Students Prepare for ACT

Spring can be a stressful time for students taking the ACT for the first time. Juniors at Albert Lea High School are required to take the test each year. Many have no clue what they’re going to expect on test day, and many forget about the test until the week before. ALHS is now offering a class to prepare for taking the test: OnToCollege.
The class is taught by Angie Zoller Barker and follows the teachings of John Baylor who is known for his expert advice for students taking the ACT. Baylor claims that his teachings can lead to students raising their ACT composite score by 1-3 points each on average.
“Baylor proves that kids that take it and actually engage with the material increase their ACT scores,” said Zoller Barker.
The ACT consists of five parts: English, math, reading, science and writing. In the class, students are informed about the format of each section of the test and are also taught the different strategies for making the test easier to take and understand.
While quarter three’s class was mostly filled with juniors, one sophomore, Salestina Alitz, chose to take the class ahead of the game.
“I hear a lot of older people talk about how hard it [the ACT] is, so if they’re offering it, I might as well jump at the opportunity and have extra time to prepare for next year,” said Alitz.
The way the class is taught is by showing videos, going over test material in detail, taking practice tests and learning simple tips on how to boost their scores by a few points. The class is graded on individual participation and not by competing with others for higher scores which means that it’s up to the students to get what they can out of the class.
“You are going to get as much out of it as you choose to; so if you are there and are engaged, have pencils ready and are listening to what Baylor has to say, you’re going to get a lot out of it,” said Zoller Barker.
Junior Katie Funk decided to take the class this year because she wanted to perform the best she could on the test.
“I thought it was really helpful, and it really opened my eyes to all the things I didn’t know,” said Funk.
On April 2 the juniors took part in a ‘prepfest’ for the ACT which was led by Zoller Barker, Therese Netzer and the counselors. The prepfest went over the different strategies taught in the class and answered any questions students might have. A video Baylor filmed for ALHS specifically was also shown, and he tried to hype students up for the ACT.
“It is a pleasure to have a small role with your awesome staff and your awesome teachers to ensure you max your scores and max your scholarships, so that every Albert Lea Tiger gets into the best college at the lowest cost,” said Baylor.
While it might not be possible to take the class this year, there are still other ways to prepare for the ACT. Students who still want to learn the material of the prep class can get the login information to Baylor’s website from Melissa Schumann in the counseling office.
There are videos and practice tests online, books available for purchase and teachers that can help with answering questions or providing hard-copy practice tests.