Taking the ACT
CollegeAdvisor.com presents Taking the ACT as part of its Testing Series in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on the ACT. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-06-16 Taking the ACT
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Taking the ACT. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Hi everyone. My name is fresh, me and I just graduated from Vanderbilt university. Um, I majored in public policy studies, minored in neuroscience and I was on the pre-med track and I’m going to be going to med school in the fall.
So I know we’re all here to learn more about the ACT. And probably before I get started, I should talk a little bit more about my experience with the ACT. It was like the main tests that I took, um, for my sunrise testing or getting into college. And, um, after that, Been a couple of years, [00:01:00] freelance tutoring people and ACT.
And so I definitely have experienced, um, in that side of things as well. Um, but with all that information sorted out of the way, I’m excited to kind of walk you through some of the basics right now. So I’m sure you’re aware, but, um, the ACT. Is one of two main college entrance, like standardized exams. So the SAT is the other one.
Um, and the scoring range for the ACT is between one and 36. Um, one being like the lower end of the range and 36 being the higher end of the range. Um, you will get like one a score wanted 36 for each of the four sections. And that will be average to get your composite score, which is usually what is reported to colleges.
I mean, All the information is reported to colleges, but that’s usually the one that people care about the most. Um, and then there are four big sections and they’re all required and they’re all multiple choice. Um, there’s the English section, which is [00:02:00] 45 minutes, 75 questions. Math 60 minutes, 60 questions, reading and science, which are both 35 minutes and 40 questions.
And if you choose to, you can take the, um, ACT with the writing section. Um, and that’s typically optional. It really does depend on the school, but I imagine a lot of schools nowadays are not requiring the writing section. That’s something to keep in mind, but the writing would be 40 minutes long and you have one prompt to respond.
So, this is just like some of the basics, just to make sure we’re all on the same page about like what the Actualbasics of ACT. Okay. So when should you start thinking about taking the ACT? Well, I think like, no matter what stage you’re at, but especially if you are a freshman, a sophomore, it’s just important.
Make sure you know what these exams are. So oftentimes, um, just depending on like the region or the school, um, they might be pushing like one, like standardized test [00:03:00] over the other, or you just might be familiar with one over the other, but just important to know all your options. And I often find that a lot of students don’t know about the ACT as much as they know about that ACT.
And so it’s just important to make sure you know, that they’re both options out there and what they kind of entail. And the. You just like learn to learn more about it. The best way to do that is to take a practice exam because they have all the instructions they have, like the timings have all the sections.
And so it just be a good, like way for you to kind of orient yourself and get yourself used to the exam and practice tests are available online for free, but there are also those like guidebooks that you can purchase at your local bookstore, um, that would at least offer you some kind of resource. So you can practice.
Um, and then I kind of seem like your sophomore year, um, kind of to take another practice exam, kind of see like where you’re at and it’s totally fine if you’re like not doing too hot or you’re scoring in the teens or like [00:04:00] lower twenties, like that’s totally fine. It does take time to, um, you know, build up the stamina for the exam and like boat up your score.
And so I really wouldn’t worry too much about your score, your freshmen and at least your beginning of sophomore year, but yeah. What’s really do start spending some time during your sophomore year. This always studying, maybe doing practice questions. I’m learning more about the content of the exam. So you can maybe take it for real by the end of your sophomore year or at least in the beginning of your junior year.
Okay. So. Yeah. So when, like when do students use, we take the tests for the first time. So honestly, most students take it at the end of their junior year. Um, and like, Yeah, that makes sense. I understand why, because usually you would have covered a lot of the like math concepts and, um, like the English, like grammar that you need to know for like the English section.
A lot of those [00:05:00] concepts would have already be like, would be covered by that time in high school. Um, so. At that point, you really don’t really have to study too much to just take the exam and kind of see where you’re at. Um, and that’s what most students do. And then they end up retaking their exam during the fall semester of their senior year.
But there are a couple of, I guess, um, nuances to be aware of it. Um, in case you were thinking about taking that path. Um, like during your senior year, you’re going to be applying to college. They’re going to be a lot of applications to worry about or to essays to write. And so you’re going to be busy doing a lot of other things outside of your classes.
So you don’t want to be worrying about taking your ACT, um, during that time and studying for it as well. And so you like, it might be a good idea to not make sure that’s not your first or second time taking the exam, your, um, fall semester. You’ve seen it. And so what I would like suggest or recommend that you [00:06:00] do is try to spend that summer between your sophomore and junior year studying for the ACT, and then trying to take the ACT throughout your junior year until you get the score that you want.
And ideally, and I do get that. COVID definitely put a wrench in a lot of this, um, try to finish taking your exam by the end of your junior year. But yes, once again, I do understand it’s been difficult to even schedule like these tasks at this point of time. So you might find yourself taking it into your senior year, but in an ideal world, this would be what I would recommend students to do.
Okay. So, how do you prepare for the ACT? And that’s probably like the biggest question students are here for it today. And I think the main one is to really simulate testing conditions to the best of your ability. So usually the test day is on a SAT urday morning at. And it will last three and a half to four hours.
So what you should be doing is [00:07:00] getting a practiceexam, ready to take at eight in the morning and Actuallylike kind of walking through the sections like you would on the test day, you should also make sure you’re not spending your breaks. Like you shouldn’t using your phone because you’re not going to have access to your phone during breaks.
And like, you should also make sure you’re not spending too much time on your breaks. Do you want to do get 10 minutes? And so you really just want assembly testing conditions to the best of your bills. So that would be like the main thing, because then by the time, um, you would get to test it. You would have already taken the practice exams a couple of times, um, with like the real date settings.
