Invest in ACT Prep Courses
February 3, 2012
Taking an ACT Prep Course can help students raise their test scores and increase their chances of getting into the colleges of their choice. The University of Utah offers five ACT Prep Courses at Park City High School, according to the University of Utah Program Coordinator for Youth Education Luke Lavin, who said the program has expanded since 2006 due to enrollment numbers.
"Students get exposed to the structure of the test, how it’s set up and the parameters. One of the things most students struggle with is time," Lavin said. "To understand how the material is presented and to understand how to best use your time and giving yourself the chance to get a point on every question instead of leaving those questions blank is important."
Prep courses offered at PCHS will begin the week of Feb. 27 on either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and will last seven weeks. Each night will focus on a different section, Lavin said, adding that the last few classes are made up of mock-tests, where students will complete full practice tests and go over their answers. The cost is $189 and includes an ACT Test Prep book, which includes five full-length practice tests.
According to South Summit High School Educational Talent Search Program Advisor Amy Regan, the school is offering an online ACT Prep Course for upperclassmen once a week during lunch. The course is free, Regan said, adding that she uses http://www.number2.com for students to gain access to practice tests.
"It’s not a credit bearing course, but just for students to come in when they can," Regan said. "The website has a nice tutorial that students can go through and then answer a set of practice questions. If they get it wrong, it gives them advice and suggestions to go back and try again."
Most students go into the ACT with no preparation at all, Regan said, adding that the course, starting the first week of March, is designed to help students get through each section of the course and answer all the questions during the actual test.
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"I explain to the kids what the Admissions Index is, that its one of the factors that determines whether you get into college or if you get a scholarship or you don’t," Regan said, adding that this ties together a students’ GPA and ACT score. Where the two meet on the grid is the Admissions Index.
"It’s not the only thing colleges look at, because they are trying to look more holistically at the student, but it still counts," she said. "You have to prove that you are proficient and you prove that by taking the ACT."
North Summit High School Counselor Lance Pace said the school has offered an ACT Prep Course in previous years for students to refresh their knowledge of the material.
"A lot of students get held up on questions that might hurt them in the end," he said. "There are some test-taking strategies that students should be aware of that may help them increase their score.
Sophomore, juniors and seniors are encouraged to take the course to improve upon their test scores, Pace said, adding that North Summit English and math teacher Susan Richins will be teaching the 5-week after school course this year.
"Far too many students approach the ACT Test thinking that their raw talent will be good enough to go up against other schools," Richins said. ‘If they don’t actually practice for the test, then they are competing for scholarship dollars without being prepared."
Students will be independently studying from an ACT Practice booklet, and going over their answers in class with Richins. The course costs $40.
"It needs to be a specifically focused thing and we need to be on the same page so we can get through this," she said. "I can give the students hints about portions of the test and how to look for clues."
The ACT Test is offered several times throughout the year but April is the most popular because it allows juniors enough time to apply for scholarships before college applications are due their senior year. Richins said it also allows sophomores to take the test for the first time, and improve upon their scores by junior year.
For more information regarding the ACT Prep Course offered at Park City High School call the Youth Education department at the University of Utah at (801) 581-6984. To register for the South Summit High School class call (435) 783-4313. For more information or to register for the North Summit High School course call (435) 336-5654.