4 answers

Do rigorous classes prepare you for the ACT, or will I need a prep class?

Asked Boise, Idaho

Do Honors/AP/College classes prepare you enough for the ACT, or will I need a prep class? I'm trying to figure out if I should try to fit an ACT Prep class into my schedule. Thanks!
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4 answers

G. Mark’s Answer


The obvious answer is that any rigorous preparation will help you with the ACT scores. The question is how to define "rigorous". I would say that anyone motivated to work to prepare for the ACT is already motivated to do the ACT itself. Do you "need" a prep class in addition to those rigorous classes? There are three areas that will get you success in the ACT. First is your studying background. As you mention "rigorous classes", I would say that's a good indicator of your background. The second is the content of those classes and if they cover all the areas that the ACT does itself. The final is practice that will allow you to avoid anxiety or nervousness in a test-taking environment. Prep classes are especially good for that third category, since you'll be very familiar with the situation of taking the ACT.

I've seen statistics that say that a prep class can average a student's increase in the score by 1-4 points. This of course depends on what the situation of that particular student is beforehand. So I'd say that merely taking a prep class will only add to your confidence, and certainly wouldn't hurt. It'll also give you a good indication of what score to expect, and that's got to be good. In my case, I didn't take any prep classes for any of the various state and national tests we took. But that was in prehistoric times when few people at all took prep classes. As for now, the bar has been raised, so I'd recommend it.

Alice Foster’s Answer

Hello, Christian. Rigorous classes do certainly make you more prepared for any entrance exams. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the material. However, there are specifics to structure of the exams—and note that the SAT and ACT differ a bit—that are helpful to prepare for as well. There is evidence that students who take prep courses score better than those who don’t.

Those classes, though, can be expensive. That is why many schools are moving away from making the SAT or ACT mandatory for application; there is some socioeconomic bias to them if not all students cannot afford to take the prep courses. For that reason, the ACT has begun to provide free test preparation through its website. You will find a link to resources under ACT Academy.

mona’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas

Yes, experience is your friend. You will learn the way questions are phrased and make for easier and quicker understand the intent of each question.

If possible take practice SATs. The more you take the test the better you understand the method of questions asked. Some colleges allow use of the highest score from each section instead of the consolidated total.

Shari’s Answer

Updated Adamstown, Maryland

I always suggest taking a prep course for ACT or SAT. They will teach you some good strategies for taking these exams that can really help your scores.