And so when you go take it on that weekend, it won’t feel like, like, like, I mean, of course you’re going to have nervous. I, I know, I can say that you don’t have nervous, but I understand that on testing nerves always happening. But it might feel more like a practice exam than like the real exam. And you might feel just a little bit more comfort after doing that.
Um, and then during the official ACT practice exams. [00:08:00] So I know that there’s like Kaplan, barons, um, principal review. I know there’s so many, um, guides out there, um, on how to take standardized tasks, how to take the ACP, but nothing can replace the official ACT practices. Because none of these other organizations, their tests were not written by the people who write the tests that you’re going to be taking a test.
It, the official ACT practice exams. So those were, um, ACT exams that were previously administered. And so you’re going to be taking like a, like an exam that really simulates the kind of questions, uh, the level of difficulty and all that. Um, if you take the official ACT practices, Honestly, a lot of this information is available online for free.
Um, there is a couple of websites. I don’t remember them off the top of my head, but I do like when I used to tutor students, um, on, on side, I would definitely just find these free resources. Um, these official SAT practice exams [00:09:00] and that those would be the resources that we use. Like we wouldn’t use, um, barons or Princeton reviews or whatever the other.
Resources are, um, and then taking the time to carefully review a practiceto us. So aside from Actually taking the official practices, exams and simulating the tests, conditionings, this is probably the biggest thing, because you can take the exam, you can get a score back, but if you’re not reviewing your mistakes, you’re not learning anything from it.
So, so, so important to spend some time with the exam after you take it, you don’t have to do it like the day that you take it. I can definitely take a break then maybe spend that next week going through each question carefully. Um, if you guessed, why did you guess, um, maybe make sure you understand what each, um, answer choices asking.
Um, and then. If you the question wrong, like what skill are they really trying to test on? Like in the English section? Are they testing on your knowledge or commas or [00:10:00] your knowledge is semi-colons, are they testing on, um, like parallelism? I really like just coming up with things off the top of my head, but like when you take the time to really review the tests and kind of figuring out what exactly they’re testing for, because they, CT tests is a pattern.
If you learn to. I understand the patterns, the kind of questions that will pop up on every exam you’ll know and understand how the test, um, writers think and how they come up with their questions. And so if you take that time to really figure out like what content is messing you up, or even like, if timing is messing you up, um, that’s going to be the best way to learn and then improve.
And then by the next time you take your practice again, you would just repeat that cycle until you get to test. So, yeah.
Okay. So what is it like taking the ACT? So I kind of made a little, um, [00:11:00] schedule of what it was like for me when I went in, took the exam. So, um, I remember my like, Well, I’m a little bit of an anxious person, so I can be early for like my test days. And so yes, I would get there at seven 30, even though I know the test doesn’t start until eight, but you know, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to feel a little bit more comfort.
Um, and so I would just arrive at the testing center and it’s usually like a nearby high school or college. Um, and so like, I remember like mine being. It’s like 10 minutes away from my house. And so I’d practice driving there beforehand. And like, I just made sure I knew where it was before the Actual test day, just to make sure I felt more comfortable on test today.
Um, and then I also double check the night before to make sure I had like my little ID, um, the paper with the registration, my pencils, a working graphing calculator, but the batteries, all that fun stuff. Just to make sure once again, those nerves just feel a little [00:12:00] less on the Actualday of the exam. Um, and then like by like 7 45, 7 50, they’ll let you go to your testing room.
You can really do a quick bathroom break, all that kind of fun stuff. You’ll meet your Proctor. And then you kind of like start the exam at eight and then. Kind of walked through the sections. Um, you do get a little break in the middle and that’s usually like 10 minutes long. So definitely things, a snack, um, or anything like that to kind of hold you over.
And then you will probably be done with the, just like the ACT without the writing section around 1130. Um, but if you do choose to take the writing section, you’ll be probably be done around 12. Um, and so it is like, oh, long day. So definitely, you know, doing stimulating tests, they conditions in the past when you’re taking a practice exams, but make sure you can get through this long day, this four hour stretch.
Um, so yeah, but yeah, I, I felt like you guys can read this. I don’t really need to walk through every single bullet [00:13:00] point.
okay. So we have pull-out uh, if people would like to answer and those answers should be coming in shortly, looks like a lot of people here are planning on taking the ACT, which makes sense. Um, several are also planning on taking the SAT s. Uh, and the AP tests. Okay.
So looks like the answers are starting to, even out. We have nine people planning on taking the PSA T or 10 people planning on taking the PSA T 35 planning on taking the ACT 24 planning on taking the essay. 16 planning on taking [00:14:00] AP tests to planning on taking IB tests and one planning on taking another.
Okay, I’m going to close out this poll and we can move on.
awesome. And yeah, that’s totally fine to be taking both the SAT and the ACT. I think it’s important to do because you kind of need to figure out which exam is better for you. Even on reveal tested. I Actuallydid the same. I took both the SAT and ACT and I ended up figuring out that ACT was definitely more my cup of tea.
And I think that kind of transitions well into me talking more about. I take the CT and my journey to getting the score that I got. So my freshman year, um, much to my mother’s worry and my mother’s, um, you know, Interests. She signed me up for a practiceexam of my local library. She really wanted me to take that.
And so I went to my local library at eight in the morning on a SAT urday, and I took a practice[00:15:00] exam that was administered by like some company. And I don’t remember the Actualscore I got, but I do know that it was. Like a 23, I, or like something in that range, like 23 to 26, something like that. Um, and I had never taken the ACT before.
