear.  If you can mentally get over the fact that it is an important standardized test, then you will do great things.  Study, relax, get a good night’s rest, and come prepared to make a high score!  If ever you are to become discouraged by any means, always remind yourself that this is a test that I can retake it.