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Ace the ACT

a calendar with a test scheduled and circled in red

As your ACT test date looms closer, don’t panic– be prepared!

I am going to take a break from my usual theme about student life here at WSU to address something very important—how you get here! The first step is taking the ACT. This is the time of year when most juniors and seniors in High School are looking into taking the ACT so if this includes you, listen up because I am here to give you some reassurance and guidance.

No matter if you are good test-taker or less than… I think most people can agree that the test can be really intimidating and nerve-wracking.

Even though I am generally a pretty good test-taker, I remember being very nervous when I took the ACT. I had studied and taken practice tests but I still doubted that l could remember everything that could potentially be on that test. I also asked my sister, who as a senior in high school has taken the ACT much more recently, and she said that she was very anxious before the test.

She was mostly afraid of failing the test– because (gulp) this was for college (!)– and nervous about being late and forgetting her tickets. When she did arrive at the testing center, some people were cramming frantically while others like Laura where just waiting quietly. Before she knew it, she was lead down a long hallway into a big room and handed a packet of paper and the timer started ticking. The test went ok for her, but she said she spent too much time on each question and didn’t have time to double-check her answers. This was her biggest regret and she hopes to do much better next time.

Laura and I, with the help of the ACT website, compiled this list to help you to do well:

  • Review what you don’t know the most
  • Take practice tests
  • Take a guess—it doesn’t count against you in the scoring
  • Don’t spend too much time on individual questions
  • Try not to be nervous—find ways to calm down, you need to be focused not frantic
  • Remember your entrance ticket and extra pencils

Hopefully, these tips will help you be more prepared. Taking the ACT can be a very stressful event but you’ll likely have forgotten about it by the time you receive your scores in the mail or online, what with all the day-to-day priorities of homework, part-time jobs, sports. friends etc. Even if you don’t do as well as you hope to, just remember that you can always take the test again. The ACT is offered 6 times a year and most people do take it at least twice. I took the ACT twice (once in my junior year, and again as a senior) and my sister is planning her second attempt for February.

All I can say now is good luck!

–Liz Meinders

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