Um, like, I don’t know if this is like still exists now, but like back in like seventh grade, sometimes they like let students take the standardized tests. And during that time I took the SAT . So like, this is really like my first initiation to ACT. I didn’t know much about it otherwise until I took that at practices.
And then my sophomore year, um, my mom signed me up again. Um, she’s just like, you got to go take this to, we gotta make sure you’re thinking about this and getting prepared. And so I went again to the same local library and I took the practicesand this was like free, which was awesome. And so maybe your local library.
Um, you know, with Astrix, COVID [00:16:00] bossy hopefully, but maybe your local library offers these kinds of free practiceshands. That might be something worth checking out. Um, but that was pretty much where I did my freshman and sophomore year. I didn’t really think much about it. Um, I knew that there was something I would do, like later on.
I didn’t want to like stress myself out too much about it, but I did. Like a kind of what to what I recommended I did spend my junior year Actuallystudying for the exam and taking the exam prior to like the spring semester of my junior year. Once again, my mom, she wanted me to do well on this exam. Um, and she signed me up for this group course.
Oh, well go tutoring agency. I know that’s not something that everyone does gets access to. And I definitely was very lucky to be able to do that. Um, but like, I don’t think it, I mean, I guess with my score, I, it, my seem like it really helped, but because I didn’t get like that one-on-one attention, I’m not really sure.
If I was able [00:17:00] to really hone in on what I was struggling with, which was reading. Um, so like my lowest score was always inbreeding. So while I, I mean, my composite score is at 33. Like I like my lowest score would always be in reading. Um, and that’s just something I can never finish. I really struggled with endurance for that section.
And so like a group courses are great, but sometimes they really can’t supplement that one-on-one attention. Um, but yeah. That is, you know, beside the point. Um, but yeah, I got a composite score. 33. Yes. I was very happy with the score, but I still wanted to try and see if I can maybe bring it up even more.
Um, and so my spring semester, my junior. My high school offered the ACT for free to all juniors in March. And so I took it there and I got a 33 again, and then I took it again in may and I got up 33 again, and I was just like, oh, okay. Um, I mean, once again, really can’t complain. It’s a great score, but I was just like, really?
Why do I get it? [00:18:00] 33, 3 times. That was really frustrating. Um, but I really did focus on drawing, reading. Um, so like for me, it was really important to learn how to read faster. I’m a very slow reader. And so I really did have to just spend time reading a lot of sections and honestly, um, you’ll come to realize that not every, like question requires you having read, um, the whole.
Like reading, like the whole passage. And so I going through those questions first, making sure you get those questions out of the way, and then kind of going back when they’re like, what’s the summary of the passage. Like I kind of have to like teach myself some tips and tricks that work for me. Second to bring up my reading skills.
And then eventually fall semester. My senior year, I took the test in September. I know I said I don’t take the test in the fall semester of your senior year. Um, yeah, I was stressed when I was taking this. Like, [00:19:00] I don’t think I did a great job timing it because like, once again, I was just like, yeah, I’ll take it over.
Be fine. Um, but I really do mean like, don’t be taking it in like October or December, because by that time. You would’ve applied to some schools and you need your test scores back to apply to these schools. Right. It’s like taking your exam and like October and December, it might be too late. And of course, like with COVID, there might be some flexibility there.
That’s just something to think about. And like I mentioned, I’m pretty anxious person. What are really stressed me out. Um, but yeah, I ended up with a composite score of at 34. Um, and then with all of the tests sections and doing like a super score. So that’s like the highest score I beat suction across all four times I took the exams.
I had a super score, but 35. So yes, it was awesome. I was really happy with my score is great. Um, and like ultimately, um, it did serve me lost. Yeah, but of course you don’t need to get a [00:20:00] 34 or 35 or even 33 to be successful and get into selective colleges or anything like that. Um, so that’s just something to really like, keep in mind.
I know, like I’m speaking and I’m like, oh God, at 34. And yes, I go to Vanderbilt, but like that’s I had to know so many friends who got below thirties and they’re still in the same class as I was. So just something to keep in mind. Um, as she goes through the testing process, um, and I think it leads well into, um, oh, well, I’ll get to a silent or on more about that, but, um, what can you do if you’re not very happy with your first score?
So I talked a little bit about what I did cause like reading was the thing that was tripping me up. But when I like work with my students use Rick’s some of the things that I like to do with them. So we take like a slightly modified practice exams. So what that means is, um, Like honestly, yeah. We can like sit down and take it for real and put yourself with those time constraints.
[00:21:00] But if we put in those time constraints, um, when we’re trying to diagnose what those issues are, we might not realize like the main issues, because maybe you’re guessing for like the last 10 questions, but if you had more time, you would’ve gotten them. Right. And so then, um, what might seem like a content, like what might seem like content.
Issue is Actuallya masking, a timing issue. And so what I like to do with students. Sit down time yourself, take the exam. Um, but don’t like worry too much about like the time restriction. Cause I want to see whether it is a timing issue or a content issue. And then also taking the time to mark. Um, like if you’re guessing on a question, like if you’re not 100% sure about the answer for your question, like make them.
And then that way, when you’re going back reviewing the exam, you’re not just reviewing questions that you got wrong, but you’re also reviewing questions that you weren’t 100% sure about and making sure you’re spending time to understand how to get to being that level of 100%. So that’s [00:22:00] kind of what I mean by like a slot, slightly modified practices.
