2015-02-21 / The Rock

Juniors prepare for ACT testing

By Katie Tuck and Maurice Smith

Juniors at Person High School (PHS) are beginning to study for one of the biggest tests of their high school career, the American College Test.

The ACT, as it is more commonly known, is fairly new to the college admission testing scene. It is used to determine what students have learned during high school in the general subjects of English, math, writing and science. Students are given a limited amount of time to answer the multiple choice questions for each section. The tests are scored based only on the number of correct answers, so there is no penalty for guessing or for wrong answers. Unlike the SAT, the ACT is less of an aptitude test and more of an achievement test. This means that the ACT will not require students to know everything, but will require them to know specific strategies and formulas to save time and meet their goal.

PHS guidance counselor Scott Schwartz, with the help of PHS math teacher David Hardt, is hosting an ACT Preparation Class for juniors, free of charge.

Schwartz, who has experience working in college admissions, said “When it comes to college admission, what is holding students at Person back the most is test scores.”

For many students at PHS, past test scores have been lower than expected based on student grade-point-averages.

Sonam Aidasani, PHS College

Corps advisor, helps juniors and seniors prepare and apply for college.

In response to the low ACT composite scores at PHS, Aidasani said “students do not realize the importance of the ACT and how the test can be the difference in being accepted to a college.”

Both Schwartz and Aidasani agree juniors should take advantage of all opportunities to prepare for the ACT, inside of school and out.

Blake Jones, a junior who is currently enrolled in the ACT prep class, said he signed up because his scores for the practice test were good, but he wanted to go beyond his projected score to make a 30 or above.

Rachel Shotwell and Mary Mac Holler agree that the class is not time-consuming and was a good decision for them. They have already noticed a rise in their scores due to the use of testing strategies.

Richard Clayton, a senior who participated in the class last year, said that he is excited to see new opportunities for the juniors. “Now that the class is offered for free, others can take advantage of the class regardless of socioeconomic status,” said Clayton.

The class is being held after school on alternating Thursdays from 3:15 to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It started in mid-December and will continue until March 2, the day before students at PHS take the ACT.

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