By Casey Cunningham

Science teacher Chad Brown helps junior Shelby Kindt on her science ACT practice sheet.

Standardized testing plays an important role in several student’s college decisions

Two students describe how they prepare for the ACT and SAT in order to get high enough scores to get them into their desired schools

February 6, 2023

Around their junior and senior years, students start preparing for standardized tests in order to prepare for college. These preparations include taking practice tests, hiring tutors or attending ACT guidance classes. Junior Abby Warren explained why she chose to take an ACT Prep class offered at school. 

“I chose to take the ACT Prep class because my mom thought it was a good idea for me to take it, but I also knew that I needed to start preparing for college soon,” Warren said. “I also wanted to improve my ACT score from what it previously was.”  

Additionally, Warren described what the class has taught her about the upcoming ACT she will be taking in February.

Junior Kyla Newton works on her practice test for the ACT. (By Casey Cunningham)

“The class has taught me some helpful tips and tricks for picking out answers and has retaught me some stuff that I forgot that could also be on the test,” Warren said. “I plan on taking the free ACT offered at school in February, but I’m also going to take it again in April. So that I have two chances to do well on the test.”

Depending on the college, some universities favor SAT scores over ACT scores. After moving to Kansas from California, senior Abhi Raut described the preparations she took before taking the ACT after being prepared to take the SAT. 

“Living in California prior to moving here I had zero knowledge of the ACT and was solely somewhat prepared for the SAT. December of junior year, I decided to take both of them before I did any prep just to see where I was,” Raut said. “I took the ACT for the second time in March and prepared by attending as many seminars as I could and taking several practice tests to understand the wording.”

Typically after taking the ACT or SAT, students must start preparing their applications for college. Raut described her application process to the following schools of: The University of Kansas, Syracuse, Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania

“I applied to three out of four schools through the common app and did Kansas’s separately. I finished my personal application first, then created a folder for the multitude of short answers I had to write,” Raut said. “I also made sure to leave at least a couple of days between completion date and deadline date to look at my writing with fresh eyes.”

Warren hopes that these preparations will help her accomplish what she plans to do after high school. 

“I plan on either going to an in-state college or staying within the midwest if I choose to go out of state,” Warren said. “I want to study Forensic Psychology, and I hope that by taking these ACT Prep classes that I’ll be able to get into a good program or get enough merit based scholarships in the future.” 

Overall, Raut expressed the importance of preparing for standardized tests, and states her excitement for the next chapter of her life. 

“Preparing for the ACT or SAT may seem tedious and boring, but it really is so important to do so properly in order to better prepare yourself for the future,” Raut said. “Had I not prepared properly for either of those exams, I would not have felt as confident applying to schools I chose.”

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