Yesterday, I took my first ACT. It was an interesting experience. I took it at my school, along with what seemed like 200 other people. It’s not surprising that it took about 45 minutes to get from the lunch room through the horrendously long line to the testing room.
I was assigned 408, I knew two others in the room that were also taking the test, so at least I wasn’t alone. I can’t say I was nervous or anything, I love taking tests. No, I wasn’t nervous. I was thirsty! ACT does not allow water in the room during testing, so, sadly, I didn’t get much to drink for four hours. My desk wasn’t wide enough for my test book and answer folder to be side by side together, so that was also a problem.
Legally, I can’t reveal any specific questions or answers for any part of the test, including the writing section, which I also took. It’s safe to say though that there were sections covering English, mathematics, reading and science.
I loved the English test. It didn’t require much struggle or effort. Sometimes there was a confusing question, but generally, I could tell what the test was trying to target. My review book claims that ACT focuses on non-mainstream English and that’s absolutely true. Read this blog and you might have different thoughts than I do, but I try to mix both mainstream and non-mainstream in. I would often wonder, how would I write this? That helped out a little bit, but most of it was just knowing the answer or moving on when I didn’t. I had about 5 minutes left when I was done. I promptly did not look back on any of the questions and instead, made sure my bubbles were completely filled in.
The mathematics section was annoying. It had geometry. It wanted me to know the formula for the area of a trapezoid. Not explicitly though, implicitly. Nevertheless, I had no idea. So I guessed. I took geometry back in eighth grade. It’s been years. There’s no way I’d remember that. Otherwise, I could knock off the algebra and trignometry problems off in seconds. There were pages where I had streaks of 5 second answers. And there were others where it took me a moment or two to figure out what I was doing. I have about 7 minutes left this time and I did the same thing with the time as I did with the English section.
Then we got a 15 minute break. It was wonderful, since I got to drink some water! I doubt I’ve ever seen so thirsty in my entire life. The people I knew who were taking the test along with me in the same room were talking about it. One would always try to defend my intelligence and the other doesn’t know me very well and is incredibly smart. It was great to move around some, because after sitting for an hour and a half, I needed it.
Then, there was the reading section. Historically, I’ve always failed reading sections. Think about it! Do you need sleep to read? Yes! I don’t normally get so much sleep, but since I planned my ACT, I planned my sleeping schedule. Good thinking, because it wasn’t so hard. Some questions asked about placement of paragraphs, sentences and words. Others asks about overall impressions. I don’t have any trouble with this, but sometimes they would ask, “blah blah blah NOT blah blah blah?” which would through me off. I had about 5 minutes left with this one.
The last true test. The science section. This was nasty. It was so horrendous. It was disgusting. There were graphs, tables and other annoyingly technical things. Understanding wasn’t a big deal, only one question really asked if I understood a topic directly. But the others, the questions about figure 2 of rain water, it murdered me. Killed me. Ended my entire life’s aspirations! Not really, but the thoughts going through my mind were, well, since I have no idea what’s going on here, left’s just guess. Guessing may be the wrong word, because I didn’t pick the blatant wrong answer or anything, just whatever looked half way correct.
The writing section was loads of fun. I cannot write on paper. My hands hurt and they’ll hurt more after each word, each letter and each stroke. It wasn’t bad though. The prompt was great, it was halfway revalent to me (see my art credits requirement if I go into PESO.) I was done and I had about 8 minutes left. I reread my paper, all intro-hypothesis and main ideas and conclusion. Then I had 6 minutes. Looking out the window was the best I could do with the remaining time. I’m much better at typing, not only in terms of hands either. When I touch a computer, I feel the freedom instantly revise, to let the planning go out the window, and to feel the ideas fall into my head like snow flakes. See? A simile.
Overall, I thought it was fine. I’d do it again, sometime, if I had to. I’ll probably end up taking the SAT sometime, but that’s another story and obviously another post.
For the record, I did not attend any study groups, read any more material about the ACT topics other than the few pages I briefly glanced at in my $19.97 review book.
Thanks for reading. If you’re taking the ACT, good luck!
In the time since taking the ACT originally in April, I have my score now. I’d say a 27 isn’t too bad.