My Experience Taking the ACT

On Tuesday, April 24th, 2018, all of the Juniors at Jenks took the American College Testing Exam, otherwise known as the ACT, in several testing areas around Jenks High School. The test was free, paid for by the school, to help students gain college readiness and feedback about their strengths as well as weaknesses in areas of education. I took notes about how the day went and what my experience was taking the ACT for the first time.

Before Going to School:

On the day of the ACT, I woke up around 6:30 in the morning, only wanting to go back to sleep as I didn’t go to bed until about 1:00 a.m. the night before due to the amount of homework I needed to complete. Somehow, I was able to drag myself out of bed and start to slowly get ready for the day. For breakfast, I ate a bowl of plain cheerios, hoping that it would keep me full until lunchtime.  I accidently took too long getting ready and practically ran out the door to my car with only about 20 minutes remaining until we had to be in the testing area.


Getting to School:

Knowing that I might be late and with the fear of not taking the test, I sped when I could (only 10 mph above the speed limit). Somehow though, there was so much traffic and I got every red light there possibly was. I also got stuck behind some grandpa driver and could not pass him, and he was going way under the speed limit. I just kept yelling, “GO, GO, GO, GO” at everyone even though I knew that they couldn’t hear me. Finally, I made it to school, having to wait for a long time for kids to cross the road, some of them not even on the crosswalk.


Going to the Testing Room:

I ended up having to park really far back in the building five parking lot, and I also had to drop off my bags in the guard room. People were walking irritably slow, and I was practically running to the guard room, and then back to the TAC because I did not want to be late to the testing area. Finally, I made it to the TAC and students were still walking in, so I was relieved. My sister was waiting in the line, so I gave her her ID that she left at home and made me bring to her. We then checked in and found our seats at white, plastic fold up tables with two hard, metal seats per table. I was really surprised about this point because some people were walking in 15 minutes late and still being allowed to test. I was a little but frustrated because I rushed all the way there with the warnings of being late in the back of my head and yet people still had their phones on them that they had to put away and such. I also had to take off my Fitbit watch because it is considered an “activity” band, which is also frustrating because it is so hard to tell time in a gym with metal bars covering the clocks.


Test #1 English:

First, we got our testing sheets that we filled out about a month earlier and also our big, thick testing books. The book was sealed, and of course when I tried to open it I tore a big part of the page and was pretty sure the guy sitting next to me was judging hard-core. This section consisted of grammar and finding which phrases sounded better than others and looked correct in short passages that were mostly concerned with history. There were 75 questions in a span of 45 minutes, and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t have enough time to complete the section without rushing through it. However, I was able to feel unstressed and just go through the questions. In my opinion, I thought that most of them were really easy, and I had a couple minutes to spare at the end to relax.


Test #2 Math:

The second test for the ACT was math, 60 questions in 60 minutes. I was really glad that we were able to use calculators because I feel like it would have taken me about twice as long without it. This was a really quick turnaround from the first test, and I was still feeling cold. Bright lights of the gym were reflecting off of my paper into my sensitive eyes. Nonetheless, I got into my testing zone and worked out the problems when time began. I was very glad because they were much easier than the practice ACT math portion that I had taken in Pre-Calc a couple months earlier. They started off mostly with Pre-Algebra and then moved on Algebra, Geometry, and so on. Overall, it was much easier than I thought that it was going to be, and I had to guess on about 7 questions towards the end due to time restrictions.


Break #1:

Around 11:00 am, we took a break to use the restroom and walk around for a couple of minutes. At this point, I was still really cold. I’m just one of those people that always gets cold, and I think that the administrators thought, “Well, there’s going to be a couple hundred kids in here, it’s going to get hot.” But NO. It didn’t. Cold air was blowing on me. Also, the TAC has four stalls in the bathroom, one of them that doesn’t lock, so it took about 15 minutes for everyone to use the bathroom and get back to the testing area. Also, everyone thought that it would be time for lunch, however they said that we were not allowed to have lunch for about two hours until after we had completed the multiple choice sections of the test. My stomach was growling, and even though I was hungry, I still did the best I could on the next tests.


Test #3 Reading:

The next test that we took was the reading section. I was already nervous for this section because my older sister had told me that it was the hardest one of them all, due to the limited amount of time and several passages that you had to read. We had to look over about five passages and then answer about 10 questions for each, all in thirty minutes. After spending too much time on the first passage, I decided to not even read the selections and just search for the answers as fast as I could. Even so, I still had an entire selection left when 5 minutes was called, so I just had to guess. I was very relieved when this test was over, as it was very stressful and boring.


Test #4 Science:

The last multiple choice test we took was science. It was an easy test, yet it was time consuming. I had to search multiple graphs and read lots of lab instructions. Most of the time, it didn’t take too terribly long, however I still had one experiment left to do when five minutes was called, so I figured out as many as I could then, just guessing on the last few. The test included lab experiments and results related to mostly biology, however there was some chemistry and a little bit of physics mixed in.


Lunch Break:

After the science test, we were finally able to have lunch, and it was around 1:30 p.m. We were not allowed to eat in the testing area, so we grabbed our lunches from the side of the wall and ate in the TAC lobby. There were food specialists in the concessions window, distributing sack lunches and chips to those who needed them. We were given about 45 minutes to eat and rest, which was very nice because I could finally lean my back up against the wall. I was still cold, and so I tried to cross my arms, but that didn’t work very well to keep me warm. What I thought was insanely funny was that the test monitors stood in front of the doors and blocked them with their bodies. I doubted that anybody would leave and invalidate their test after all we had just done. Mr. Fox also walked around the whole lobby, asking us how we were an telling us that we were very close to being finished with the test, just trying to hype us up.


Writing Portion:

The last section of the test we took was the writing portion. One of the test monitors collected our other test booklet, and gave us a folder with a seal on it for the writing  prompt. Once again, being the person that I am, I completely ripped about 3 inches of the folder when no one else seemed to be having trouble with it, and it made a loud ripping sound. In my opinion, the prompt was very dense because it gave you three different sides to choose from, basically implying that you did not have to do any thinking for yourself. I ended up spending way too much time on the introduction, so I had to rush the rest of my essay. Overall, it was alright, and I could tell that everyone was squirmy and ready to leave towards the end.


After the Test:
After finishing the writing portion of the ACT, the test booklets were collected and everyone started getting up from their chairs and dancing around. This one girl in particular, was literally jumping around and talking about how she wanted to get in her car and drive home. It was about 2:15 p.m. on a Tuesday block day, and I was really hoping that I could just go home as well because I wanted enough time to get ready to work. Also, my 6th hour teacher said that we would not have to worry about making anything up. Finally, the test monitor said that we were “dismissed”, so I took that as “go home without punishment.” I filed out with the other students and headed to my car as many others did too, exhausted from the test and hoping that I did well.

By: Jordan Brunk

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