If your child is a junior, then they should be taking the ACT this year. Even if they have done no prep at all, it is to their advantage to sign up for the April ACT. You might ask with some skepticism and doubt, “What if they do poorly? Won’t colleges see that score?” The short answer is “no.” Not only does the ACT allow you to pick and choose which test dates to send to colleges but the ACT also allows students to DELETE any unwanted ACT scores.
Thus, even if a college requests that students send all of their SAT/ACT scores, students can delete any ACT scores before senior year that do not help their academic profile. Then students can with 100% honesty report all of their scores to colleges. (Note: Some colleges superscore ACT results, so be careful not to delete any test dates on which a student scored their highest in a section.)
Additionally, the April ACT is one of three ACTs throughout the year that offers the “Test Information Release Service,” which gives students the test back that they took. The February test, for instance, does not have this option, so students will only receive their scores, not the actual test, and never have the opportunity to see the questions they missed.
There is no downside to taking the ACT, only the upside of practice taking the real test and increasing the odds of achieving a higher score.