Introducing the New ACT (and Ending World Hunger)
Introducing the New ACT (and Ending World Hunger)
Each year, more than a million students take the ACT (officially called the ACT Assessment), spending 175 grueling minutes poring over a multiple-choice test that colleges and universities use to help them decide which students to admit. And beginning in February 2005, most students will have to spend 30 additional minutes taking the new “optional” writing test that the ACT will tack on to the end of the current exam.
Most students also devote countless hours preparing before the test to make sure they get the best score possible, and fruitless hours after the test worrying about whether they got the score they wanted. Now multiply all that time by a million students. We could probably solve world hunger in the time it takes everyone to prepare, dread, take, and then fret about the ACT. They should just do away with it so we could all serve a higher purpose, right? No such luck. The ACT is here to stay, and because it plays such an obvious role in the college admissions process, students often get headaches as soon as those three little letters come up. We wrote this book to try to dispel the fears surrounding the ACT while teaching the topics and study methods that will help you score your best. Ideally, we’d like you to relax and see the ACT for what it really is: a three-hour test covering the basics of a high-school education. It is not a test that will determine your future happiness (or solve world hunger). The questions on the ACT are probably easier than the questions you regularly encounter on tests in high school. It’s a test that you can easily study and prepare for, if you approach it in the proper way.
In this chapter, we will put the ACT into context. We’ll explain the ACT’s relation to the SAT, what topics the ACT covers, how it’s formatted and organized, how it’s scored, and why colleges use it to evaluate prospective students. Most important, we’ll begin to discuss how you should approach the ACT to minimize anxiety and maximize your score. And maybe once you ace this thing, you can then go out and solve world hunger.
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