Shawnee Mission West's online student newspaper

Shawnee Mission West's online student newspaper

Shawnee Mission West's online student newspaper

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photo by Malcom Luna

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Get Your ACT Together


Yuqi Hou, senior, practices for the ACT. Hou received a composite score of 33 when she took the actual test.

Many students have found success on the ACT. A combination of hard work, studying and classes has yielded impressive results for some students. Some students took the ACT many times, others just once. Study routines varied and different strategies proved more useful than others.

Many of those who scored a 30 or higher on the ACT agreed that practice tests were extremely beneficial.

“At least for me the best way to study is to take practice tests. I remember thinking after the real test that some of my practice tests were harder,” Helen Paolo, senior, 31 ACT composite score, said.

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Core classes proved helpful on the ACT as well. By learning and practicing concepts and strategies during school, students often got a better understanding of what would be tested on the ACT.

“The time I got my highest score on my weakest subject was when I didn’t study for math but paid attention and studied during physics. It’s not about studying from a book it’s about understanding concepts,” Yuqi Hou, senior, 33 ACT composite score, said.

Test preparation courses also proved helpful. Many students attend Mrs. Berghaus’s study sessions or Kaplan courses.

“I went to one of Mrs. Berghaus’ study things, that was helpful,” Lauren Lanigan, senior, 34 ACT composite score, said.

Regardless of the test the preparation course was designed for, students often found courses valuable for learning test strategies.

“I had taken a Kaplan PSAT course, which is a different test entirely, but it helped me know what the test was looking for,” Paolo said.

Focusing on weaker areas was both an unpleasant and rewarding endeavor for some students who invested the time and effort.

“I did a lot of the Princeton Review books and Kaplan Math and Science because I’m not good at math and science. I took a lot of practice tests and stuff. I mostly tried to work on math, and then on science,” Lanigan said.

Preparation in the weeks approaching the test varied immensely. Some chose the route of relaxing and easing off of the test preparation, so as not to cram or put too much pressure on.

“I tried not to psych myself out,” Lanigan said.

Others felt the extra practice and cramming would be more valuable then easing off.

“I crammed in the last couple weeks before the test,” Paolo said.

Most high scorers did some form of preparation for the test, often yielding improved results.

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