Some think that the ACT is not a great measure of a student's academic potential. Yet many schools still use standardized tests when deciding which applicants to accept. In fact, nearly 55 percent of colleges believe test scores are “very important” in the admissions process.
College acceptance, meanwhile, can make a huge difference in your career prospects. As of 2017, college graduates earn an average of 38 to 167 percent more than non-college graduates do. The College Board also found that those with bachelor's degrees will earn $400,000 more in their lifetimes than those who only graduated high school.
With a college degree still being important in many industries, and with the importance colleges still place on admissions exams, you must take your ACT test preparation seriously. Below are more reasons you should study hard for this exam.
Knowing What To Expect
Whether you choose an ACT prep course, a tutor or a study book, you will get sample ACT questions. You will thus know exactly what topics will appear on the test. You will also know the format of the exam and how the questions are usually worded. This should make you feel more confident on the day of the ACT.
During your test prep, you will likely take one or more practice ACT exams. Ideally, you will do these practice exams under the same time constraints you will face the day of the test. This will help you get used to the clock so you won't feel as stressed during the actual exam.
It is no wonder that the College Board found that studying for the SAT can improve your score significantly. The same is likely true for the ACT.
Learning Test-Taking Strategies
There are various strategies that students can use on ACT exams. For instance, they can try working backward on the multiple-choice math problems. They can also use the process of elimination to rule out obviously wrong guesses.
These tricks can both save time and help test-takers answer tricky questions. Most students wouldn’t think of these strategies on their own. Test prep books and ACT classes, however, often emphasize these tactics.
Bridging the Knowledge Gap
Not every high school program is the same. Districts in different cities and states can choose to emphasize certain facts and skills over others. The ACT, however, requires a more specific knowledge base. Test prep classes and tutors can help you learn any materials on which your teachers didn’t focus.
Picking the Right College
Students sometimes don’t know where to begin when it comes to finding the best college for them. An ACT tutor or teacher can help high schoolers gauge which schools they can get into based on their potential scores. The students can then use this information to make a list of their safety, target and reach schools.
Many merit-based scholarships use high school grades and test scores to determine which students receive financial awards. These scholarships can ease the burden of paying for college tuition.
Getting Better Scores the Second Time
Students often choose to retake the ACT in the hopes of bettering their scores. Better test prep can boost your results by a few points. This small improvement can make a big difference. One study found that approximately 33 percent of selective colleges believe a tiny increase in standardized test scores could influence their admissions decisions.
Improving Job Prospects
Doing well on the ACT doesn’t just boost your odds of getting into college. Some employers actually ask job applicants to include their ACT or SAT score with their resumes. While it is unclear if high test scores lead to improved workplace performance, several companies still use the SAT or ACT to whittle down applicants. If you scored poorly on either exam, you could lose out on your ideal job.
Preparing for the ACT will improve your chances of getting a high score. This, in turn, will help you get into college and start the job of your dreams.