After four and a half hours, juniors at Black River Falls High School put down their number 2s and said goodbye to their pre-ACT, a practice designed to prepare them for the official test.

The ACT is an exam that determines the student’s expertise in five categories: English, mathematics, reading, science and writing. The top score is 36.

“I want to do good on the actual one, so this will prep me for that,” junior Courtney Konicki said.

The pre-ACT helps students with time management and makes them aware of what they will need to practice before taking the real test. They can then take time studying the specific area months in advance if they’d like to.

“The ACT helps you get into college if you want to go and research shows if you prep for the ACT, even by taking a minor course, it can raise your score three to five points which can get you scholarships,” school counselor Kellen Holden said.

Junior Zane McPeak said that he did some math practices to prepare himself before the practice test on October 17th.

“During the summer, I did take a few days to sit down and work on the ACT prep that goes through Career Cruising,” said junior Laura Hefty.

Junior Jenna Quackenbush said that she didn’t prepare for the pre-ACT since it was only a practice. Quackenbush said that the real one was more important and that the pre-ACT was preparing her for it.

Juniors had previously taken the Aspire test, which assesses students’ readiness in the five areas covered by the ACT.

The Aspire can help students determine what colleges they can apply for and can help them figure out how much their score needs to increase to go to the college of their choice.

“I was pretty happy with my reading, English and science scores, but most importantly, I was worried about my math score,” said junior Rineah Williams.

Williams said that she is nervous and hopes to receive a good score on when she takes the real ACT.

The average ACT score is a 21, the 25th percentile is a 16, and the 75th percentile is a 24. This means if you score a 16, you’ve scored better than 25% of those who’ve taken the ACT.

“If I don’t know a question, I’ll skip it,” said junior Eric Wojtalewicz.

While this approach is okay, it would be a better idea to make an educated guess, since you get one point for every correct answer and no points for a skipped or incorrect answer.

“I thought it helped so I know what will be on the real deal,” said Hefty.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking and it made me realize how serious I need to be about it when the time comes,” said Williams.