ACT up


Catherine McCandless

ACT preparations can be time consuming and expensive for many students.

*This piece is entirely satirical

Ah, the joy of waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning, grabbing your favorite pair of number two pencils and your TI-84 and pulling up to school to take the American College Test. Or, as us teens so lovingly call it, the ACT

The ACT has been around since 1959, when a professor named Everett Franklin Lindquist created it to compete with the SAT, which was created in 1930 to test students applying to Ivy League schools. But now, in 2020, almost everyone takes the ACT, whether or not you are applying to an Ivy League school. How fun is that?

You might be asking yourself, do I have to take the ACT if I want to go to college? To which I will respond, why would you not want to? You get to sit in silence for four hours with a bunch of strangers while pushing yourself to your mental limit and beyond. Meanwhile, the constant motivational dread of missing your goal score and therefore sacrificing your entire future hangs over your head. But the answer is no, of course, you don’t have to take the ACT. Instead, you could take the SAT, an almost identical test without the science portion, or you could skip both tests entirely. There are now over 150 colleges in the United States that are “test-optional,” but why you would want to deprive yourself of the intellectually enriching experience of taking the ACT is beyond me. 

Realistically, you should begin preparing yourself for the ACT around fourth grade. If you want maximum advantage on the test, you should have already been in intense tutoring for several years now. If you haven’t started yet, shame on you, but there might still be time to catch up. However, if $300 a week for a one-hour session isn’t in your family’s budget, you might as well give up on college.

After hours of training and prep, you pay the $46 test fee to register, a small price to pay for a wonderful morning of testing. Don’t register late though, or you have to pay $29 more. If you get sick or can’t take the test for some reason, you have to cough up an additional $32. But that is no big deal. If you want to give even more money to the wonderful organization that is the College Board, there are plenty of opportunities to purchase additional score reports: add writing to your test or purchase a copy of the actual test and your answers. 

What happens if you don’t get the score you were hoping for? Take it again, of course. You can take the ACT 12 times, but most people take it two or three times. You should take it 12 times though, just to be safe. The ACT is the most important thing you will ever do in your life. It determines everything, from which college you will get into to how much scholarship money you will receive. We should be grateful for the ACT. Because this test is the only way to tell how smart and capable someone is.