Students react to the Midyear ACT

Santiago Diaz ready to take the midyear ACT. Photo credit: Nicole Amato

By Dania Herrera ’19 and Marisol Rivera ’19

On  Jan. 26, all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at Pritzker College Prep took the midyear ACT to show what they’ve learned so far in the school year.

Every year, each grade level, except seniors, have the opportunity to show their personal academic growth. The data collected from taking this test helps teachers develop new lessons for the semester in order for them to successfully educate those who don’t understand a certain material in a specific subject.

Overall, the ACT is a crucial test that measures students’ mastery in english, mathematics, reading, and science to see if high school students are ready for college.

This critical exam is one of the things that colleges look at aside from GPA. High school students that want to attend an Ivy League school, which are schools “ having high academic and social prestige,” will need to have an average of an ACT of 29 and above depending on the school.

For example, in order to get admitted to Harvard University the average ACT score is a 32 to a 35. As for Brown University, you would need a 29-34 composite ACT score. All universities and colleges have a different average in ACT score in order for students to be admitted.

When entering your testing room, the teachers recommend eating breakfast which will be beneficial because you will be testing for about four hours. After breakfast, the teachers pass out your scantron and ACT booklet and after that they read the procedure and the directions. For each part of the ACT, the portion is timed.  The english section is the first section of the exam and students have 45 minutes. Next, the mathematics portion needs to be completed in 60 minutes. After completing half of the ACT, students have a 10 minute break. Once those 10 minutes are done, they are ready to go back and take the reading portion which 35 minutes are given. Now for the last piece of the exam, students complete the science part of 35 minutes.

Many scholars are either really worried or calm when they take the ACT. Even though these exams are practice until the real ACT, which is taken in junior year, students do feel the pressure. Sophomore, Natalie Roman claimed, “Before taking the ACT, I felt like I was going to do great in the math section because I actually studied for it and I felt confident about myself for that one.” It is pretty clear that Roman was proactive because she studied for the test. After the test though, Roman explained, “Honestly I feel good about myself. The math turned out to be easier than expected. I feel like I did pretty good on the math section.” This shows that because Roman studied, she felt pretty confident with her what she did in the math section of the midyear ACT. Even though Roman felt positive in the mathematics section, she said she thought the science portion of the test was a little challenging for her.

Another sophomore, David Vela, said, “I think the purpose of the ACT is to measure our growth, and see how this measures up until we actually do the ACT.” He also explained how he felt before and after the midyear ACT. “Before I felt pretty good, but in the end I was really tired because that was just a lot of reading” explained Vela. Vela also stated that some of his strategies include skipping questions that he does not know and coming back to them if he still has time. Students’ strategies vary depending on what the student is specifically struggling with. A common thing that students struggle with is timing. One thing that Vela would change for the next ACT is to sleep earlier. Vela claimed that the ACT is vital because “it is important so teachers can have a pretty accurate representation of where we’re at individually.”

Overall, having practice with the ACT is something beneficial that every student should take advantage of because it can greatly impact one’s future. Many teachers who currently work at Pritzker have said that they did not have this opportunity when in high school so they suggest that students take every ACT very seriously. An exam might seem boring, tiring, and exhausting, and people don’t really think it’s important but when it comes to the ACT, it really does affect one’s fate.