To prepare or not to prepare, ACT style

The ACT is a standardized test that is used for college admission, and preparing for the ACT can seem like a daunting task. Students debate if they should study or not. But even though studying is time consuming, five students thought it made a big impact or that it could have helped their score.

Junior Ryan Longenecker took the ACT last June and is planning on taking it again in February. Longenecker didn’t study when he took the test in June.

“I wanted to see how I would do without studying. But I got the ACT Prep Book, and I’m studying for the one in February,” Longenecker said.

Although Longenecker didn’t study last June, he is planning on taking the upcoming ACT in February and he is studying.

To prepare the night before Longenecker said, “You should get eight or nine hours of sleep, and the day before eat three good meals, and hydrate. Also, when you go into the test make sure to manage your time well. You have 45 minutes to answer 75 questions, so you need to figure out how to time manage.”

Senior Justine Pearson has taken the ACT three times and recommends studying.

She said, “I went from a 23 to a 28 after studying. I studied the second time I took the ACT. To study I read ‘The Real ACT Prep Guide’ and I had a tutor.”

To prepare the night before, Pearson recommends that a student should get plenty of sleep.

Another senior Mackenzie Rice took the ACT three times her junior year and also recommends studying.

“ You should study to practice the types of questions that will be on the test, it’ll get you more prepared. The first time I didn’t study, my parents told me to just walk in blind and take it to see how I would do. The next two times I took it I studied,” Rice said.

Rice also had a few tips for ACT test takers to remember.

“The night before you should get a lot of sleep. Eat a good breakfast the day of and drink a lot of water. Also, they don’t allow you to have phones or smart watches in the testing room and if anything goes off for a notification or something then you get kicked out, so just leave phones and smart watches in your car or at home," Rice said.

Junior Abigail Saathoff also recommends studying after she didn’t study the first time she took the ACT,

“I wish I would’ve studied, I just didn’t have time and I regret not studying,” she said.

Saathoff said her tips for the night before and the day of the test are,“Go to bed when your parents tell you to, don’t stay up late and drink coffee in the morning. Also, bring a snack because you’re sitting during break and you’re hungry and you need a snack.”

Shoaib Farooqui, a senior who has taken the ACT only once, commented on whether or not studying is beneficial.

“ I studied a little. I reviewed by taking practice tests from a Princeton review book from BAM. It was really good because anything I didn’t know there was a chapter about those certain problems. I missed a bunch of comma questions, and there was a section in the book about commas. I took it after algebra two and grammar writing so it was a good time to take it, everything was still fresh in my mind. I would definitely recommend studying. If you go into it blind it’s good to figure out where you’re at, but if you want to get a good score right away definitely study,” Farooqui said. “It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be. When I got there I wasn’t blindsided because I was prepared. If you go in there unprepared, it’ll be rough. Make sure the night before you get a lot of sleep, and you eat a big breakfast the morning of.”

Studying for the ACT may seem like a difficult task, but it can be beneficial to your score. All five students said that studying either helped them greatly, or that they wished that they would have studied. Preparing for the ACT is very helpful and is something every student should take the time to do.


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