Underclassmen have opportunity to take practice ACT


Bluestocking, Flickr Creative Commons

Testing season began in March and continues for the next six weeks with end-of-course and advanced placement exams.

Alonna Hill, Guest Writer

Time to break out the expensive scientific calculators and vigorously sharpen your #2 pencils because it’s the season of standardized testing!

And in preparation, Mayfield High School Academic Boosters Club allowed Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors to test the waters on an official practice American College Test (ACT) held last month.

Unfortunately, these types of opportunities only come around yearly. That is why ACT Practice Coordinator Jen Hyland started pushing students to participate. Hyland said about the test’s significance, “The ACT Composite score is one of the most important numbers colleges use to determine your eligibility for college.

“The ACT has four subtests that vary in number of problems and length of time you have to work. They are English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning,” she said.

Sophomore Mary Jo Baetzold believes that the practice test went well, considering it was her first attempt. She said, “There were definitely some sections I was more confident in than others. The English portion was right up my alley while the science portion most definitely was not.”

Sarah Fricke, a sophomore who also took the practice test for the first time, believes it was a strong intro for the actual ACT. “I feel like it has provided me an understanding of what the test may look like and how the format of the times each section is. I wouldn’t say it makes me feel confident but more comfortable of what I might be expecting with the actual test,” said Fricke.

According to Hyland, there are countless websites and resources to prepare students for the actual assessment. Hyland said, “Khan Academy has a great free resource that allows you to link up your PSAT with Khan Academy to help you with improving your score.”

School counselor Mia Bourdakos has seen many students struggle with test anxiety; however, she believes having lots of practice can help calm fears. She said, “Kids are always stressed over tests like this. However, if they ask the questions ahead of time and prep, they are usually fine.”

Then again, students still have mixed feelings about standardized testing and how it shows academic aptitude. Baetzold said, “I believe for some people it is a good display of how they think under pressure and how quickly they think. On the other hand, most people in their future jobs won’t have to think in these types of settings and formats.

A college can’t truly know who you are from a standardized test. A good performance on these types of tests really have to do with your mood/attitude when you wake up, not your academic capabilities,” she said.

However, colleges are starting to move away from standardized testing as the main factor for admission. Hyland said, “Colleges are looking at a variety of factors in determining admissions, including grades, course rigor, extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, volunteer hours, recommendation letters, etc.”

Even with these unprecedented times, Baetzold is still optimistic for her future in education. She said, “Overall, I adapted quickly, and being home more often makes me more focused than usual! There are pros and cons during this time but I’m lucky and privileged enough to have not been affected too much at all.”