The American College Test, more commonly known as the ACT, can present a series of stressful challenges for high school students across the country.

At Clinton High School, instructors are set on easing the minds of River Kings and Queens through an intensive ACT preparatory course offered to students who are getting ready to take the important test.

Members of the school’s counseling department have been holding the course, catering to roughly 15 or 20 students, on Thursday mornings as the October ACT opportunity nears. Using a software called “eKnowledge,” the preparing students are able to get a hands-on look at the four standard subjects: English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning.

The software, and the instructors, are getting eager students ready to take the crucial exam.

“This really is a great opportunity for the kids,” CHS counseling department chairwoman Suzanne Schrader said. “I think they know that too, and the participation has been really good. It’s not surprising to us, I don’t think, because the students understand how helpful this can be for them.”

The course, taking place over a roughly 10-week window, begins with students grasping the basics of the test, and getting acquainted with the eKnowledge platform.

From there, the in-depth analysis of the ACT really begins, full-speed ahead, with assistance and collaboration following every step of the way.

“After the students are familiar with everything, that’s when we’ll break down every test; the math, reading, English, and science areas,” CHS counselor Amanda Steines said. “They’re learning some specific strategies that apply to each individual test, and a lot of other information that they can apply when they’ll actually be taking the ACT.”

But the ACT isn’t all about putting pencil to paper and hopefully filling in the correct bubble. The psychological aspect can be taxing on the young students.

But at CHS, the prep course is tackling the stress management aspect that can come with taking the exam, as well.

“That’s actually the last lesson that the students learn during the course,” Steines said. “They learn some different strategies on how to relax and manage the pressure, because it can be a lot. There are different strategies for handling the test anxiety that they’ll pick up to help them out.”

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