JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Nationally, Arkansas has seen a very large increase in the number of students taking the ACT test, but that doesn't necessarily mean the scores are where colleges would like them, according to a new report.
According to Forward Arkansas, the state is 6th in the nation for the number of students taking the ACT exam, but only 20% of scores meet college ready benchmarks in all four subjects.
Schools are looking for ways to improve scores and students taking the ACT have some advice.
"You can't give up on the ACT because it is important for your future," Valley View High School senior, Adam Williams said.
Williams took the ACT seven times and did many things to prepare.
"Taking tests at home, I did a prep course with ASU," Williams said. "I did a prep course at school."
Madeline Prestidge, a Valley View High School senior, took it six times. She said she kept taking it to improve her score.
"If you're going to go to Arkansas State, you know, just a point in your score can mean thousands of dollars more per year," Prestidge said.
Williams and Prestidge said taking it multiple times was worth the time and money because they both reached their goal.
"You might get an easier test one day," Prestidge said. "You might be feeling better one day. It just depends on the day and the test, so the more you take it the better."
Roland Popejoy, Valley View High School principal, said another good thing to do is review your scores.
"I think it's also important for the students and their parents to take a look at what score reports that they are receiving to determine what areas of improvement they need to focus on," Popejoy said.
Challenging high school courses can also help students prepare.
"By taking rigorous course work, by working to challenge yourself and themselves in high school, that is going to prepare them for that college experience," Popejoy said. "That is also going to instill in them the work ethic to be successful once they get to college."
While it takes time and dedication, Popejoy said it's worth it for students' futures and their wallets.
"It is a high stakes test in the form of whether the students pay for college or they have it paid for them," Popejoy said.
Popejoy said it's never too early for students to take the ACT, especially for high school juniors. He said to get ACT test scores up students and educators must work together to spot weaknesses and improvements.