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ACT Test Taking: Feeling the Pressure

May 13, 2011
Harvard High School



(Ed.'s note: This story was in preparation for ACT testing which took place April 27-28)

As the school weeks progress, the dreaded time of the year for juniors approaches: ACT testing. Doing well on these exams may make or break a student's approved admission to a particular college. Preparation is a key component when attempting to receive exceeding scores. Balancing a heavy work load may become a hard task in between completing practice tests and getting mentally prepared for the test.


"I didn't prepare myself too much early on. I became last minute stressed when the time for testing came," said Bridgette Nolan.


Several teachers have dedicated their class time for exam preparation. Many students have learned important tips from this practice and have incorporated it into their test taking schedule. Juniors may learn to fix minor grammar imperfections after taking English tests, and may learn to manage and organize their time after taking reading exams.


"I believe that practice tests and guidance provides better scores. Students should take a few tests so they are familiar with the process, but they should also be guided by a teacher along the way. Before the test, take a few deep breaths and be confident in your abilities," said Mrs. Mackenzie.


Practice tests are just one way to help prepare students for the ACT exam. Students should remember to stay calm and try to focus on what is in front of them during the test. If they do not know the answer, especially during the math portion, they should skip the question and look at it after completing all known problems. 


During the science portion, students should be sure to manage their time wisely. Often saving the scientists' opposing view section last will help ensure enough time. 


The writing portion has proven to be difficult. Make sure to pick a specific side, stating a clear thesis, containing valid points for your argument. 


Complete some activity that relaxes your mind the day before the test. Don't stress yourself out, and get a good night's sleep as well. Eating an adequate breakfast may also help students stay fueled and alert while taking the test. Getting into a habit of sleeping and eating the week of the test may also help ensure a calm manner. In general, don't freak out. You can always retake the test, if all else fails.


"Know that you're taking a test, but don't freak out about completing everything perfectly. Imagine that you are taking an ordinary test and stay calm," added senior Leticia Perez.


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