Three Ways to Optimize Your ACT Test Prep
Right up there with choosing a dorm fridge or walking across the stage for your high school diploma, an essential element of college preparation is practice ACT tests. The scores to your final ACT test determine a large part of your future. While high schools use them to improve their institutions and locate struggling students, colleges use them as a magnifying glass for individual students.
You have likely already heard of the necessity of the ACT, an acronym for American College Testing. Virtually every college-bound student knows the test is in his future. Preparing for it is a big part of preparing for college. Before you delve into the world of ACT test practice, there are two questions you need to ask:
How will colleges use my scores?
1. Admissions and Placement DecisionsMost colleges will only admit you as a student if you have a certain minimum score on your ACT test. This may vary slightly from school to school, but you will want your ACT test prep to be as thorough as possible to make sure you get into a college at all.
Not all college courses are created equally. Even if you know what first-year courses to take, there may be different levels within that course. A college will match your ACT scores along with a few other factors to the best course level placement. For instance, if you score particularly well in math on your ACT test, your first-year math course may be an advanced class rather than a regular class.
The ACT even affects extracurricular activities in college. Advisors may place students in positions where they can assist according to their strengths and skills. These strengths are often determined by the scores you receive on your ACT test. Someone with low math scores is not likely to be placed in the school office crunching numbers. Likewise, a high English score may afford you a position in a campus writing club.
2. Financial AssistanceThe cost of a college education is exorbitant, particularly if you want to get into a prestigious institution. Those offering scholarships or loans will peruse the ACT test results to determine which students get assistance. It is in their best interest to award financial help to those whose prior performance deems them worthy of a college education.
Even if you intend to work through college, school advisors will review ACT test results in order to match students to appropriate part-time employment. Your scores and other information on the test reveal a lot about you, and those directing your future will use them to their advantage. Just as the scores direct your extracurricular activities, they affect your college employment opportunities as well.
How can I get the best scores possible?
1. Plan and prepare ahead of timeChoosing the correct high school classes is an essential starting place. Make sure the classes you take in high school reflect what you want to do in college. Even if you are not certain about going to college, taking college preparation courses can only help you in the long run.
It is never too early in your high school career to begin planning for your ACT test. While it is not the primary focus of high school, it should be something to consider as early as your freshman year of high school. Along with your grades and other activities in which you participate, it forms the foundation for college preparation. As early as tenth grade, you can take a practice ACT test.
Smartphone app developers capitalize on younger students preparing for testing. Their goals are to make the process more fun or at least a little less boring. There are several apps available to help you prepare for your ACT practice tests. This method is much less formal than other options and allows you to get ready for the test while playing a game. What could be better than that?
When you are ready for something a bit more serious, you might want to consider an ACT prep test book. These cost a minimal amount, but they are an excellent way to prepare on your own time. You can purchase one way ahead of the test to make sure you have mastered the concepts in plenty of time.
2. Enroll in an ACT test prep courseIf you have a bit more to spend, you might consider taking a course to help you prepare for the ACT. There are a few free courses available, but the cost also extends up to $1,500 for some courses. Only you can determine how much the course is worth to you.
There are so many options with a test prep course. You can choose to take the class online, with a group or in self-paced study. Some of them will guarantee an improved score or give you your money back if you are not completely satisfied.
One course which comes highly recommended is through an online academic society called Acadsoc. They offer online classes and tutoring by teachers from schools such as Stanford and Harvard. If you want to invest a bit more in your scores in order to get a bigger return, this may be a great choice for you.
3. Take a practice ACT testAs early as tenth grade, you can begin taking practice tests such as the PLAN test. This is a critical part of the process and eliminates some of the surprises you may encounter on the final ACT.
As with other preparation options, practice tests can range from free to moderately expensive. Many choose to take an ACT practice test online. Just make sure you practice filling in circles as well as clicking a mouse!
With proper preparation, you can achieve excellent scores on your ACT test. The ways to study and tools available are varied. Whether you opt for an ACT online practice test or an old-fashioned test prep book, plan ahead to make your scores the best they can be.