ACT Horror Stories


Used with permission of Love Krittaya.

Many students fall asleep while taking the ACT.

No matter how much you prepare for the ACT, a furnace can always cause problems.

This was the case for Junior Brett Meyer. “I took the ACT at Glendale and the room we were in had a radiator that was so loud we had to change rooms. It kind of threw me off,” said Meyer. 

Last year, 1,666,017 students took the ACT, and 1,664,479 students took the SAT. Most students are prepared for the normal stresses that occur when they take the test like breaking a pencil or having to speed through the math section. However, things don’t always go as planned. Because of this, standardized tests “horror stories” are a common experience. 

Normal test-taking can leave students feeling tired, so it’s no surprise that a four-hour-long test that starts at eight in the morning will be pretty sleep-inducing. “I have taken the ACT four times and three out of four times I have fallen asleep on the English section and two out of four times I have fallen asleep on the reading section,” said Senior Joseph Van Hoesen.  

“I’ve seen multiple people just fall asleep halfway through the tests,” said Senior Ethan Paladino. Paladino has taken the ACT six times with plans to take it again. “Another time, there was a kid a few rows away from me who started saying he had a long night and didn’t feel well. Then, right after starting the first test he just got up and left,” said Paladino.

One of the scariest things that can happen for a high school student is to pay for study materials and a test, spend hours studying, use a whole Saturday morning to take a timed test, and have the test not count towards anything. This is the reality for students who get caught cheating on the exam. 

“My final time taking the ACT, the guy beside me got caught cheating off me twice,” said Senior Hannah Bottarel. “Luckily it all worked out, but it was super stressful thinking my scores could get canceled due to academic dishonesty,” said Bottarel. 

Even if students don’t get the ACT score they’re hoping for, there is a chance they will leave the testing room with a great story that will let them join the “ACT Horror Story” club.


Lewin, T. (2013, August 2). Testing, Testing. Retrieved from