Changes to ACT Require More Studying for Better Scores

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If you're planning on going to college next year or if you're the parent of a high school senior, you'll want to know about new changes to the ACT test. For some the score they receive can be the difference between getting into their dream school and even getting scholarships.

Twin seniors from Century High School are studying to retake the exam.

A couple nights a week, Will and Luke Huff Towle spend hours studying for the ACT. The twins say they plan to go into a pre-med program and are looking at schools like Yale or Carlton. They're preparing for the test at Sylvan Learning Center hoping that'll result in a better score and scholarships.

"College is getting to be really expensive and my family has three kids in college, is going to have three kids in college at the same time so we wanted to be able to get as much financial aid as possible," Luke said.

The twins are trying to improve their original scores of 33 and 34.

"It's nice to be able to add that extra number," Will said.

Changes to the ACT make studying even more important.

"The test has changed. It's evolved, just as education has evolved. The writing portion I believe is more challenging because your writing from different perspectives," said Maren Gerhardt, Sylvan Learning Center director.

Gerhardt says an additional 40 minutes have been added to the writing portion and the math and science sections have become more challenging. She says it's important to practice.

"I've taken the ACT three times already and that really is one of the best studying tools you can do is take it. Take it more than once," Will said.

Gerhardt says being prepared with the most recent material is the best tool you can have.

"It's not about necessarily doing it the school way. It's about your test taking strategies," Gerhardt said.

All the studying the twins are doing hopefully will result in them scoring a point or two better, which could get them accepted to the college of their dreams.

Prep classes at Sylvan for the March ACT test will begin Feb. 1.

For more information visit Sylvan's website, sylvanlearningcenter.com, or the ACT's website, act.org, where you can find study materials and take free online practice tests.