written by Blake Evans, College of Liberal Arts Graduate Assistant
On Tuesday, September 17, students and citizens of Macon County gathered at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tuskegee to begin preparing for the ACT exam, a standardized test which provides colleges a measurement when considering students for acceptance. The meeting was guided by Gabrielle Lamplugh, a senior at Auburn University, and me; however, our duties were easy compared to the immense effort the participants exerted to prepare for their ACT. If a student scores high on the exam, then he or she can not only get accepted into an institution of higher education, but that student can also earn scholarships and financial awards. Every student in the nation who takes the ACT is competing against everyone else; therefore, it is important that students take the test very seriously and study thoroughly, just as the students did in Tuskegee.
The meeting with the students was the first of five sessions which make up a comprehensive ACT prep course that is designed to equip participants with skills to succeed on the test. The ACT is broken into four subject areas: Reading, English, Math, and Science. The ACT prep course includes one session on each of the four areas and then one review session. The first session focused on Reading.
The goal of the Reading session was to improve students’ ability to comprehend lengthy and information-dense passages quickly and efficiently. One of the main problems students face with these kinds of tests is completing the exam on time. However, emphasis was placed on speed reading, and advice was given concerning how to identify key points throughout readings, such as paying close attention to the beginning and end paragraphs. While students still experienced struggles with completing the passages and answering every question in a short amount of time, their skills will continue to improve as they continue to practice.
Most of the students who are attending the ACT prep course in Tuskegee are taking the exam for the very first time. Although they are about to have a new life experience, they have been preparing for this opportunity practically their entire lives. Every hour they have spent in classrooms has prepared them for the ACT exam. They should be confident because they in no way lack preparation. The ACT prep course is simply a tool to bring to the forefront those skills which are most beneficial for students when taking the ACT. The next few weeks of the course will continue to draw on their many various classroom experiences to equip them with the necessary skills and concepts to successfully take the ACT exam.