Juniors, are you ready for the ACTs? Have you been taking practice tests, reading word lists, and writing essays? Or is this article an unpleasant reminder of that test you thought was months away? Well, you better start preparing now, because the school sponsored ACT for juniors is on March 19th! That’s right, you have less than a month left, but don’t worry; it’s not too late to get some studying in. If you take a deep breath and look through your options, you’ll realize there’s a lot you can still do.

So, for those of you who have done no preparation whatsoever, you’ll first need to figure out what this ACT thing is. The ACT is a lot like the SAT, in that it has different sections that are focused on certain subjects, but the ACT has more sections-English, Math, Reading and Science. The test Memorial is providing also has a 30 minute Writing section, which may explain why your teachers have been strangely focused on writing this year. With this addition, the ACT takes a little over four hours to finish. Yes, that means four hours spent taking a single test, but that also means four hours to show colleges how amazing you are. The SATs and ACTs are your best chance to make up for a year with bad grades, or just cement that college application.

Now that you know what you’re in for (and how important the ACT is), it’s time to actually start studying. If you’re serious about preparing, then you should get ahold of an ACT prep book. You can buy one online, get one out of your public library, or borrow one from an older friend or sibling. This book has practice tests, explanations for right and wrong answers, and an in-depth look at the Writing section. It also has test-taking strategies and reviews important ideas from each section. If you make the time to take these tests, check your answers, and read through the book, you will be much better prepared for the ACT. And if you want some quick extra practice, the ACT website has a Question of the Day, which keeps you in the studying mindset without taking up a lot of time.

Hopefully you’ve been inspired to take the ACT seriously and study your hardest. Here are some last minute things to remember, for both practice and the test itself. Keep calm-stressing just makes you scatterbrained, and more likely to make mistakes. Be organized-when you write your essay, make sure you know what you want to say before you start and stay on topic. And, as always, get a good night’s sleep, eat breakfast, and keep an eye on your time. These tips are clichés for a reason. Good luck, and may a 36 be in your future!

-Rebecca Anderson

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