Yeah. Um, and then diagnosing their weaknesses. So that kind of like goes hand in hand with that slightly modified practices, diem. Um, it’s really important to figure out if timing, content. Or like, even like a particular section is your issue because timing, the only way to improve that is to do a lot of practicesections.
Content is the only way to improve that is to really draw that content issue and make sure you understand, like the nuances and intricacies of that content issue. Like with English there, it’s mostly like grammar. And so like making sure you understand. Maybe subject verb agreement or commas or whatever.
And then like, if it’s a particular section, like I said, for me, it was reading, but like for past students, like it might be science. And so like just spending time with that, like section and really, you know, devoting your time and effort to that can really help you, um, like improve upon that section. [00:23:00] Um, and then focusing on prACTicing those issues.
That’s something I just said. And. When you’re taking your practicetests, go back and categorize questions. So I kind of mentioned this earlier on, but really like the ACT they kind of have, they draw from the same bucket of questions. They’re not going to like throw in a random calculus question into the math section.
Cause they’re never going to test you on that. Like, they’re going to always ask something about like area, something about triangles, maybe one trade question they’re always going to do. Every single exam. And so when you learn to understand what they’re always going to test on you and pick up those patterns and categorize the questions that way you will know that, okay, maybe I’m struggling with tray questions, so then go seek those kinds of questions and practicethem.
And so that’s why it’s really important to really categorize the questions and kind of understand what kind of questions do you keep on missing? And then don’t schedule your exams to go see other well. So like, for [00:24:00] example, I think like in, um, like the spring semester, they usually have an exam on like January, February, March, April, may you get the point?
They have one every month, but you only get your score back, like after two weeks. So if you go to schedule the exam for January and February, we only have two weeks to practiceand study for the next exam. That’s not really enough time. Um, especially if you have some really deep content or timing issues to get better at that section and to really work on your weaknesses.
And so if you space your exams a little bit more, you’ll have more time and you’ll be able to do much better on that attempt because you don’t want to be taking the exam just for the sake of that. You really want to be feeling prepared when you take the exam the next time around. So those are just some quick tips and tricks.
Um, Okay. And then how does the CT fACTor into your overall application? So at the end of the day ACT scores, [00:25:00] just a number. I I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you that, but it really can not communicate your story. Um, so like, yeah, you know, my ACT score now, but you kind of don’t know anything else about me.
Like, you don’t know that I’m a dancer. Um, you don’t know too much about my interest in pre-med. You really don’t know what else I did in high school. And all of that really shapes who I am. And I even like my family life, like. It’s very pivotal to my story. I’m not just, um, 34 ACT or 35 super score. And so if you keep that in mind, you’ll grow.
Hopefully, and I know it’s kind of hard to say after I’ve gone through college and I’ve already gone through the college admissions process. I understand that like when you’re sitting there, that number feels like such a big deal, but at the end of the day, like it can only communicate so much and it won’t really communicate really who you are.
And then the thing to keep in mind is like a lot of schools have like moved into holistic admissions. So they really do care about that full [00:26:00] picture, that full story. And so the test score doesn’t have that same kind of weight as it once did decades ago. And so that’s just something to keep in mind. And then the last, well, not lastly, but let the rise of the institutions choosing tests, optional I’m feeling.
And I’m going to throw out a number like maybe like 70% of schools have chosen to do tests option with this year. It gets more than half for sure. And so like with that in mind, you can see how like, testing is growing less and less important in the eyes of like college admissions advisors and the people who are going to be reading your application.
And so with all that, like, Yes. It’s important. Yes. It’s something that you may have to do, but it also seems like they’re kind of getting, going towards the way of getting rid of it altogether. But as of right now, it might be something that you have to do, but it’s not necessarily going to make your application.
Like, it’s not going to be like, oh, like I got a [00:27:00] 30 and then this person got 36. Okay. Like I’m going to choose the person who got it. 36 over the one who got it 30 at some point. Your test score. Like they all mean the same thing. And maybe the person who got a 30, like had a much more compelling story, or maybe like how to really cool ward that the person got at 36 student.
So like at the end of the day, I don’t necessarily think is going to make an application, but it can break an obligation. Because if you’re not able to pass the exam, the exam is considered an understand, like a kind of like assessment of whether or not you’re ready for college courses. So I think like the passing score is like late teens, early twenties.
So if you find yourself like struggling with trying to pass the exam, that might be a red flag for, um, for college admissions advisors, just because it’s considered an assessment. I don’t know how Jeff did, but it is considering us assessment of how ready you are for college. [00:28:00] And so my break and application, but it’s probably not going to make an application.
And that’s just my opinion. I feel like a lot of people would definitely have a different answer for this. Um, but of course, like, Like, of course you have to take it. Um, and at this point you might not have to take it, but it’s not gonna like be the whole defining fACTor of your application is the most the thing I want to stress from us.
Okay. So then how did the test scores play a role in my application? So I do think that it helped me get my foot in the door, more selective institutions. So like at some point you’re like, I maybe like after like 28 ACT, I don’t know if every school is going to be a little different that some point like your score, isn’t going to be the thing up.
Like. And it carries you so far. And so I always, it carried me to like, always like, make sure my application was right. Of course I’m going to read everyone’s application, [00:29:00] but like, to be very sure that my application was round up these more selective institutions. And also it really did help me get like generous scholarships that my state institutions.
So like I’m from Kentucky and Kentucky, if you have like a 28 or. Um, you can get a one it’s not like guaranteed about for like a camp. If you go to like a certain camp, you can get a full tuition scholarship to your state scores. And so depending on your ACT score, like you can get amazing scholarship at your state schools.
