Prepare for the future

Christian Scheffert, Writer

Students go through their school career focusing on good grades and their GPA, while also taking challenging classes to prepare for the future. For juniors, the future is coming quickly as an important test and dreaded acronym approaches- the ACT. This test is timed and broken into four different sections- English, Math, Science and Reading- with an optional writing section as well. The English portion tests standard English and rhetorical skills. Students are given 75 questions and 45 minutes to complete them. The second section of the test is for math. In this section, students will be tested on math skills from math courses taken in grades 9-11. Students have to complete 60 questions within a 60 minute time limit. In the next section, students are tested on their knowledge of science, with a focus on analysis, reasoning, evaluation and problem solving abilities taken from previous science courses. Students have 35 minutes to complete 40 questions on the science section. The last section of the test is a reading portion. This section tests the reading comprehension skills of the student. Similar to the science portion, students will be given 35 minutes to complete 40 questions. There is also an optional section to the ACT-the writing section. In this portion, students are given 30 minutes to complete an essay, organizing and explaining a prompt given to them in a typical essay form.

The outcome of this test can influence a student’s college experience by what school they attend and how much they will be paying to attend college. The ACT can be the difference between settling for a school or going to the dream school while saving some extra money. There are a lot of sources students can turn to in order to understand the type of material on the test. These sources include previous class books or notes. It is also helpful to look over topics that may have been forgotten. Doing this for math, especially, is a good idea. Students may look back on previous tests such as the EXPLORE and the PLAN tests, which were taken during the freshman and sophomore years of high school. These tests are somewhat of a practice ACT and help give a preview of the skills students need to know and help teach students how to use their test-taking time as best as they can.

If students need additional help with topics, students can extend their research to the internet and look up the in-depth areas that they need help in. Some of the best ACT prep books are The ACT Prep Black Book and Act 36. These books cover all topics on the ACT. If only focusing on certain sections, and not all of them, many companies sell individually sectioned books. So, if you are a junior approaching the ACT and are in need of some help, these resources could make the difference on the outcome of the ACT test results.