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The right way to “ACT”

Every year, juniors at Shawano Community High School take the ACT for free all on the same test day. This year, the juniors will be taking it on March 3. With this in mind, juniors do have the opportunity to take the ACT before then on their own time.

Seniors Caitlin Daniel and JJ Pyatskowit have each taken the ACT several times and have learned a few things along the way.

“It was really nerve-wracking at first,” Daniel said. “Mostly because teachers, family and peers put a lot of pressure on you about it.  They made it seem like a huge thing, which it is for scholarships, but not as much to get into colleges.”

Everyone will have a different experience when they take the ACT, but a common theme is not knowing exactly what to expect.

“I thought it went pretty well,” Pyatskowit recalled. “I was never super bored, and none of the questions were too confusing.  You just have to read through them.” 

When juniors first take the ACT, most are no strangers to the concept. They have heard about the test from siblings and friends that have had the experience before them.

“All of the teachers say that it is really hard to get a perfect score unless you’re on it all the time,” junior Jillian Black stated. “A lot of the students say that they were falling asleep and didn’t really care.  So I was getting two conflicting messages.”

Before the test, students have several different opportunities they can utilize in order to prepare themselves for the test.

Black’s goal for the test.

“I haven’t taken classes or courses, but I have a couple of apps on my phone that help me with vocabulary,” Black said. “All of my classes last year, like math, we did practice problems, but this year I have a lot of senior classes.  So we’re not really covering the ACT in them anymore.” 

Although students have the ability to take courses and find other helpful activities, seniors have some advice to share. Since these are students around the same age, they will have a better understanding of how the test is actually run. 

“When you’re reading through paragraphs or diagrams, make sure you read closely,” Pyatskowit advised. “There will be things in there that you might miss that there are questions about. You can get really confused, especially on the science portion.”

Pyatskowit’s encouraging words.

Since Black has taken the ACT before, she plans on focusing more on other aspects of the test this time around since she knows what to expect. 

“My main issue is reading it well but quickly,” Black explained. “That’s going to be my focus this time, catching all of the details, but not taking too long.” 

Even if you don’t get the score that you hoped for, there is always something more you can do to prepare and take the test again.

“It does not define how smart you are,” Daniel encouraged. “It’s timed and most people are not good with timed tests, so it’s okay if you don’t do as well as you hoped.”

Good luck to everyone who will be taking the test in March and in the future!