Beating the Standard

Students, teacher discuss high scores on the ACT

Julie Freijat, co-editor in chief

As the school year progresses, we begin to hear more about standardized testing. A common test for Kansas students is the ACT, which is administered nationwide five times a year. Senior Sarah Weinand took her ACT last year and earned a 35, just one point shy of a perfect score.

“I was really happy because it was the first time I took it,” she said. “I didn’t think I had done that well on it.”

Senior Jacob Howey also scored a 35 on the test and said he was slightly upset he narrowly missed achieving a perfect score.

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-12-54-39-pm“I was actually kind of disappointed because I was so close to a 36,” he said. “The second [time I took] the ACT, I was one question away from getting [a perfect score].”

The ACT can be taken as many times as one choses. The best score received is typically used for college application.

There are different ways one can prepare for the ACT. Howey said he prepared himself with practice tests.

“The night before I took the first one, I looked in a [practice] book with a friend of mine,” he said. “We looked at what the writing section and the science section would be and practiced both of those. The second time, for the week beforehand, I did the same thing but a couple times over.”

Blue Valley offers a course created to ready students for the ACT and give tips on how to be a better test taker. ACT Prep teacher Dianne O’Bryan said the class helps students improve their score.

“We analyzed our data from where the kids started on the practice test and where they ended on the practice test,” she said. “The average increase for students was four points.”

O’Bryan said there are certain traits associated with students who do well on the ACT.

“A lot of the kids who do well are readers,” she said. “A lot of the test involves you being able to quickly process information and quickly read information. I also think [successful] kids are those who performed well in school over [numerous] years.”

Wienand said she studied both through the class and on her own.

“I took ACT Prep, and beside that, I did a little bit of studying,” she said. “ACT Prep was the entire semester before I took the December one. Aside from that, I studied outside [of the class] for about a week.”

Wienand said studying for the test benefited her.

“The more practice you do helps,” she said. “All the practice we did in ACT Prep helped me prepare for the questions. If you study and work hard, you can do it.”