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ACT Aces: HCS Students Offer Advice on College Prep Exam

Anastasia Zellner, Rory Luthin, Lauren Choi Students across Hoover City Schools accomplish great things each and every day - in and out of the classroom.  Whether academics, athletics, or community service - students make their mark on the world in a number of impactful ways.

Scoring highly on the revered ACT exam proves a crowning academic achievement.  The ACT has been described as a leading U.S. college admissions test measuring what students learn in high school in order to determine academic readiness for college. At Spain Park High School, we caught up with three rising seniors who not only scored highly - they made the top score, a 36.

Lauren Choi, Rory Luthin, and Anastasia Zellner weighed in on their ACT experience and offered advice to student colleagues looking to ace this exam.

Choi made a 36 on her first attempt.  She took all the practice tests in the official ACT prep book and says she went back and reworked problems she missed.  Her advice?

“Spend time practicing your weakest sections until you can answer almost every question correctly. Once you have a solid grasp of the test, you'll feel much more confident walking in the testing room knowing you can - and will - get most of the questions right!”

Luthin took the ACT three times (once in 7th grade, once in summer 2017, and the third time during this past school year). He attended a prep class for the ACT, which says primarily just helped him with exam tips and tricks.  His advice?

“All of the skills tested on the ACT are taught in school, so if you pay attention in class and retain the math and English skills from previous years you will know what to do on the ACT. In my personal experience, reviewing math concepts and grammar rules was effective for the test merely because the test hinges around the concepts, while the finer points of each question are impossible to predict.”

Anastasia Zellner took the ACT two times.  Once as part of the Duke TIP program (and scored a 31).  This past February, she took the ACT again and earned the top score of 36.  Prior to both exams, Zeller took advantage of free online study lessons from Kaplan.  She also took a practice test on the Kaplan website. Her advice?

“To anyone taking the ACT in the future, I would definitely suggest using the easily accessible materials from Kaplan as they have great strategies. In addition, advice or strategies you have received for any standardized test can usually be applied on the ACT; don't spend time relearning what you've already learned - it's better to utilize your time doing practice tests and learning what type of information you will need to include on the writing portion if taking it.”

The ACT tests four subject areas: Reading, Math, English, and Science.  Scoring highly opens up a world of scholarship and college/university placement opportunities for high school students.  For more information, visit the official ACT website: