The ACT is an entrance exam used by colleges and universities to make decisions on which students get admitted, according to The Princeton Review. It is a multiple choice test administered by the ACT, Inc. The test is graded on four subjects: English, Math, Reading, Science, and an optional writing section. All the raw scores are converted to a number between 1 and 36 for each area which then averages out to give a final score. The price of the test without the optional writing section is $50 and with the writing it is $67.
There are seventeen states that require students to take the ACT, and they pay for one test for each junior in the state. The states that have made the ACT mandatory claim it is for helping high school students be better prepared for college applications according to prepscholar. Schools that require every student to take the ACT tend to have a lower average, but not by much. Utah’s average ACT score is 20.3 compared to the national average of 21.
Colt Roundup interviewed Cottonwood’s principal, Mrs. Roylance, and learned some more information about the ACT test that will be taken this school year at Cottonwood. She said that this is the first year students will be taking the ACT on Chromebooks versus the normal pencil/paper test administered. She listed some advantages as “many students report they are able to write better on a computer vs paper/pencil, many students struggle with bubble sheets, and it’s simpler to administer.” When asked about the disadvantages, her only response was “if the internet is spotty, we are in big trouble.”
Cottonwood High School is the second high school to convert to taking the ACT on computers. The first being Hunter High School, which according to Mrs. Roylance, they love it. She also said that the school has had Cottonwood’s network engineer and school technology specialist working very hard to make sure everything will be running smooth for the test.
Colt Roundup also interviewed junior, Kristen Tang, who has not taken the ACT yet, about her feelings on these new developments. She thinks Cottonwood should have taken a chunk of juniors who have already taken the test and made them do it on Chromebooks because “there’s going to be problems… our wifi is terrible.” Tang was already nervous to take the test and felt worried that she wouldn’t be prepared when the time comes. She is going to look into ACT classes and buy a prep book to help her study.
Megan Myres, Cottonwood High School student, has already taken the ACT and plans to retake it on February 20 to improve her score. She told Colt Roundup that her first experience with the test went well and she felt really prepared for it. Myres took a week long ACT camp at BYU over the summer and studied on her own using online programs before taking the test. She says the hardest part for her was the science section because it’s data analysis and interpretation with a short amount of time. Myres also gave some advice to future test takers, saying, “just study a lot… pacing is really important on the ACT. Sometimes I get caught up in the timing and that’s when I don’t do as well.” She also said her advice to her past self would be that if she could go back in time she would pay more attention in previous classes, especially science.
Cottonwood’s juniors will be taking the ACT on February 20, 2019. According to Roylance, the school day will consist of the eleventh grade students getting a “hearty” breakfast of Chick-fil-a burritos before the test, and during the test there will be two snack breaks. There will be no Cottonwood classes on the test day and once the juniors finish the test, teachers will be able to help any students for an hour before the normal bell rings at 2:10. GTI buses will continue on their normal schedule, so anybody who has classes there will still need to attend and will not be excused by Cottonwood.
There are a multitude of websites available to help students prepare for the ACT. On the ACT website they have multiple resources available for practice tests and preparation ideas. Cottonwood staff also recommends SHMOOP and march2sccess.com to aid students in getting the best score they can for the ACT test.