• In keeping with its commitment to graduating students who are college and career ready, Jackson Public Schools is providing the information below to help students be successful on the ACT.

    Preparing for the Test

    JPS schools keep a supply of test prep materials for students to use. Students can ask for ACT practice materials in their school’s library or counselor’s office. Career and technology teachers also help students access online ACT test prep through an online portfolio service. Students usually create their logins in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) classes in high school.

    Besides the resources available to JPS students at their schools, many community-based programs exist to help students prepare for the test. Programs range in expense and course delivery. Most of the programs include study materials in print.


    ACT—the official website of the ACT offers affordable online training and books for individuals preparing to take the ACT. The online training is less than $25 for a full year. The official guide with five practice tests can be ordered for around $35. The site also includes free practice tests for each subject area.

    Bridges—provides access to the Choices online portfolio service. It is available to students enrolled in JPS high schools, the Career Development Center, and the Capital City Alternative School. In addition to career planning and exploration, Choices provides online training in a variety of subjects including the ACT. Students create their logins in STEM or ICT classes.

    Learn-A-Test—a free learning platform hosted by the Jackson Hinds Library System available to all library patrons. Look for ACT courses under the College Preparation tab.

    Instructor-led Workshops

    ESF Get 2 College ACT Prep Workshops—free ACT prep workshops for high school students offered on Saturdays one week prior to ACT test dates through April. Advance registration is required. Check their ACT prep page often for open registration and training dates.

    Millsaps College ACT Test Prep Course—test prep courses offered on Saturdays one week before ACT test dates. The course cost is $70.

    Mississippi College ACT Reviews—test prep courses offered on Saturdays for high school students. The course cost is $60.

    Many faith-based organizations and institutions of higher learning in the area are good places to check for ACT preparation workshops.

    Questions & Answers

    What is the ACT?

    The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. There is a 30-minute Writing test add-on that is required by some colleges.

    Why take the ACT?

    All four-year colleges and universities in the United States accept the ACT for admission. Other reasons for taking the ACT according to the company’s website include:

    • Questions are based on what students actually are learning.
    • There are many ways to prepare for the ACT.
    • Students can choose which scores they send to colleges.

    What are some tips for doing well on the ACT?

    • Read all questions and follow the instructions.
    • Be conscious of the time; it is a timed test.
    • Answer all questions; there is no penalty for guessing.
    • Don’t spend too much time on the difficult questions; skip and come back to them.
    • Learn more testing tips on the ACT website.

    How do colleges use ACT scores?

    The Composite score is used for admission, but the subtests are used to schedule classes. Students’ scores in English and Math determine if they will take developmental or regular courses. Some colleges require the writing test.

    How many times can a student take the ACT?

    Students can test as many times as they like. According to the ACT website, 57% of retesters increased their Composite score.

    How early should students take the ACT?

    Unless they qualify for the Duke TIP program, middle school students should probably wait to take the ACT. In most cases, they have not had the courses that would help them do well. They would do better taking the EXPLORE test which is a pre-ACT for eighth and ninth graders.

    How much does it cost to take the ACT?

    The test fee covers reports for up to four college choices. Check the ACT website for the most recent testing fees.

    Are there opportunities to take the ACT for free?

    Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch can take the ACT up to two times with a fee waiver. Students in 11th and 12th grade are eligible. Students must contact a school counselor for an ACT Waiver Form.

    Parents and students are encouraged to talk with their high school counselors for information about the ACT.

    For more information, including registration, checklists, testing schedules and more, visit

Last Modified on January 31, 2019