ACT preparation/tips

By: Maggie Alarcon

The ACT test is a standardized test used for college admissions. The ACT is required to be taken your Junior year of high school. Your ACT score is a key component of your college applications.

The purpose of the ACT test is to measure your high school readiness for college. College admissions officers will review your test scores, alongside with your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers, extracurricular activities and personal essays.

The higher you score on the ACT, the more options for attending, and paying for, college will be available to you.

There are four sections on the ACT that you have to complete: English, Reading, Math, Science and an optional 40 minute writing test. The ACT takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, and if you do the writing test it’s about 4 hours.

I hope these tips below are helpful!

1. Get an ACT book
Having resources where you can study from is really helpful. Having the book to take places to study is helpful as well, and helps you work efficiently. Spending time reviewing and answering answers from the book helps you understand the format of the test. Also, it gives you a better understanding of what type of problems there will be on the test for each section.

2. Plan a reasonable study schedule
Set aside time for ACT practice and study.
Study for at least 3 hours a week or more. If it’s getting closer to your test day, then I recommend reviewing more. Get in the habit of studying too, so you can get used to the test and work on your test taking speed.

3. Do some timed practice to check in on your pacing
It is important that you have enough time to complete all the questions. I recommend you use a timer to time yourself in each section. Also, practice what was more challenging and took more time.

4. Take a couple of practice tests before the real one
It helps give you an idea of what the real test will look like. Taking a practice test gives you an idea of how well you would do, and the results will let you know what to work on more. Taking a practice test also helps you improve on your speed when taking the real test and the more practice the better.

5. Practice on the subjects that you struggle the most with and you know you’re not that good at
If you know you are not good at math or English, study more on those sections. Getting better before the test will help you improve on your worst subject and knowledge, but also your grade on the test. Look into more resources for those subjects as well.

6. Tutoring
Find options that work for you like tutoring. Getting help from someone else helps so much, having a one-on-one session is a good way to study, especially if you don’t understand something you can talk to them and ask them to clarify. It’s a more efficient way to get your studying done without getting stuck and not knowing what to do or study. You will be prepared for when the test starts and understand what you have to do.

Basics about the FAFSA

Need help with your FAFSA and don’t know where to start? You can complete your FAFSA by printing out the PDF version, or do it directly online with their website: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa

With filling out your FAFSA, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Tax information from 2-3 years ago
  • Records of all income
  • Records of any untaxed income (child support, interest incomes, pensions)
  • Records of your checking and savings account balances, or other assets
  • Your drivers license if you own one
  • List of each school you did or are going to apply to

If you are a student being claimed as a dependent, your parent’s information will also be needed, even if they aren’t assisting you in paying. To be considered a dependent, you must be under 24 years of age, attending an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, unmarried with no children or dependents of your own.

For being considered an independent, you must be 24 years of age or older, attending a masters or doctorate degree program, married or separated but not divorced, if you have children or dependents of your own, if you’re a veteran in the US army or is currently serving, and if you’re an emancipated minor.

For online applications, you’ll just enter your basic information that they ask of you. Have all of the files you need with you so you can just quickly look at them and not have to waste time searching for them. After you fill in what they ask you to, your parents will also have to fill in their information if/as needed.

After filling out all the required information, you can then put in the list of schools you are applying to, or are interested in. Each school has a code, and you can find the code for the school online.

If you don’t plan to finish your FAFSA in one go, you can make a temporary password to log in later when continuing the application.

FAFSA deadline for this year will be on June 30th, if your lastest academic year is 2018-2019.

For more information, you can visit: https://www.moneyunder30.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-fafsa-but-were-too-afraid-to-ask