By Taylor Cotter
The American College Test, known nationwide as the ACT, has become more than just an SAT alternative for North Carolina students. Beginning this March, all public and charter North Carolina high school juniors will be required to take the ACT, while the state foots the bill.
Lloyd M. Scott, director of admissions at Appalachian State University, said in a press release that other states that have moved to mandate the ACT early in a student’s high school career have seen the college-going rate of their high school graduates increase as a result.
North Carolina has a high school dropout rate of 2.55 percent (2009-2010) and about 14.2 students opt not to enroll in higher education of any kind (2011). Ultimately, North Carolina hopes by mandating the ACT, more students will discover their potential as college students and be able to plan accordingly.
Additionally, the state will be offering an ACT college readiness test called “PLAN” for students during their sophomore year.
“It’s almost like an academic early intervention that allows counselors and parents to work with and inform students early on about what they need academically to get into college,” says Jane Rex, director of Appalachian’s Office of Transfer Articulation and a N.C. representative for ACT.
Like most coastal states, the majority of North Carolina students take the SAT. By offering the ACT for free, students will be able to apply to more ACT-accepting colleges and use it to supplement their applications at SAT colleges. Additionally, ACT score reporting is comprehensive and offers students insight into their scores, as well as providing students with ideas about prospective job paths. Ultimately, giving the ACT to all students will likely provide helpful insight into their potential in both college and career.
For more information visit the ACT North Carolina State Testing Website.
Photo: Gates Foundation
By Sam Coren
Students all across the country will be sharpening those number 2 pencils and gearing up to take the ACT exam soon. While college admissions exams are not exciting on their own, the anxiety leading up to test day can send you into a tizzy. And if you're a terrible procrastinator about the whole "study and practice" bit, you might be feeling more nervous than students who were more on top of their test prep.
But fear not - whether you've been burning through practice tests all summer long, or haven't even cracked an ACT test prep book, here are a few ways to maximize what's left of your time. And don't forget to take it easy the night before the test - you don't want to start the ACT test feeling burned out from a frantic cram session:
Brush up on your Math skills with Khan Academy.
If you've got major Math Anxiety like me then you're probably going to need the most last minute practice in this department. On the ACT's Math section there will be 14 questions on pre-algebra, 10 on elementary algebra, 9 on intermediate algebra, 14 on plane geometry, 9 on coordinate geometry, and 4 on elementary trigonometry.
Now if you're taking the test and haven't had geometry or basic trig yet you're probably stressing out. Don't worry - Salman Khan's critically acclaimed free Khan Academy video series has great crash courses to help you. Here's the video covering basic trigonometry and the series on geometry.
Hit up the free practice questions (again).
The ACT test makers have free sample questions on all the test sections. You can click through all the possible answers and it will tell you why each possible answer is wrong or incorrect. Be sure to read through the reasoning why a certain option is wrong - especially on the English and Reading sections. This will give you a better understanding on how these sections are scored and hopefully clear up have any recurring misunderstandings.
Practice drafting outlines for the sample writing prompts.
In addition to free practice questions for the required sections of the test, the ACT provides sample writing prompts of the optional writing section. There are also sample essays and a scoring explanation that you should read through. One key test taking strategy for the writing section is being able to quickly outline your thoughts to structure your essay. This prevents you from "rambling on" and keeps your essay coherent when you have a gameplan to refer back to while you're writing.
Since each essay prompt will ask you to take a position on an issue you need to provide clear examples to support your argument. Being able to jot down and organize these talking points before you start the essay will help you develop a logical flow for presenting them and form a concluding statement to tie them together.
First time taking the ACT? Don't forget that there's still time to register for upcoming ACT Test Dates if you want a second crack at it.
By Sam Coren
College entrance exams are the bane of just about every high schooler in America. Between your regular coursework, after-school activities, and all the assorted craziness of being a teenager, do you really want to think about another test? To help you get through one of the most anxiety-filled times in your high school career we've compiled the registration, late registration, and test dates for each SAT and ACT exam for the 2011-2012 academic year.
If you're just getting started with preparing for the SAT or ACT be sure to keep these test and registration dates handy. Pop them on your Google Calendar, put this post on the fridge, write them on your forehead - whatever you need to do so you don't forget!
SAT Test and Registration Dates 2011-2012
|October 1, 2011
||September 9, 2011
||September 10 - 21, 2011
|November 5, 2011
||October 7, 2011
||October 8 - 21, 2011
|December 3, 2011
||November 8, 2011
||November 9 - 20, 2011
|January 28, 2012
||December 30, 2011
||December 31, 2011 - January 13, 2012
|March 10, 2012
||February 10, 2012
||February 11 - February 24, 2012
|May 5, 2012
||April 6, 2012
||April 7 - April 20, 2012
|June 2, 2012
||May 8, 2012
||May 9 - May 22, 2012
Register for the SAT at CollegeBoard.com
ACT Test and Registration Dates 2011-2012
|September 10, 2011
||August 12, 2011
||August 13 – 26, 2011
|October 22, 2011
||September 16, 2011
||September 17 – 30, 2011
|December 10, 2011
||November 4, 2011
||November 5 – 18, 2011
|February 11, 2012*
* Test centers in New York do
not administer the February exam
|January 13, 2012
||January 14 – 20, 2012
|April 14, 2012
||March 9, 2012
||March 10 – 23, 2012
|June 9, 2012
||May 4, 2012
||May 5 – 18, 2012
Register for the ACT at ACTStudent.org