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Go Ask Mom

College Bound: Public school juniors need to prepare for ACT test

Posted February 12, 2013

All N.C. public school juniors will take the ACT test at their home school on March 5.

This is one of the two admissions exams required to gain entrance to college. The other is the SAT. The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Last year, the number of students taking the ACT outnumbered those taking the SAT.

Wake County and the state of North Carolina began requiring the test for all high school juniors last March as part of their strategic plan to make all students college and career ready.

For N.C. students, this is a unique opportunity available only to eight other states in the nation. The ACT is only offered six times a year on a Saturday, but N.C. students will get an extra chance to not only take the test during the school day, but they will also have the advantage of taking that test in a familiar setting - their home school.

Additionally, the test normally costs $35 without the Writing section, and $50.50 with the Writing piece. N.C. students are not required to pay this fee and may submit these scores to colleges.

While it has become a popular belief that you should take the ACT/SAT as often as possible, this is not the case. Many colleges still require you to submit all of your test scores, thus you never want to go into a test unprepared. It is important to note that the ACT is not an aptitude test. Unlike the SAT, it measures the content that students have gained in their high school coursework.

With less than a month to go before the test date, students still have time to prepare for the test. With little or no money, students have numerous options. The ACT offers free practice test questions, as well as tips on taking the test. It is advised that if students do nothing else to prepare, they should at least review this before exam day so that they are familiar with the test format.

Students also can go to for additional free test prep or purchase test prep books from the ACT or other publishers. Finally, students should check with their individual school to determine if other test prep options are being offered at their site.

Christine M. Hall, Ed.D., is owner of CMH College Consulting in Cary. Hall, who has children of her own, offers advice on the college application and decision process here on Go Ask Mom from time to time.




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  • thewayitis Feb 13, 2013

    Students should take this test on their dime, not on the taxpayer's dime. That said, I'd like the Act to become as prominent as the SAT in these parts, and I guess requiring it in schools would help bring this about.

  • khoggard Feb 13, 2013

    The high school where I teach, along with the other high school in the county, has brought in outside tutors to tutor students during the school day 2 days a week. We have been doing this since September or October to prepare the juniors for the test.