And so I think that like overall, like it did help me just to make sure that my application. Like, you know, considered and also to help me get some really awesome scholarships at my state school, but I don’t think it like did much else. Like, I think that my story, when I shared with, through my writing, through my ACTivities, through like the passion I had for things I was interested in, I think that was what really played the biggest role in the application.
[00:30:00] Um, but I’m not going to discount, um, what it did give me, um, in that note the day. Um, and then what advice would I give to someone taking the ACT? So I think the biggest thing here is to be strategic with the exam. Um, and the reason is because you, like, I think once you understand how the scoring works, you can kind of use it to your advantage.
So, um, the way that. Is that every is out at 36. Right. And so maybe you’re like a math lead and like, you’re, you’re like amazing at math and you can get like a 36 on that section, but maybe you really suck at reading like me. This is basically me. Um, and I, you might end up like getting like less than that, 30 on that section.
Um, it will like kind of balance out it’ll average out to be in the middle. And so you can kind of think of that in the spectrum of all four sections, you can kind of play into your stress. Maybe you like our superstar at three of the sections, [00:31:00] but you’re not so great at one of them or maybe your superstar two, not so great at the other two, you can just.
Play it to like, use that to your advantage, make sure you do amazing at those two sections that you’re just amazing on and then put in your best effort. Maybe you won’t get done with the reading section and honestly you don’t have to get done with the reading section to get like a 26 or 28 on that.
And like, I think like once you really spend some time with the like, scoring, um, and really understanding what it takes to get like certain scores on these sections. You can really use it to your advantage. So like, I guess like the biggest tip that. As to like when you do a practiceexam, spend some time looking at how they score it.
Because like in the math section, you can still miss like one or two questions and still get at 36 depending on the test. And so once you like, realize, like, I guess those little rooms for air, or like, you can kind of use that to your advantage. It might be a little complicated or difficult for me to [00:32:00] explain it in a webinar, but hopefully like just spending some time looking at that scoring sheet, you’ll realize that.
A lot more room for error than you think. And I think that’s really awesome and really great way to take advantage of that scoring system. And then like thinking like the test writers that’s where, like I was talking about how important it is to like categorize the questions. Cause it really they’re going to pull from that same hat of questions.
And so at that point, if you learn to understand and recognize the kind of questions that they ask, you’re going to be able to think like the test riders know why they’re trying to ask that question, how they’re trying to trip you up and you’ll be able to be very strategic with you. Um, and then the science section, I feel like this is often like the thing that scares people away from the ACT.
But honestly, the science section is like a, it’s just like testing your ability to understand the scientific method. So it’s like, What does, like, it’s [00:33:00] not asking specifically what it, like, what’s on the x-axis and what’s on the y-axis, but if you like, look at the X and Y axis is asking you to interpret it.
And so if you’re very comfortable with the scientific method, then you can do great at this section. It’s not going to Actuallytest you on, um, what is the powerhouse of the cell or whatever, you know, like that, that’s not what the goal of the science section is. And so if you like, keep that in mind, like the science section can really just be.
Like a glorified it’s like combination of all the other three sections, I’m gonna be completely honest, but, uh, it’s not like, uh, I’m testing you on biology and chemistry. Um, and then. Okay, what else? Um, and seriously utilize all official ACT practice exams. So like I mentioned, a lot of these practicesAMS are available online for free, and I’m sure they have like a book where all of the practice exams are, um, are put together for available for [00:34:00] purchase as well.
And so. Just using those resources really using them well. So like, you know, taking that practiceexam on that SAT urday and then spending the week, reviewing it, doing it, repeating that cycle until your test day. I think that’s honestly the best thing you can do to prepare for your ACT. Um, cause like, like I mentioned, like Coplin barons, whatever.
They’re not written by the people who Actuallywrite the exam for you on tested. And so the official resources are the best form. So, yeah.
Okay. So some answers are coming in now. It seems like several people are researching schools. A few haven’t started.[00:35:00]
summer working on their essays.
okay. So, so far we have, um, 10 people who haven’t started. Totally fine. We’re still in, uh, still in June, uh, 22 people who are researching. Five people who are working on their essays and three people who are getting their application materials ready. Okay, awesome. I’m going to close out this poll and then we’ll move into the Q and a.
All right. So this is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful, and remember, you can download the slides from the link in the handout. Moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read you through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat.
So you can see and then read them out loud before [00:36:00] our panelists gives you an answer as a heads up. If your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Okay. So our first question is if your school only informed you about the SAT and only offered it, would colleges that require your ACT score, uh, would it affect that application?
Yeah. So that’s a great question. So first and foremost, um, schools do not have a preference over the SAT or the ACT. So no one’s score is going to be like, I require the ACT over the SAT , so you can rest easy knowing that that’s not going to be something that. Really, uh, like, like colleges are going to be like, oh no, you didn’t take the ACT.
Okay. Can apply here. Um, but in terms of, um, like your school only offering the, um, SAT , like, that’s that unfortunate? I mean, not unfortunately, but like that happens a lot. Like [00:37:00] for example, my school only offered these CT and so that definitely varies, honestly. By geography. I find that a lot of schools in the south focus on their, um, ACT and then a lot of schools up north, um, and in the west coast focused on the SAT .
So it kind of seems like it varies by geographic location, but, um, ultimately you might have to sign up for those exams, like the ACT outside of your school. Um, yes, it, it, they do. The associated with that. But if you have been real assistance, if that’s something you all fight for and it’s something that you might need, but in that case, um, wait, while you conduct no utilize, um, taking that SAT for free at your school, you might have to pay to take the ACP.
