Acing The ACT


Keegan Nickoson

Senior Larissa Frey tries her best to help fellow senior Courtney Schneider practice for the ACT.

Keegan Nickoson, Staff Writer and Sports Editor

The American College Test (ACT) is one of the most stressful tests a high schooler will take. With large college implications, what’s the best way to prepare for this important test?

The ACT is a compilation of English, math, reading, and science tests, along with an optional writing portion. Depending on your college of choice, you may not have to take the writing test. Senior Aidan Jones, who scored a 35 on the ACT, along with fellow senior Sydney Harrison, who scored a 32, weighed in on the best ways to prepare for this college-required exam.

RHS students and teachers gave their insight on how to best manage the ACT.

“I had caffeine the morning of and I never have caffeine,” said Harrison. The added jolt of energy enhanced Harrison’s focus and made sure she was wide awake during testing.

Jones said, “The night before I went for a run, which is something I typically do before big tests. I’m not sure what it is about it but it just clears my head and gets me in the mood before a test.”

A study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) said, “Some 14% of people make use of regular exercise to cope with stress.” Therefore, Jones isn’t alone. Make sure to exercise a little bit the night before you take the ACT. Whether it is walking, running, or biking, clearing your head is a big requirement for this test.

However, reducing stress can only help your score so much. Managing your time is one of the most difficult and important things to do on the ACT. Jones gave his insight and what he did to make sure his time didn’t run out.

“Each section, like reading, has a certain number of passages, and the science has a certain number of questions. I always, in my head, divide the amount of time total by that and pace myself at that rate,” said Jones.

Both Jones and Harrison mentioned that on the math section, the questions get increasingly harder from beginning to end. Harrison even said she started at question 60 and worked her way down to question 1, getting the tough section out of the way and finishing with the questions that would be the easiest.

As a final word of advice, Harrison stated, ”Get the (2018-2019 ACT Prep Guide) book off of Amazon and do the practice tests in it. The best thing you can do is just practice taking it.”

“To the people who are on an advanced track, to the point where you finished pre-calc sophomore year, take it as soon as possible. The best practice is just to take it or do a full length practice test. The best studying I ever did was just taking the test,” said Jones.

Both Jones and Harrison took the ACT four times, saying their scores improved each time.

“The most challenging part isn’t the content, it’s just the time that’s the kicker. Take it soon, and take it often,” stated Jones.

Science teacher Mr. Brian Streng is the ACT administrator here at Ross. Streng has been in this position at Ross for two years, and previously at Badin for five years.

“If you’re going to prepare for the ACT, you need to start doing it well in advance. There are expensive courses like Kaplan and Leap that give guidance,” said Streng.

Kaplan, which offers a classroom setting, has a starting price of $899 for prep courses, while Leap, which offers a similar course, is only $225.

If you are looking for a cheaper option, Streng mentioned that you can find the 2018-2019 ACT Prep Guide at your local Lane Public Library for free.

Streng said, “Instead of paying $20-$30 for the book, you can get it at the library for free. You might as well use all those tax dollars that are given to the library.”

However, preparation the day and morning before might be the most vital for success.

“Make sure you get a good rest and good breakfast that’s high in protein. I see a lot of kids that come in super draggin’, Not a good idea. A good night’s sleep does a world of difference,” stated Streng.

Streng strongly recommends taking the ACT here at Ross over schools like Hamilton or Fairfield.

“Why add the extra variable? If you go here, you know what you’re going to get. You’re going to be in our classrooms with our teachers, which adds an extra sense of comfort,” said Streng.

The next opportunity to take the ACT here at Ross is Dec. 8, however the registration deadline has already passed. The next date is February 9th with a registration deadline of Jan. 18, and a third date for testing is Apr. 13 with a registration deadline of Mar. 8. You can register for the ACT by visiting Make sure to sign up soon and use these tips and tricks to get a better score on the ACT.