Juniors at Hayes prepare for upcoming ACT


Photo Credit: PxHere

Juniors across Ohio will be taking the ACT on March 9 as part of the state-funded testing initiative. The test day will look a little different this year due to the pandemic, though.

Amanda Stevens, Staff Writer

This year, the state-funded ACT will be held Tuesday, March 9 for all juniors, but test day will be different due to Covid-19 safety protocols.
The test will begin at 7:25 a.m. and end around 11:30 a.m. It should be noted that students who arrive late will not be able to take the test. If a student misses the test for whatever reason, there is a makeup test scheduled for March 23.
On test day, juniors should come to school with several items: their student ID, a calculator, and No. 2 pencils (mechanical pencils are not allowed).
It’s also recommended that they bring a snack and water for their 15-minute break. During the test, food, phones, smartwatches and other electronic devices, will have to be stored away in backpacks.
Within three to four weeks after the test, results will be mailed to students.
Although the test is over a month away, students should start preparing now. However, Covid-19 is also changing what that prep will look like.
“I think, in previous years, our teachers have been able to focus a little bit more on ACT prep,” College and Career Counselor Jennifer Pollard said. “Students are going to have to do a lot of that prep on their own. Although our teachers are going to support that, I think that will be a little bit harder.”
Preparing and studying is particularly important since each part of the ACT is timed.
Juniors will not have to do a writing section, but they will need to study for four other sections – English, math, reading, and science – each of which have varying amounts of questions and time limits.
“Pay attention to the clock. It’s a lot shorter than you think it will be, so manage your time well enough that you can answer every question,” said junior Kailyn Smith, who took the ACT recently. “Do the easier questions first and get them out of the way quickly, so you have more time to try to figure out the harder ones.”
Although juniors take the ACT every year, this year will look different to the ongoing pandemic.
In past years, juniors came into school alone to take the test while everyone else got a three and a half hour delay.
This year, the rest of the student body will have a remote learning day while juniors from both learning cohorts and the Online Academy will come into school to take the test.
However, this grouping concerns some students.
“Honestly, it makes me more than a little nervous. I’m an online student, and I chose that specifically so I wouldn’t have to risk going to school [and] being around other students,” junior Haleigh Watkins said. “My mom is high risk, so I’ve been trying to avoid public places in general. I just hope that the necessary precautions are being put into place, and that all students that take the ACT are safe.”
While taking the ACT during a pandemic is not ideal, the school is making efforts to ensure students’ safety and will follow the safety protocols already in place.
“One of the reasons for asking everybody to go to remote learning that day is so that I can space students out in the building,” Pollard said. “Your class sizes are going to look pretty typical to what you have now…12 to 15 students in a classroom will be spread out.”
In the upcoming weeks, Pollard also said she will be registering students for the test and says that they should not register on their own. She also asks that students keep hold of their ACT ID number, especially if they’ve already taken the test before.
Over the past year, many ACT testing locations have been closed down.
For students who have been able to take the ACT more recently, they know that testing locations took a myriad of safety precautions.
“We had to social-distance, wear our masks the whole time, take temperatures when we entered the building, and use hand sanitizer before and after the test,” Smith said. “Also, the seats were pretty spread out.”
Due to the pandemic, many colleges have become test optional over the past year. However, it is not clear yet what their expectations will be for 2021 admissions.
As a result, there is still pressure to perform well on the test.
“I’m worried that my education has suffered during the pandemic, and that I’m going to do worse because of that…” Watkins said. “I do hope I do good enough to not be written off by the colleges I’m looking into.”
Even though many students are nervous about the test, Pollard wants to reassure them and encourages them to prepare.
“Do your best,” Pollard said. “It’s okay if that first time you don’t get the score you want. You’ve got plenty of opportunities to retake it.”