Mandatory ACT doesn’t faze juniors


Emily Dickson

Junior Rebecca Su frowns at the familiar ACT preparatory book that students used to study for the test. This year, Ms. Witt offered a preparation course that provided these booklets to students wishing to get ahead of the game.

The ACT test conjures up images of college, future and above all, crowded, silent gymnasiums filled with scantrons and troubled students.

One of the most important measures of student ability, the ACT is now preferred over the SAT for college admissions; without it, it would be excruciatingly difficult for colleges to determine which students will join their classes.

In accordance with new a new Missouri initiative, Parkway schools required students to take the ACT and offered a free testing session. Originally, the state considered requiring an exit exam for high school seniors, but agreed instead on a “universal” ACT testing session in early 2014. All juniors took the test the morning of Tuesday, April 28.

“I’m really glad that it’s free,” junior Jordan Neisler said. “It’s nice that my first ACT is free, so if I want to take it again, I will only end up paying for one. They prepared me really well for it with online activities.”

The writing portion of the ACT was no longer optional, it became a requirement. Before this year, it was not offered as part of the free test because it was more expensive.

“I thought the writing test was useful, and we also had a good prompt,” junior Zarah Habbibolah said. “I would have taken it even if it wasn’t required because some schools require the writing portion, so this was a good way to get it done.”

Despite this drastic shift in the ACT testing policy, students generally seem unfazed.

“More for your taxpayer dollars. It’s an over glorified, four-hour true/false thing. Don’t take it too seriously,” junior Rebecca Su said.

Before Tuesday, Su had already taken the test three separate times.

They give you all of the formulas. It’s an open book test… It’s not about how much stuff you know before hand, it’s about how well you can interpret the things they give you,”

— Rebecca Su


For some juniors, like Zoe Goff, the entire testing philosophy is at fault.

“I do not particularly like that everyone is put in a room to test for hours because it is not easy for individuals to speak out to ask a question in that situation,” Goff said. “Plus, so much noise can be super distracting.”

No matter their opinions on the test as a whole, multiple juniors said that the greatest battle in the test is mental.

“If you have the right mindset walking into it, you will be fine,” junior Grace Goedde said.