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Taking the ACT Is Not as Scary as You Think

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Signing up to take the ACT was scary. I went into it thinking it was going to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my 18 years. Therefore, I went into it with negative thoughts. One of the reasons why was because I didn’t know what it really was. The ACT (American College Test) tests students’ level of education in order to see what colleges they can get into and succeed in.

Signing up for it was easier than I thought it was going to be. I filled out the information the ACT company asked for. One of the most important things I had to put down was my college list. The ACT company charges students $46 to take the test and I could input up to four colleges without being charged extra. Next, I took a picture of myself because the ticket requires a picture ID on it so they don’t let the wrong person in the testing room. Lastly, I got my ticket. The next step is to take the test.

Studying for the ACT is not the easiest thing in the world, but I was aware of that because I started studying before I signed up. Since I wasn’t going into the test blind, I went into it with a positive mindset. Any type of studying can be hard and long, especially if you don’t know the steps and strategies. It was nice to have a group of people like my Leap Year fellows and my advisor helping me out, because if it was up to me I would just be staring at the book hoping I would get the information in my head.

When we first looked into the ACT study book, we had to read all of the strategies for all four sections of the ACT. Now, we didn’t read them all in one day; it was over a period of time. It took us three months to read and comprehend all of the ACT strategies, along with practicing questions and sections almost everyday. One of the most useful strategies was using the process of elimination (POE) because it works well for all of the sections of the ACT. Another useful strategy is paying attention to detail when trying to find the answer to the question. Other than that, answering the ACT takes time, studying and practicing.

At first, studying for the ACT was exciting because I was learning new things about taking tests. However, by the end, the motivation to keep going was hard. It was challenging to find the motivation to study for two hours a day. It felt very time consuming, and once you’re done studying, you feel mentally drained. Although studying as a group is helpful, it is sometimes challenging to make sure that everyone understands the concepts before we could all move on. The most important part of studying is to be mentally present and to do the best that you can.

That morning of the ACT, I went in ready because I studied for four months. When the test was over, it felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders. Now that I have my test score I just have to worry about signing up for colleges.

ACTTiayana, 18, contributed this piece as a Leap Year fellow through partnership with VOX, and she likes hibachi.

Photo by Tiayana Freeman 

The next ACT test date is Feb. 10, but registration has passed. The next date you can sign up to take the text is April 14 (March 9 registration deadline, or March 10-23 with a late fee.)  To sign up for the ACT, click here.

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