MMSD launches free ACT prep course for high school juniors

MADISON, Wis. — Juniors getting ready to take the ACT this spring are getting some free help from the Madison Metropolitan School District.

MMSD’s first ACT Prep Course is aiming to get students ready for the next step in their education or career, regardless of what their future plans are. Within the first week of the program launching, about 200 11th-grade students have already signed up, according to the district.

“We have 200 of our students, who through signing up for this course, are asking us for support, and in the midst of a pandemic they need our help now more than ever,” MMSD Superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins said in a statement. “At its core, this is the first spark in an effort to fuel accelerated learning opportunities for our scholars who need it the most. We owe it to them, and are committed to providing the tools they need to thrive.”

The first ACT Prep Course will be held virtually from February 5 to March 5, before taking the ACT exam on March 8. Students will get 16 hours of live instruction from Cambridge ACT Prep as part of the course, and all sessions are recorded — so students can rewatch and review the lessons.

Students also get five practice tests as part of the program, access to thousands of actual possible ACT questions, and a prep e-book.

The district says it plans to expand the ACT Prep Course to include all high school students and 8th graders. Officials say the program can benefit every student — not just those hoping to go to college — by improving their overall school skillset.

“This initiative stretches beyond the ACT, as we know many of our students have suffered learning loss over the last year and a half due to challenges related to COVID,” said Cindy Green, Executive Director of Secondary Programs and Pathways at MMSD. “We want to ensure our students are prepared and set up for success on the ACT. Additionally, the prep course allows students to learn test taking strategies, and can help improve overall study skills – which is important as students move into their senior year of high school.”

Another ACT prep course open to 9th to 12th graders is being planned for the summer, the district says. Additional free ACT Prep sessions will be available for students to sign-up for later this month.