There is no better time to begin studying for the ACT than during the summer break. While many high school students enjoy the time out of the classroom, summer offers a vast amount of time to set aside for college prep. Taking a college entrance exam is crucial to gain admittance, and being prepared to take the ACT can assure a better chance of your child getting into a school of his or her choice.
ACT origins. The ACT is widely used in the heartland of America and the southern states. It has gained popularity, and the ACT is now accepted at any college that takes the SAT entrance exam. However, don’t be misled; parents should be aware that the exam is just as demanding and provoking as the SAT. Your child will be required to use the skills they learned in school to answer questions and put in their best effort.
ACT: Prep for success. The ACT is broken into four different sections that include math, English, reading and science reasoning. What sets the ACT apart from other college entrance exams is the format of the test, and the fact that the scoring system is based on a total of 36 total points. The test is geared towards mathematics, with more of a straight-forward structure than the SAT. It also includes questions based on science content assimilated during school. Another key difference in the ACT is that your child may skip a question if they are truly stumped and not be penalized.
The reading section tests your child’s ability to understand what is directly being stated, and the ability to grasp statements with implied meanings. He or she will be asked to read several passages, and use referring and reasoning skills to determine main ideas. Students must also identify the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases and statements. Each passage is accompanied with a set of multiple-choice test questions.
Know Test Time Limits: Each section of the exam has a time frame: the English section is 45 minutes, math has a limit of an hour, and both science reasoning and reading are 35 minutes each. Students should be aware of the time limits so they can budget their time while taking the exam and not get too hung up on a single question.
Don’t forget a calculator. Students may bring an approved calculator, a number two pencil and a watch to the test. A watch is helpful as some test rooms do not have clocks, and cellphones are not allowed in testing centers.
During the test. Instruct your student to start with the easy questions first. Time is valuable and getting hung up on a tough problem can waste critical time. He or she should have two erasers on hand to fully remove pencil marks from the answer sheet, since tests are graded by a machine and any leftover smudges could cause a grading error.
The ACT also includes an optional writing task. For students planning on completing the writing portion of the exam, taking a few minutes to create a quick outline can help them organize their ideas prior to beginning the assignment. It will make the actual writing go more smoothly and will help ensure the end result is clear and concise.