What is Exactly is Junior Studies?

Junior Studies is aimed to prepare students for the ACT

Courtesy of: Google Images

Junior Studies is aimed to prepare students for the ACT

Marley Martinez, Journalist

Junior year is infamously known as the hardest year of high school with juniors scrambling to prepare for the ACT and college applications getting closer and closer. Amanda Becker, who is a geometry teacher at Shadow Ridge, noticed these struggles that juniors go through and created a class aimed at preparing juniors for the ACT and college preparation.  

 “As a Geometry teacher, there was a point where we had to make sure we taught the curriculum, prepared students for the End of Course Exams because they were used as 2nd-semester finals, and prepare students for the ACT because this is a graduation requirement. We have to do all of this in a 46 minute class period. Also, the ACT still tests on some standards that have been moved out of the curriculum when Nevada adopted the common core standards. That means that we would have to include more into our curriculum to make sure we were preparing students for the ACT. This became overwhelming so I thought if there was a class specifically focused on just ACT material it would benefit both students and teachers. Students would be able to focus on ACT material, and teachers would have a little bit less on their plates,”

Throughout the year, students were given lessons on the different sections of the ACT which are English, reading, math, and science. These lessons were tailored to what is commonly tested on the ACT and helped students identify the style of questions and topics they might encounter. Especially for those who struggle in math, these lessons were extremely helpful to brush up on material that students may not be familiar with or concepts that they haven’t seen in a while.

I think Junior Studies is a valuable class because none of us remember everything we’ve learned.”

— Me'Oko O'Neal

“I think Junior Studies is a valuable class because none of us remember everything we’ve learned. For example, geometry for me was an absolute pain but this class has really helped me with it,” stated junior Me’Oko O’Neal.

Students were also given multiple timed practice tests on each topic of the ACT to simulate what the real test would be like. Students could easily compare scores to previous tests and see how they’ve improved. Later in the year, all juniors were given access to CERT, which is a program catered to ACT practice tests as well as informative videos that help break down problems. The program although available to all juniors was incorporated into the Junior Studies curriculum which junior Katrina Barney found “extremely helpful.”

I help students prepare for the ACT by showing the types of questions they will encounter and strategies to answers those questions,” Ms. Becker states. “I also encourage students to take as many practice tests as possible. Every practice test helps.

Another aspect of the course that is extremely helpful for students comes after the ACT. During the last half of 3rd quarter and all of 4th quarter, students are able to learn all about college. This includes learning how to navigate a college website, how to apply for scholarships, and figuring out which majors and careers fit student’s interests. 

Junior Studies students are given the tools they need to find the colleges that will be best suited to them (Courtesy of: Google Images)

“This class has prepared me for college as we’ve started doing research for colleges we want to go to and the requirements, housing, tuition, sports, etc.,” says junior Mikaela Berg.

For the past few weeks, students have been figuring out what careers are best catered to their interests using the site O*NET and using College Board to narrow down what colleges meet all of their needs and wants. Students have also researched individual colleges based on their findings and explored things such as admission requirements, campus life, and interests in majors. This experience is perfect for any student who is interested in college and for students who might not have known what to look for in colleges or where to start. Ms. Becker loves her students and says that going through this process with them has been a lot of fun because she is finding out so much about what her students are interested in.

My favorite part about teaching anything is always the students! The students make anything interesting and fun. This school year I am learning about the goals and aspirations that my students have and it amazes me. I have learned that I have students who want to own businesses, want to be nurses, want to go into sports medicine, become dieticians, journalists, photographers, and graphic designers. The list goes on and it makes me so excited to see what the future holds for all of them.