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06/07/2020 at 01:42PM

It's my last year of highschool. Any advice?

Hello, CollegeVine community! My last year of highschool is next year. I need some advice on how to bump up my application in front of admissions officers. I plan on re-taking my ACT which is really vital for me. How do I raise my score by six points (my collegevine tells me I need to raise it six points to reach my target school)? Any advice from people who did well on the ACT will help! I also have a few extracurriculars under my belt but I need some more guidance regarding how to polish my resume. Thanks!

@cp83906/07/2020 at 04:17PM

Are there any particular sections of the ACT you need to improve the most?

[🎤 AUTHOR]@Lulubee06/07/2020 at 04:26PM

Math and Science. English is my strong suit...

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2 answers

06/07/2020 at 05:20PM[edited]

As far as ACT prep goes 6 points is a lot to raise by your test date. I’m assuming you’re taking the exam in sep/oct since you will probably be applying in Nov for ED/EA or definitely Dec for general/regular admissions. You can definitely improve your score but you will need a LOT of dedication, focus, and motivation. look for as many free resources online as you can, like study strategies, practice exams, practice questions, free tutoring or help videos, etc. Method Test Prep is free through Khan Academy (i think this might only be available if your school pays for your membership but you should still check it out regardless). You should make a daily study schedule and make sure you keep to it - the key is efficiency and "smart" studying rather than just doing practice problems - make sure you learn the material you still don't know/are confused on and learn from your mistakes to avoid repeating them.

IMO the biggest and most helpful resource is an ACT prep book (princeton review makes a great one and it's around $20). It has many many practice tests, questions, and sections that explain everything. There is also so much stuff available on the internet that is free for you to use. If you can afford it you really should consider investing in some ACT tutoring as well; idk how it would work with the current coronavirus situation but it might be remote via zoom.

For extracurriculars try to start your own initiative if possible (blog, club, website, etc) and you want to show dedication, time commitment, leadership (officer positions) if possible, and awards/recognition. Try to get leadership position or awards in extracurriculars that you’re already in. It helps if your extracurriculars are centered around the field you want to study in college.

Accepted Answer
[🎤 AUTHOR]@Lulubee06/07/2020 at 05:36PM

Thank you so much. Your comment is so comprehensive. I was ctually studying for the ACT right now before I was notified of your comment. I have dedicated one hour a day until my test date (possibly October) but I'm bumping it up to 2. For books, do you think Kaplan is better than Princeton Review or no? Thanks!

@crsgo042206/07/2020 at 05:59PM

of course i’m so glad it helped!! i’m taking the sat but i used both princeton and kaplan for psat prep. i liked princeton better but it’s a personal preference. one company also may make some books that are good for certain tests but not others, for example i use barrons for subject tests and aps but i’m not a fan of their sat book. i advise to decide for yourself. your local library or high school library/guidance office most likely have a section of these various books to borrow or look at

@crsgo042206/07/2020 at 06:01PM

you might be able to go to barnes and noble or another book store and compare them in store too. if it’s not a big financial burden the easiest way is buy both and test them, and if you don’t like one just use it for practice tests

[🎤 AUTHOR]@Lulubee06/07/2020 at 06:04PM

Awesome, I'll be sure to compare study strategies. Thank you.

@adri06/09/2020 at 06:23PM

get the black book for ACT... it helped me get a 34.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@Lulubee06/10/2020 at 04:21AM

What black book? Are you talking about Kaplan? That's the current one I'm using...

@adri06/10/2020 at 07:03PM
06/07/2020 at 05:36PM

I got a 36 on both of those sections and I’ll give some advice on each of these that has helped me and other people I know.

Math: People who struggle with math usually do so because of the time constraints. The best way to combat this is to do practice sections with more time than usual and slowly get down to the normal limit. Also keep in mind that the questions get harder toward the end. So try to avoid rushing and missing an easier question just so you can attempt a question you have a higher chance of missing. All questions are weighted the same.

Science: The technique that I see touted the most for science is annotating. This is to say you make small notes of what the question is looking for so that you can quickly identify what you’re looking for on the chart. For example if a question is asking you to identify the river with the greatest ph in a specific year. You would write down next to the question : river , >, ph, (year). This helps clarify the question and makes the answer easy to identify.

Hope this helps!

[🎤 AUTHOR]@Lulubee06/07/2020 at 06:08PM [edited]

I like the specificity of your answer. I did run out of time on the Math AND Science sections, which is why I'm retaking them. Do you think the science section requires advanced science knowledge or not? I feel that it is all about analyzing graphs. Do you annotate the questions first or do you read the passages first (for science)?

@cp83906/07/2020 at 06:49PM

The science requires no advanced science knowledge at all. I tried to make sure I knew what each graph corresponded to do I didn’t have to figure it out each time. For the questions that have only graphs I think I only annotated the questions but when you study and find books you can see what works best for you. The conflicting viewpoints questions (where information is given in paragraph form and is compared to other paragraphs) are definitely the most tricky and I marked the passages first