ACT preparation in full swing as test nears

Photo: MGN

LAFAYETTE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – Lafayette Parish high school students are preparing to take the ACT on Tuesday.

All juniors in Louisiana, and some seniors, will take the test. The scores are sometimes used as part of the criteria for college admissions and scholarships.

In addition, ACT performance comprises 25 percent of a high school’s state performance score.

This year’s test comes after the Lafayette Parish School System, GEAR UP and Mastery Prep have partnered to implement a district-wide ACT preparation program.

“Currently, the Lafayette Parish composite average on the ACT is 19.8. This puts Lafayette Parish at a rank of 14th in the state,” the district said in a news release. “The ultimate goal of the program is to reach an average composite score of 21, which would put the district among the top 10 in the state.”

The highest possible composite score on the ACT is a 36.

In addition to the district-wide program, each high school has unique initiatives for its students.

At Northside High, teachers have been using test prep “bell ringer” activities at the beginning of each class, Principal Julia Williams said. Northside also has offered year-long ACT prep classes and an ACT boot camp this week for 100 juniors and seniors.

“Teachers from ACT Mastery Prep will work with students for a full day at an off-campus location on ACT test-taking strategies,” Williams said.

Mary Qualey, principal of Carencro High, said the school has been using “Period 2,” a shortened academic focus period, for ACT preparation. Teachers there have also been using bell ringer activities and other strategies.

“At Carencro, we build in performance incentives for the ACT,” Qualey continued. “Last year, all the seniors making an 18 or better received a new tablet computer, which had been previously donated to the school.”

The district and Mastery Prep offered these tips for students and families as they prepare for the ACT:

  • Take practice tests. This can help a student set a pace and familiarize themselves with the ACT format.
  • Pack an ACT bag with items such as pencils, erasers and an approved calculator. Other suggestions include a light jacket or sweater, healthy snacks and water.
  • Answer every question. There are no penalties for wrong answers. Take a guess if you are not sure.
  • Use the process of elimination. Read over each answer. Usually the ACT has at least one answer choice that is clearly wrong. Eliminate incorrect answers, then narrow your choice to the best answer.
  • Pace yourself. Practice answering questions while leaving yourself time for review.
  • Parents: Ensure your child get a good night’s sleep the night before the test and breakfast the morning of the test.

For more tips, visit masteryprep.com/act-tips-blog.

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