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ACT Good & Bad

SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2075 replies209 threads Senior Member
My D (junior) received her scores back last night....well, they're good and bad....
E:34 (yay!)
M:26
R: 35 (yay!)
S: 27
Writing - 7 (bummer)

So here are the questions....wow, what's that 7 about on the writing? Is this the type of score that some students find that they can rise on their 2nd attempt? And is "writing" an important score to schools?

And then a generic question: D is going into liberal arts so its good that English & Reading are strong...but am i right in thinking that the Math/Science scores would keep her out of somewhat-competitive schools?

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Replies to: ACT Good & Bad

  • MandalorianMandalorian 1739 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Writing is scored by two independent judges out of 6 pts each for a total of 12. This is a section that often tricks kids. The prompt is worded very casually and wants a personal reply, but what will get the highest score is a very formal reply done in the 3rd person.

    As for Math/Science it really depends on what school.
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  • Bartleby007Bartleby007 493 replies1 threads Member
    A Composite 31 on the ACT is a good score...but it won't be considered particularly impressive at selective, top-tier colleges.

    If a student is motivated and takes the "right" approach, large jumps in the ACT score are possible.

    Did your daughter prepare for the test? I've worked with several students who took the test "cold," earned a 30-31, prepared aggressively, and ended up improving 3-5 points on the ACT...although improvement is typically more modest (1-2 points).
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  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2075 replies209 threads Senior Member
    Thank you! @Bartleby007, she did prep....not as much as kids at CC prep (she had 3 tutoring sessions with an ACT person) but she also didn't go into it cold. I will say that math & science surprised her...in that she's never taken a test where she literally couldn't finish...and, on math, she was bubbling in things without even reading with 1 or 2 minutes left....so I do think she'd understand the complexity and approach far better on a 2nd try. Can you talk a bit more about you define "prepare aggressively."
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  • Bartleby007Bartleby007 493 replies1 threads Member
    "Preparing aggressively" takes time and commitment. It's a process that occurs over the course of several months. It consists of learning test-taking techniques for each section of the test, doing practice problems on a daily basis to reinforce the techniques learned, and doing as many high-quality (made by ACT, Inc., company) full-length practice tests as possible (a minimum of 1 per week leading up to the test date). The prepared student is well-rested, relaxed, and confident. He/she won't be thrown off by one difficult question or passage.

    Most kids don't prepare like this...so they really shouldn't expect extraordinary improvement.

    I've known some kids who, after sustained, quality practice, have improved over 10 points on their composite ACT scores. That's unusual, though.
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  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2075 replies209 threads Senior Member
    Good insights @bartleby007 thank you. (and it really does sound hard...but my kid sort of likes hard stuff so I am showing her your note :)
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  • YoHoYoHoYoHoYoHo 1970 replies31 threads Senior Member
    "Preparing aggressively" is
    1. taking a full length, real ACT, timed, usually approx. once per week on the weekend
    2. scoring it
    3. reviewing all the questions that you got wrong and/or had to guess at
    4. resolving those problems
    5. possibly using another review book such as Barrons 36 ACT to review the topic that you missed in detail during the week
    6. taking another full length, real ACT, timed, usually approx. once per week on the weekend
    7. don't forget to write the essay with each full length practice test
    8. trying various strategies during each timed real ACT test, such as go directly to Science questions before reading the passage, etc.
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  • kansaskid1kansaskid1 356 replies10 threads Member
    edited March 2014
    Southern Hope,
    I agree with the posters above. I am a HS junior. I raised my score from a 22 to 28 with constant focus on prep. Two sections, R/E are now above 30 and I have a 10 on the essay.

    I take one timed section per night using only real ACT tests. I score each section and review what I get wrong.
    Math and science are my weakest areas, so for testing cycle I am doubling M/S practice vs the E/R. By the end of this practice cycle i will have 14 M, 14 S 7R and 7 E sections competed.

    The practice has helped me build confidence.

    I have swim team, so I cannot take a full test every weekend, but I will when I can.
    Good luck to your daughter.
    edited March 2014
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