By Jennifer Blair, Fraser High School, Fraser, Michigan
The three most daunting letters of your junior year could very well be A, C, and T. With the pressure to get into a good college always looming sometimes it feels like the score of this single test can dictate the rest of your life. But worry not, it’s not as scary as it seems.
The ACT test is a basic test of knowledge gained in one’s school career, taken junior year. The test consists of 215 multiple choice questions, testing knowledge of English (75 questions), math (60 questions), reading (40 questions) and science (40 questions). Your score is determined by the number of questions you answer correctly and you are not penalized for guessing or answering wrong. The composite score (what colleges look at) is the average of the four tests, and you can get a possible score of 1 (lowest) to 36 (highest).
Although ACT scores are only a portion of what colleges consider when looking at applications, top universities like Notre Dame require a composite score between 31 and 34. University of Michigan requires scores between 27 and 31. Michigan State requires scores between 23 and 28, Wayne State requires between 17 and 24, and other colleges like Central Michigan and Western Michigan University accept scores between 20 and 25.
In order to prepare for the ACT there are several prep books you can buy. The ACT Company offers “The real ACT prep guide” for $19.95 from their website, www.actstudent.org. There are also several prep classes you can sign up for at Macomb Community college that are all day programs for around $50, you also receive a prep book. www.actstudent.org offers free daily questions, sample essays, and questions for each subject.
When looking at applications colleges will consider your GPA, ACT or SAT, extra-curricular activities, future plans, the difficulty of your schedule, and your application essay. The ACT and SAT are two standardized tests the test the same knowledge. In Michigan we take the ACT, many other schools however choose to use the SAT.
Another test that juniors take is the Michigan Merit Exam MME. As a requirement from the “No child left behind act,” the MME is similar to the MEAP test we took in elementary school and is a test of everything we should have learned so far in high school. It includes sections on English, math, writing, social studies and science. But don’t worry, this is simply a test to gauge how well students at schools are doing, it does not affect your grades or college admittance.the original article from hsj.org, written by Jennifer Blair