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— By BRADLY GILL

Staff writer

For more than 50 years, the ACT has been a standard for entering most colleges, and prep courses are proven to increase scores among students. However, the Camden Fairview School District was in danger of losing its ACT Prep Program, until Blake Fain, president of the Camden division of Farmers Bank and Trust, stepped in.

“I have an older daughter that graduated in 2011 and she took part in the ACT prep program that was provided by the school district,” said Fain. “She took it in the summer and raised her ACT score six points from going through that prep class. Really, she said that’s what helped her figure out how to take the test better.”

Fain said her scholarship money increased by almost $80,000.

When another of Fain’s children was set to take the test this year, he found out that the grant money for the program was no longer available.

“One of the things Farmers Bank tries to do is, we try to be good corporate citizens and we try and do things in the community that will have the biggest amount of impact with our investment dollar. We want to have the maximum return on the amount we invest in the community,” he said. “I just remembered how much it saved my family through my daughter going through this course. I thought, ‘If we could do this for 50, 60 or 70 families, what a huge savings this would be and how great it would be if we could do that.’”

After a conversation with Camden Fairview High School Principal Gary Steelman and the board of Farmers Bank and Trust, a plan was put to together to fund the ACT Prep course for the 2018-2019 school year.

For six Saturdays, students attended free classes in ACT prep work. If a student attended four of the classes, Farmers also paid for their ACT registration fee, which currently costs $58.50.

Steelman said the program has been a big success.

“It’s been a big asset to us and I wanted to keep it going,obviously, ” he said. “We provided six sessions, the last one was Feb. 2, that’s just a refresher course. So far it’s worked really well. It’s just something that, the kids, we owe it to them to give them every chance. One or two points can make the difference between scholarship or not.”

Steelman said 43 students will take the test free of charge on Saturday, Feb. 7, thanks to the donations.

Steelman added that the coursework consisted of practice tests as well as test taking strategies, and that repeat exposure helped some students who suffered test anxiety.

“We’re going to try and do it again sometime in the near future,” he state.

And Fain added:

“What we’d like to do is keep this (the program) in place ,and hopefully some folks will start to catch wind of this and some state legislators and some of the folks around here that represent us will try and figure out a way to get some of that funding back so we don’t have to make donations to get this done anymore.”

Act.org gives recommendations, and these suggestions apply to the four multiple choice tests.

• Pace yourself

It is important that you have enough time to read the page questions and figure out your responses. For each test, subtract the number of minutes you estimate you will spend skimming the passages or reading the information provided, then divide the total number of remaining minutes allowed by the number of questions to determine the estimated time you should spend on each question. If possible. spend less time on each question and use the remaining time allowed for a test to review your work and return to the questions on that test that were more difficult for you.

The time limits set for each test give nearly everyone enough time to finish all questions. However, you will want to pace yourself to avoid spending too much time on one part of puzzling over an answer to a specific problem. Go on to other questions and come back if there is time

• Read the directions carefully

Before you begin each test, read the directions carefully The mathematics tests for the correct answer. You may want to work out the answer you feel is correct and look for it among the choices given if your answer is not among the choices provided. Read the question and consider all the answer choices

• Read each question carefully

You need to understand exactly what each question asks. Some questions will require you to go through several steps to find the correct or best answer, while others can be answered more quickly

• Answer the easy questions first

A good strategy is to answer the easy questions and skip the questions you find difficult. After Browsing the easy questions go back and answer the more difficult questions if you have time

The English, reading, and science tests ask for the best answer. Read and consider all of the answer choices and choose the answer that best responds to the question Use logic on more difficult questions.

When you return to the more difficult questions., try to to eliminate incorrect answers. Compare the answer choices to each other and note how they differ. Such differences provide dues as to what the question requires. Eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can then make an educated guess from the remaining answers.

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