Juniors Gear up for the ACT

JUNIORS GEAR UP FOR THE ACT-- Junior Emily Miller works on a practice ACT

Madi Blackburn

JUNIORS GEAR UP FOR THE ACT-- Junior Emily Miller works on a practice ACT

Madi Blackburn, Staff Writer

Juniors all around the nation, as well as many underclassman, are preparing for the ACT. Central High School’s students are no exception, and the date circled in their calendars is Tuesday, March 20. The juniors will be taking a free ACT, something that has been provided for many years. This test can have serious ramifications in the future, which is a reality the juniors are feeling very keenly.

The ACT will take four hours, with a break in the middle of it.

“I am nervous and panicking, but I know it is a chance I must take advantage of,” admitted junior Zeena Whayeb.

The importance of the ACT is widely displayed, and all students know that it could either be the key to their future or the lock that bars the door.

“The ACT score received will determine which schools will take interest in a student as well as determine how much scholarship money the schools will be willing to give you. The continuation of my education rests upon the shoulders of the score I earn,” expressed junior Brittney Hoang.

The immense magnitude of the test piles the pressure on students.

“My stress level is over 9000! Many people see it [the ACT] as the test to decide your life. I am trying to be like, ‘hey, it’s all cool. I will give it the best I can,'” added Whayeb.

Not only does the ACT affect post-high school education, but it also determines the success of a student in high school.

“The ACT is a graduation requirement; everyone has to take it regardless of whether they are going to college,” explained school guidance counselor, Chelsea Long.

If students miss this free opportunity to take the test, then it is their responsibility to take it on their own time.

“Students that are absent and miss the ACT will have to go to ACT.org and sign up to take it on a weekend. If you get free or reduced lunch, you get two waivers to take the ACT for free during high school,” expounded Mrs. Long.

Because of the significance of the ACT, most students are approaching the test with some sort of strategy.

“My strategy depends on the subject. If it’s English, I speed through the majority of the passages and focus on the words around the question. For mathematics, I go through and spend the most time on content I know, and Christmas tree the questions I do not know as well as marking them. When I finish bubbling in an answer for every question, I go back to rework the problems that I’m confused on, from the least confusing to the most confusing. For reading, I skim the passages after reading the questions. And for science, I concentrate on understanding the graphs more than the passages and skim through the passages when I have no idea what I’m looking at,” Hoang shared.

Once students are finished with the ACT, one of the most anxiety inducing aspects is the delayed notification of the scores.

“The scores will take about six to eight weeks to get back. They send a bulk of scores at a time, so I won’t get them all at one time,” stated Mrs. Long.

Although the ACT is taxing on stress levels, both Whayeb and Hoang agree that it is somewhat of a necessary evil.

“The importance of ACT scores is understandable, because there is some credibility behind all these tests about your future success. I just prefer not to have my future decided by tests because of factors like test anxiety that affect many students’ performances,” articulated Whayeb.

While the test is important to gauge students’ abilities, skepticism remains.

“I understand well why colleges are so reliant on national test scores, such as the ACT and the SAT, because it provides a common ground for schools to compare and contrast students. The tests do not, however, take into consideration several factors that may affect a student’s score. For that I am slightly put off by how reliant schools are on test scores to determine the acceptance of a student, but so far there is not any better method of comparing students efficiently, considering the number of students applying to colleges in a year,” elaborated Hoang.

Overall, these tests are a major part of today’s schools systems, and regardless of how students feel about this emphasis, the best strategy would be to arrive in the morning, rested and ready to do their best.

“Get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast, preferably with some kind of protein,” advised Mrs. Long.

The first step is arriving to the test, and Mrs. Long implores juniors to arrive promptly in the morning.

“Everyone show up, please!” concluded Long.