The importance of the ACT and how to get a better score.
Being a highschool student, chances are you’ve heard somebody stress the importance of the ACT. But what is the ACT and why is it so important? That just what I reached out to Anneli Bryd at the Weber State Student Success Center to find out.
“The ACT is one indicator of future academic success,” said Anneli Bryd, Counselor at Weber State University Success Center. “A high score on the test shows the university that the student is able to succeed academically. The student knows how to perform under the pressure of a test and is likely to have taken AP and honors classes. This student is also likely to have good study habits and is probably already proficient in English and Math. This saves the university money because then the university doesn’t have to offer as many basic classes. Also a student with a very high score was probably a motivated student in high school, which means they are more likely to be motivated and finish their college degree.”
The ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. The purpose of the ACT test is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants.
“The ACT is important because it opens opportunities for students after high school,” said Bryd. “Many colleges have entrance requirements and if the ACT score isn’t high enough then the student might not have as many choices. But, most scholarships are based on a combination of the high school gpa and ACT score. Lastly, whether you love tests or hate them, they are a fact of life. It’s worth learning how to do well on them. A good ACT score at least shows that you know how to take a test which is important thing in college.”
The test is important for your after high school, college future. What are some ways to assure that students can feel fairly confident about this overwhelming test? Fremont offers an ACT prep flex period available to sign up for, as well as other study groups.
“I would definitely recommend taking the ACT seriously,” said Madalyn Degarlais, senior. “I didn’t really take it serious the first time I took it and my score reflected that. The more you get yourself familiar with the subjects and types of problems the better off you’ll be. If I had any wisdom for someone who’s never taken it, I would say three things; go with your gut, read all the answers before you start the problem/question, and if you don’t know the answer pick a lucky number because you have at least a shot of getting it right.”
There are endless online study guides that closely follow the test content, as well as ACT practice tests. It’s not only important to study the subjects on the test (like math and english), but also to become familiar and comfortable with the unique test format.
“There are a lot of things you can do to prepare for the ACT test,” said Byrd. “I would suggest reading one of the ACT prep books. You can usually check out recently past year’s issues from the library for free. Part of doing well on the ACT is just knowing what kinds of questions will be asked and what kind of answers they’re looking for. The books will also give tips like what to do if you don’t know the answer (is it better to guess or to skip the question?). Knowing that kind of thing can make a HUGE difference. If at all possible, take the test a couple of times. First, because then you’ll know what to expect and second because it takes some of the pressure off–if you don’t do as well the first time it’s ok because you can try again.”
As for some overall advice for the ACT, getting enough sleep is a big one. It might sound cheesy, but you’ll feel a lot more prepared and awake on test day if you get a solid amount of shut-eye the night before the test. Heading into test day feeling sleepy and exhausted can dramatically affect your ability to focus and potentially lower your score. So get to bed early! In addition to the getting sleep, it’s equally important to eat a healthy, satisfying breakfast before you take the ACT. This way you’ll feel more awake and energized before taking the test.