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October ACT for Junior Too Soon?

FlyerDadFlyerDad Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
Hello all: Single dad and stressing. DS had a 34 on a practice ACT as a sophomore in April. His high school counselor recommended that he take the ACT early this year to get it out of the way and clear the deck for subject tests in the spring. I understand the ACT is based more on school learning. My question is, would signing up for the ACT for October 28 be too soon (with December 9 as back up)? Or would December 9 be better (with February as backup). I guess the advantage to October is that studying wouldn't be complicated by finals, but obviously want him to have his best shot for doing well and hopefully just one time. Would really appreciate any perspectives.
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Replies to: October ACT for Junior Too Soon?

  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 809 Member
    I don't think Oct is too early. My kid took it September of junior.... you need to look into his other schedule....say sports and school midterm
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 1,159 Senior Member
    What was the format for the practice ACT? Was it a real test in test conditions? For a very strong student with a shot in the high 30s waiting probably won't change much, but he should still prep., so whenever his prep time pays is the optimum time. What is the plan for prep?
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 16,142 Senior Member
    edited September 11
    If she is thoroughly prepared, it is the right time to take it. This would allow plenty of time for backup plan if needed. Both my D's took the first SSATAT around that time although the school district pay for a state mandated ACT/SAT in Spring of Junior year. The goal is to finish all standardized tests before senior year.
  • FlyerDadFlyerDad Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Hi Sybylla: The test was administered by Applerouth--it was proctored online but he took it at home. So it may not be predictive. He will be prepping with a tutor who specializes in kids with higher test scores (above 80%).
  • droppeditdroppedit Registered User Posts: 655 Member
    We had D18 take a practice ACT in February of 10th grade. Her public HS had the 10th graders take a practice PSAT in Oct of 10th grade so we figured, why not take a practice ACT as well. I think it worked out nicely because it demystified both standardized tests in 10th grade and set her up for the official tests in 11th grade (she took all three, PSAT, SAT, and ACT, in Oct of 11th grade).

    I would definitely have your S take the Oct ACT. It gives him plenty of time to take it again if necessary. If he does great then he's done with the ACT tests.

    Note: definitely take the ACT/SAT with essay. I didn't do that with D18 last year and she had to take them again this September with essay because at least one of the colleges she's applying to *requires* the essay.
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 809 Member
    it is so helpful for us to complete the test before senior year as she can take subject test in June of junior year and has an idea of what colleges to visit.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 5,756 Senior Member
    I would destress and let him take it in October, but be clear that if he is not happy he can retake later. Lots of kids still taking them in senior year. D took the SAT twice and the ACT once. S took both SAT and ACT in June before senior year. There's no harm in taking it now, even if it's just for a baseline.
  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN Registered User Posts: 2,820 Senior Member
    edited September 12
    Not too early at all. Mine finished testing in the fall of junior year. Made it pretty darn nice when the AP tests and subject tests roll around in the spring - didn't have to worry about the biggies. But still allows plenty of time to take it again and prep if they want (or need) to go for bigger score.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 16,142 Senior Member
    @sylvan8798 I want to clarify what you mean by baseline. Taking a test without preparation is a very bad idea. It is not only a waste of time and money, it will potentially invalidate the score from the next attempt after preparation. For baseline score, one just need to do practice test. Every year I read posts from students saying their test scores got cancelled because of a large improvement and they do not have enough time to retake before EA/ED deadline.
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 809 Member
    ^^agreed. Not to mention some kids afraid that they have to send all the scores including the "baseline" scores.
  • caymusjordancaymusjordan Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    My son took his first ACT in October of Junior year - he did prep for it, although not too much. He got a 33, wasn't happy so did some tutoring and took it again in December of his Junior year. He was happy with his second score and it freed him up to focus on his Subject Tests, AP exams and extracurricular activities.

    If he is wanting to take it in October, then I would say go for it, but I agree that he should do some preparation prior to taking it. My son's Pre-ACT that he took his sophomore year had him scoring at a 35 - it made him a bit over-confident.
  • blueskies2dayblueskies2day Registered User Posts: 746 Member
    edited September 13
    In effort to rid CC of it's reputation that scares off students, because it seems everyone that posts here has a 36 or 1600, keep in mind less that one percent score a 35 or 36, only 1 % score a 33 or 34. Most people would be thrilled with the magical 32 or above - but alas, less than 5% get a 32 or above. So 95% don't. Keeping it real.

    2017 numbers:

    36 2,760 0.136%
    35 12,386 0.610%
    34 20,499 1.010%
    33 26,920 1.326%

    Post edited by vonlost on
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 809 Member
    I have no doubt OP's son is, at least, in the 1%. @blueskies2day are the above full year numbers? or per test?
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 1,159 Senior Member
    Just add up that total of kids in the >33 and that should light a fire under any smart kid that would otherwise slack. Over 62000 kids just in that group alone.
    Keep it real indeed. These kids are all chasing places or merit. It is worth a bit of sweating.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    No, not if he's testing with a 34 on practice ACTs. Definitely DO the essay with the test. But don't sweat it at all if he doesn't do great on that section.

    On the topic of baseline scores, I think they're perfectly fine to do if you're in a position to do them as a 7th-9th grader through a talent search when you won't be retaking for a year. My kid started the ACT in 7th and has consistently come up 4 points per year with almost no prep (making larger and smaller individual score gains) and is very zen with the process now. He is taking the PSAT as a jr this fall and we will go into actual ACT prep mode after that for a hopefully final ACT in the spring.
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