Juniors Share Thoughts on the ACT

As the juniors at Arrowhead took the ACT on March 7, 2023, many of them had differing opinions on the test and how it went. 


The ACT, according to ACT. org, “contains four multiple-choice tests—English, mathematics, reading, and science—and a writing test. These tests are designed to measure skills that are most important for success in postsecondary education and that are acquired in secondary education.”


Juniors Eiley Brahm, Raina Roche, and Anthony Marsali, all had similar experiences with the ACT. 


Brahm said, “I think that it wasn’t too difficult…The only issue I had was length. Especially for the grammar part, 75 questions in 45 minutes was a bit challenging.”


There are four sections of the ACT and each one has a different time frame. English is 45 minutes, math is 60 minutes, science and reading are 35 minutes, and the additional writing option is 40 minutes. This writing portion is also required for all students and is administered with the other portions of the test according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.


Marsali said, “The test itself wasn’t that bad. The hardest part of the test was pacing myself because you have like no time.”


For students worried about time, Marsali recommended that they start off with problems that are easier for them to solve and then return back to the more difficult ones. Also, Marsali says test-takers should try not to stress when hitting hard questions as it is easier to circle back after completing some of the easier questions.


Although both juniors said they didn’t think the test was extremely difficult, Brahm said, “I have very low confidence for my score, so I’d say I got somewhere between a 19-24.” 


The average ACT score from the 2021 juniors at Arrowhead was 22.5, which was above the national average. The national ACT score for juniors was 19.8 and the average score colleges look for was a minimum of 21 for less competitive schools and 31 to 36 for more competitive schools, according to the Best Colleges website.


Roche said, “I actually feel really good about how I did. I was aiming for a 30, but I definitely think I got somewhere between a 28-30, which is good because I wanted at least a 27, so I could use the score in my college application at Madison. I know they don’t require it, but it definitely helps to make me stand out.”


Not every college requires the ACT, but the UW-Madison college website states, “Including scores from either the ACT or the SAT with your application is optional and you will not be disadvantaged in our evaluation process if you choose to not include these scores for consideration in your application. You can indicate your choice regarding including test scores at the time of application.”


Since the amount of effort students put forth varies and impacts the score students receive, Roche and Brahm said they put forth effort as they both wanted to get a good score. 


“I tried to give it my all. On a scale of one to 10, I would say my effort was an eight. It was hard to give 100% effort when some of the questions were based on higher level classes I am not yet in,” said Brahm.


On the math portion of the ACT, the main tested topics are “pre-algebra, elementary algebra, and intermediate algebra questions; plane geometry and coordinate geometry questions; and some trigonometry questions,” as reported by the Princeton Review.


All three juniors agreed that the school and Arrowhead staff members prepared them well for the ACT.


“I think the school does a very good job of preparing juniors for the ACT starting all the way in freshman year. I think that some preparation tools like practice tests given out by teachers could be beneficial,” said Brahm. 


Marsali said, “I really recommend for the people taking the ACT to use the Xello website which has an exam practice tab which helped me to study.”


Other options are available for taking the ACT. There are national test dates where students are able to either retake the ACT or take it for the first time. The next test date is April 15th, and the registration deadline is March 24th, and failure to register in time will result in a late fee. All students who still need to register can register here!

June 10th and July 15th are the next two days scheduled for test-taking. Each ACT retake will cost $60 per test section and $85 with the writing section included.