The ACT, much like the SAT, is a type of standardized test which is commonly used in the college and university admissions process. These tests are designed to help admissions officers have a common standard by which to compare a vast pool of applicants.
Due to the fact that many schools put a high degree of emphasis on the quality of your ACT scores, it’s important to be well prepared for the exam and to earn a high score. This will give you a competitive edge over other applicants and increase your chances of getting admission to the college or university you really want to go to.
To help students perform well on the ACT, a number of ACT prep courses are available which are designed to train you to know the material and perform well under pressure.
Read on to learn more about the ACT and how to choose the best prep course for yourself.
What is the ACT?
The ACT assessment test is one which is taken by students seeking to gain college admission. It is a type of standardized test which is frequently used by college admissions officers in universities across the United States. The purpose of the ACT is to provide a way for admissions officers to easily and effectively compare applications coming in from different states and schools. Essentially, it is a type of entrance test.
The test was created by ACT Inc. in order to help colleges and universities in the country to make admissions decisions more effectively. The test is intended to act as a common criteria by which all applicants can be compared.
Keep in mind, a good ACT score in and of itself isn’t enough to get you admission into the school of your choice. Each school puts a different amount of weight on ACT scores and also looks at a variety of other factors including academic transcripts, your overall high school GPA, letters of recommendation from your teachers, personal essays, and individual interviews.
The test can be taken across the country six times a year; in September, October, December, February, April, and June.
The Format of the ACT
The ACT is made up of four multiple choice sections as well as an optional Writing Test. The four sections include English (Grammar and Writing Conventions), Math, Science, and Reading Comprehension.
The test contains 215 questions and must be completed in 2 hours and 55 minutes. The optional Writing Test is an additional 40 minutes. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of time afforded for each question. On average, you’re supposed to complete each question in less than a minute.
In order to ensure that you do well on the test, you’ll need to learn how to pace yourself and practice how to answer questions typically found in the ACT.
ACT Prep Courses
ACT Prep courses are one of the most effective ways to improve your chances of getting a high score on the test. Due to the fact that you have a limited amount of time in which to complete the test, you’ll need to learn all of the tips and tricks which can help you identify the format of certain types of questions. Knowing in advance that you’re also being tested on how well you can spot the ‘tricks’ in the test under pressure can help you develop a sound strategy to tackle the questions you’ll encounter.
There are a plethora of ACT prep courses available which help students not only feel more confident with the curriculum being tested in the ACT, but also help them to develop the confidence to think quickly under pressure.
With so many prep courses available for you to choose from, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when finding the perfect course for you.
Important Considerations When Choosing an ACT Prep Course
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when trying to find the right ACT prep course for yourself:
What’s your budget?
ACT prep courses cater to a wide range of budgets. There are courses which are free or nominally priced and then there are those which can cost you close to $2,000. Your budget will play a huge part in narrowing down which ACT prep courses are actually available to you.
How much help do you need?
Every student needs a different amount of help when it comes to the test. Keep in mind, the curriculum of the ACT is largely similar to what you’ll be studying in school. The only reason the ACT appears daunting is that you have to be able to think quickly and answer all the questions in a very limited amount of time.
So how much help do you need? Do you need help with the curriculum itself or are you looking to build techniques on how to handle the format of the test?
What’s your learning style?
Every student also has a different learning style and pace. There are a number of different ACT prep courses which cater to these varying styles.
For instance, some students benefit from one-on-one tutoring while others work well in groups. Knowing what style of learning is most beneficial to you will help you decide which prep course to enroll in.
There are also prep courses which can be taken completely online.
Preparing for the ACT can be stressful because you know you have a limited amount of time to complete all four sections. However, with practice, and with the skills you can develop in an ACT prep course, you can become more efficient at completing the test competently and within the allotted time frame. Make sure you’re aware of what your budget is, how much help you require, and your learning habits in order to enroll in an ACT prep course, which is well suited to your specific needs.