If you’ve realized that the ACP is a better fit for you, but you’re definitely, hopefully with, I know we covered everything is kind of up in the air. Um, but hopefully we find a testing center near you, so you can take the.[00:38:00]
Okay, our next question is for prACTicing. Would it be better to work on sections individually for mastery or take full length in one? Go for endurance. No. Great question as well. So when I like, when you know how I’ve been talking about taking like a product exam on like SAT urday morning, um, I do mean taking like the four or four sections of the practiceexam, because that’s really important for your endurance, but then when you’re prACTicing throughout the week, maybe you can use like another practiceexam to focus on specific sections and really drill a specific section.
But ultimately I do recommend, but like really going through the full, um, tests and I working through it, like focusing on endurance, because sometimes that’s something that people like, you know, skimp out, skip that, skip out on whatever it doesn’t phrases. Um, and then that could be the thing that’s detrimental to your score.
First. Yes, I do [00:39:00] think that you should focus on doing, um, sections all the way through, but then while you’re prACTicing throughout the week, you can focus on maybe Monday is English and you focus on trying to master like that English section. And then on Wednesday you do math and so on and so forth. And so I feel like that’s a better way to approach it rather than being like, okay, this month is English this month and the next month is in the next, like, you get the point.
So, because that’s just not how the test is going to work. Yeah. Okay. Our next question is can a person with a learning disability still achieve a perfect score on the ACT? Yeah. So I think a very important thing to keep in mind. And I know I didn’t mention, and I probably should have, but there are accommodations available for, um, the standardized tests.
And so that’s something that you need, you’re more than welcome to apply for it and they do offer it. Um, and I do remember like that my testing center, like they did have. Um, like a room for [00:40:00] people’s had accommodations, so that might be extra time, bigger letters, whatever. Um, but yeah, like I hopefully with the accommodations, you, you know, you get what every, like the time and the like, I guess the accommodation that you need to be able to get a perfect score, but everyone has to get graded by like the same scale of one to 36.
And so it is achievable. It just kind of hopefully depends on whether it is accommodations that are like helpful for you. I know. And I do understand that maybe, um, someone with a learning disorder might have to work a little harder. Um, not even a little, a lot harder to get a perfect score, but it is achievable.
And so that’s just something to keep in mind.
Our next question is what is super simple. That is definitely an important question. So super scoring is when, um, you might have, like, you might’ve taken the exam multiple times. So maybe on the [00:41:00] first time I took the exam, I got a 32 on the math section. The second time I took the exam, I got a 35 and then maybe the third time I took the exam, I got a 36.
Now what super scoring is going to do is that for each of the sections. And I know I’m only talking about math right now, they’re just going to take the highest score that you’ve ever received. And then they’re going to make a composite out of that. And so I know I got at 32 or 35 at 36, but on my super score, they’re only going to take the 36 score, uh, my math section and using that to calculate a composite.
And they do that for every section. And so it’s kind of like a perk, right? Because like maybe on the first test day, you do great on English second test, 80 grade on. And then you like reading and science, and then they put all those high scores together to come up with a even better score than maybe what you’ve gotten.
And so that’s kind of how super scoring works. I hope I explained that. Like, I’m happy to explain it because [00:42:00] that can be a little confusing. So just let me know, like in the chat, if it made sense for. Okay, our next question. I think that makes sense. Our next question is I tried to register for the ACT, but all the testing centers were full.
Do I have to wait for the next state? No, that might be the case. I do believe there’s like a wait-list and I, I might be wrong. Cause of course. Five six years since I’ve taken the ACP. But unfortunately, if you do not have availability at the test centers near you, you might have to wait until the next time.
And I said, sorry, I apologize about that. I can’t really do anything about it, but that’s just kind of the way it is right now in this season. Unfortunately, our next question is how many times is recommended to take DAC? Yeah. Um, so I think like the main question is how many times can you take the CT at [00:43:00] all?
And lots of times you can take it up to two our times, but I don’t think one should take it talk times. I mean, the power to you, if you want to take the ACT to our times, but I don’t want to be sitting, um, for different days at 8:00 AM on a SAT urday to take the exam. And I, I mean, I don’t know how many of you guys are mean, but I feel like people would agree with me, but in general, I would try not to take it, um, more than five or six times, it gets kind of hard to fit in taking these exams.
Like you’re going to have your AP exams or your other student nights tasks, or just tests in general in school. And so it’s kind of hard to kind of figure out how many different times you can take it, where it’s convenient for you to be able to study and all that. Um, and you do want to take like every single time you take the exam, you want to take it very seriously.
So hopefully you can get to the score that you want within five to six. At the most, but hope like how to aim for lasted possible. Um, it’s not necessarily that schools will look down at it. [00:44:00] I mean, there might be like, oh, like you have to take it 12 times. Like what that’s interesting. Um, and they might read into it.
I don’t really know, but I just, like, it’s honestly like a, uh, a thing that most people like agree upon. Like not taking it more than five or six times.
Adding onto that. Uh, our next question is, will colleges look at how many athletes AC to the exams you take? So it, it depends if you want your super score, you’re going to have to submit like all the different times you took the ACTC can get a super score, right. Because otherwise, if you only send in one score, um, they can’t take the highest score of each time you took the eggs.
Um, to make a composite that might be higher than the score that you received on one individual sitting. So like with that in mind, you might have to submit all the scores that you’ve gotten so they can calculate a super score. I know each school has a different policy on this though. [00:45:00] So it’s kind of hard to say, like whether or not you’re going to have to submit all your test scores.
Cause it really does depend by.
Okay. All these questions are awesome. Keep them coming in, but we’re going to take a quick break so that you can hear what you can do if you would like to work with us and get some help on things like your standardized testing. So, if you want to work with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers, you can sign up for a free consultation with us.
By going to CollegeAdvisor.com. I’m clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a live team member member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. All right. Back to the webinar or back to the. Our next question is my school doesn’t really offer students.
Uh, it doesn’t inform students of these, of these tests very well. So how do I approach [00:46:00] knowing that my school is going to tell me when the test is and most a week before I had three days notice for my PAC T and I still haven’t gotten my results back. So how should I prepare? Not knowing how well I did.
Unfortunately, very unfortunate. Um, I like that really sucks cause, um, you probably should’ve gotten your scores back by now. Cause I imagine you you’ve taken it maybe a couple months ago, so that really sucks. But then if you’re at a point where you can’t wait fresh your school with giving you that information ahead of time, it might have to do that stuff yourself.
Like you’re going to have maybe have to sit and do a practiceexam at home. So you can kind of gauge where you’re at and then go ahead and study from there. Um, because unfortunately yes, sometimes schools don’t provide that information for you ahead of time. And so like, you might just have to do a lot of that, um, preparing and maybe scheduling exams on your own, like on your own [00:47:00] time.
And I, I guess that would be my. Advice, it’s kind of a tricky situation. I, and I can imagine that’s been difficult for you to work through, but might have to just go through the standardized testing path, outside your school and on your own.
Okay. Uh, the next question is I’m a sophomore, but what if you cannot take. Uh, the PSA T due to lack of, uh, due to COVID and lack of availability, will it be a disadvantage if I don’t take the PSA T before the SAT RAs? Yeah. So I definitely feel like I specialize more in the ACT then the PSVT in SEP I can, so I feel I can still offer an answer to this.
I don’t necessarily think you’re going to be at a disadvantage for not being able to take the PSCT just because, um, the PSCT like, while it, it can help for like the national merit. My whole thing. When you take it your junior year, I don’t necessarily think it’s going to be [00:48:00] like the most important predictor of how are you going to do on the SAT ?
Like similar to, I said to the previous question, like, you can take a practiceexam, like Khan academy has four practices, exams for the SAT . And so you can just take one of those and kind of see where you’re at and kind of go from there and it’s like study. And so I don’t, I don’t think you’re going to be at a disadvantage.
I honestly, didn’t take my PSVT that seriously. And I don’t really think it affected my score on that SAT . Like, I don’t think one like impACTed the other. I know that might just be my personal experience, but I personally don’t think you’re going to be at a disadvantage because there are so many resources out there just to make sure you feel prepared for the SAT .
And ultimately schools are going to care a lot more about your SAT and ACT than your PSVT.
Our next question is, does taking the ACT multiple times look worse to colleges than taking it one or two.[00:49:00]
Well, I took it four times. So, I mean, if you take my experience, um, I think it was fine. Um, and I like, and like, all of this is so anecdotal because I’m like, I’m kinda like have to just pull from like my friend’s experiences. But like I had a friend that took it like five or six times gone to Harvard. So it kind of like, you know, it just depends on like how your scores go.
Like if you really improve a lot, maybe you start off at like a 20, then you go to like a 25, then you go to like a 28 and then I get 32. Hey, like those four times that you took the exam and really worth it. And you showed like great improvement between the first time, the fourth time. Right. And so. It’s kind of just up to like your journey and how much you like, where you want your score to be.
Um, but like, anecdotally, I I’ve had friends who’ve taken it like more times than I have, and they got into grade schools. And so I don’t necessarily think like, school is going to be like, oh, she took it three times. [00:50:00] Okay. She’s. It’s not like that. Um, it’s really about like how your score improves. Um, if you’re showing them all your scores, um, and just kind of seeing if you took it seriously, like you’re not just taking the exam for the sake of taking it.
And like, if you got like one, like that might be concerning, but like, I think, I think you’re fine if you take it more than twice, just try not to take it more than six times. Just try it. But if you did it.
Our next question is what if you unexpectedly can’t make it to the ACT or SAT for specific reasons?
That’s, that’s a hard question for me to answer because I never went through that and neither did any of my friends or anyone in my circle, but I think that if you just don’t show up, you just don’t get a score. And like, nothing really happened. So like you just have nothing to show, like, right. Like it’s just, you, you kind of let you lost money.
Like you would have paid [00:51:00] like 40, $50 to sign up and get your spot reserved for that day. Um, but you’re just going to lose money. You’re nothing. Something necessarily happened to your score. Yeah, that sounds right. Okay. Um, our next question is what’s the difference between the ACT and S. Yeah. Um, so I can just like, you know, say couple very quick differences.
So the ACP has four sections, like the English, math, reading science. And I feel like that science section is more unique to the ACT, but then our CT is mainly focused on two sections. Like it’s like the math and then like they’re reading English section. And so their scores. Um, it’s like the addition of the math and like their reading English section.
Whereas for the ACT it’s the average of those four, like English, math, reading science sections, the timing is a little bit different. Um, for both of them. I can’t really tell you off the top of my head, the [00:52:00] timing of that SAT , unfortunately I apologize, but there’s also like a non calculator section for the, um, SAT s.
That’s something to keep in mind. Cause if you like really like a calculator, there’s going to be a section where you’re not going to be of use a calculator on the SAP. Um, what else? Um, those are all the main ones I can think of off the top of my head. Um, Hannah, do you have any that you can maybe on if.
I think the ones that are the, uh, the three that I’ve heard are the fACT that there’s a science section on the ACT. There’s a no calculator section on the SAT . And you have more questions per minute on the ACT. So you have to answer questions more quickly. Um, okay. Our next, yeah, I think that’s about it.
Our next question is what level of education do you need to take the. Yeah. So I think like on the ACC website and all that, they’re going to be like, oh, [00:53:00] like a junior, junior year level of education is like ideal for taking the, um, ACT. But of course. I think you can, like, you can take it at any stage. Like you can be an eighth or ninth grader and take it.
Like, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think that would like, you can choose that as your grade. And I think people have even taken it after they graduate for fun. I don’t know. So I think you can, you can take it at any point, but like ideally, and like kind of what the ACT says is this like a junior year, a level.
Um, education, but oftentimes like, you know, students like, like when they take like honors classes or like AP classes and all that, they might cover like some of the material, like early on in high school. Hence why we say that you can probably start studying for it, like after your sophomore year and into your junior year, before the spring semester of your junior year.
But I think I like, they usually say junior year of high. So
our next [00:54:00] question is, uh, will there be a curve? So is the test curved,
so it’s not okay. It’s kind of hard to answer the question, but, um, every test is different in that. Well, maybe for one task, you can still miss two questions and get a 36 on the math section. But for another task you cannot miss a single question to get at 36. So like kind of what I mean by that is like, maybe like, You know, maybe more people got a perfect score on like the second form of the test.
And so that’s why they were like, oh, like you have to get all the questions trying to get at 36, but maybe on the first form of the exam. Um, it was a lot harder for people to get like perfect scores. So they’re like, okay, you can miss like two questions and still get their six. That’s kind of what the curve is.
So, yes, it kind of depends on how everyone is doing on the exam and how they feel about it. But the curve is not going to be [00:55:00] like that significant. It’s going to be like one or two questions here or there, but it’s not like curves. I think it’s just kind of how they score the exam.
Okay. Our next question is what strategies can I use to move through the sections quicker? I didn’t finish all of this ACTions. Um, great question. I’m sure this is like the number one question for a lot of students, because timing is often a big issue. And as Anna said, or more questions per minute or time for the ACT compared to the SAT , um, Sometimes it’s not about rushing through to finish all this, um, all the questions in a section, kind of making sure like the questions that you do, you do correctly, and then like maybe putting C for the rest of the questions that you have remaining.
Because if you’re like 100% sure you answer the first 50 questions of the math section correctly, [00:56:00] and then you put in save for the rest of the answer choices. I’m sure you’ll get maybe one or two. Questions. Right. Um, those then you would have gotten 52 questions, right? You’ll probably get like a 30 or something like that.
And so like, sometimes you might not fit as a section, but if you weren’t to understand how the school, like the test is scored and really use that to your advantage, you don’t have to finish this section when I would work with. Cool. Also struggling with the reading section. Like we sometimes didn’t even read in before passage, we focused on doing really well on the third, um, the first, second and third passage, and then kind of get through as much as we can of the fourth passage.
But when we really focused on doing like making sure we like got those, like. 30 questions like squared away and then maybe getting a couple of questions right. Of the four passage. And that’s fine. You can still get like a 30 or like 28 on that section. And that’s okay. So it’s kind of learning how to play the system a fit.
Um, but if timing is an issue, um, [00:57:00] you can learn, you can do that. Or you can just really just take a lot of practicesections and really draw that. And until you can get to the point where you can complete the section.
Okay, our next question is, is there an AC 80 cap, a score calculator? And what is the score mate? Yeah, I’m sure there is somewhere on the internet. Like I’m, I’m sure you can Google a KCT calculator and it would come up, but like, if you wanted to calculate it yourself, it’s essentially the score that you get for each of the four sections.
Um, add that all up together and then divided by four. Um, if it’s like 0.5 bounded up, but if it’s like less than 0.5, so this is like, you know, like 30. Zero. Oh, zero or 30.25. That would be a 30, but if it’s like 30.5 or 30.75, that’d be at 31. So that’s like a very easy way to just [00:58:00] like, know how to calculate it on your own, but I’m sure there’s a calculator available somewhere online.
Okay. I think this is probably going to be our last question, but are there free practicetests? Yeah. There’s where you practicetests online for every standardized test, for sure. Um, yeah, I kind of have nowhere to look, but I’m sure it’d be like, just Google, like free like SAP practicetests. You’re going to find a website that has it offered in some form or fashion.
Um, and so like, I wouldn’t worry too much. Like you would definitely be able to find a lot of free resources if you know, you don’t have the means to get a book or a class or whatever. Totally fine. It’s awesome that a lot of these failures versus this, but then like, I think it’s like amazing that Khan academy has like all those resources for this SAP.
Like literally for SAP, like full end practice exams, cus videos and [00:59:00] questions for you to draw, like what you’re going like struggling on. And so there are a lot of free resources. Um, so you don’t have to feel like you have to spend any money at all to do on the test. Okay. I think that’s a great. It’s the end.
So thank you everyone so much for coming out tonight and rush me. Thank you so much for presenting. All right. So this is the end of the webinar. We hope you had a, we had a great time telling you about the ACT. Here’s the rest of our June series. So tomorrow we have a webinar on test-optional schools and we have more programming next week as well.
All right. Have a great night, everyone.