when do you take the act

Choosing ACT test dates doesn’t have to be a complicated process. On the contrary, finding the right date for you is quite simple. In this article, we’ll go over upcoming national ACT test dates, discuss what to consider when choosing an ACT test date, and explain how to register for the ACT test date of your choice. 

Upcoming ACT Test Dates

ACT has announced its test dates for the 2022-2023 school year, along with the corresponding registration dates. Next to each ACT test date is listed the regular registration deadline and the late registration deadline. Note that a late fee (an extra $36) applies for registrations between the regular registration deadline and the late registration deadline.

Standby dates are non-guaranteed opportunities to take the test in case you miss the late registration deadline. There are deadlines for standby registration accompanying each test date, which are also the deadlines for uploading your required headshot photo. Remember that regardless of which kind of ACT test you take (with or without writing) you will need to provide this photo.

2023-2024 ACT Test Dates

Test Date Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Photo Upload & Standby Deadline
June 8, 2024 May 3 May 19 May 31
July 13, 2024 June 7 June 21 July 5
September 14, 2024 August 9 August 25 September 6
October 26, 2024 September 20 October 7 October 18
December 14, 2024 November 8 November 22 December 6
February 8, 2025 January 3 January 20 January 31
April 5, 2025 February 28 March 16 March 28
June 14, 2025 May 9 May 26 June 6
July 12, 2025 June 6 June 20 July 4

We’ll update this table if any new test dates are released for this upcoming fall semester. Remember that these are only the National ACT test dates. There are also state and district ACT test dates, so it should be fairly easy to find a date that works for you.

Which ACT Test Date is Best For You?

To determine which ACT test date is best for you, there are a few considerations you should take into account. Above all else, you must take it in time to receive scores for your various college-related applications—ACT suggests choosing a test date that is at the latest two months prior to scholarship and college application deadlines. Multiple-choice scores are reported 2-8 weeks after the test, and test scores with an essay have a turnaround time of 5-8 weeks.

In deciding your test dates, determine whether you are taking both the ACT and the SAT. (Should you take both the SAT and ACT?) If this is the case, you will want to make sure your ACT test date doesn’t conflict with your SAT test date, and that you allow enough time for yourself to prepare for each test. 

If you decide you would like to only take one of these exams, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Should I take the ACT or SAT?” This is a loaded question, and we highly recommend that you carefully weigh the pros and cons of each exam. Note also that your state or school of choice may require or prefer one test over the other. If you’re only taking one of these tests, make sure to pick the one which best fits you as an individual learner. For instance, if you thrive across many subject areas, or you’d like to have your calculator on hand, choosing the ACT may be best.

Once you’ve decided to take the ACT, the next thing to consider before choosing your ACT test date is whether you should take the ACT with the writing portion.  Again, this section of the test may be required of you by your state or chosen colleges. If it isn’t required of you, but you excel at writing, consider taking the ACT essay anyways. This added impressive score will make you stand out amidst tough competition. Keep in mind that if you register for the ACT without writing, and realize later that you need to do the essay, you will need to pay an additional $25.

act test center locatorThe final consideration you should understand when choosing a test date and registering for the ACT is the location of your test. There are hundreds of testing locations where you can take the ACT, and sometimes it is even offered at your current high school. To see all of your options, use the ACT Test Center Locator.

To summarize—the path to choosing your ACT test date involves five steps: 

  1. Determine your application deadlines, and understand that ACT scores have a turnaround of up to two months.
  2. Decide if you want to take the SAT, ACT, or both.
  3. Plan enough time for test preparation in accordance with your decision.
  4. Decide if you are taking the ACT with writing. 
  5. Know where you would like to take the ACT test. 

Then, you will be ready to start the ACT registration process.

The ACT Registration Process

Wondering how to sign up for the ACT? Good news—the process only takes about thirty minutes. Here’s everything you need:

  • Computer with internet access
  • High school course details
  • Credit card (or other payment method)
  • Headshot photo

Collect these items before you begin the process to minimize confusion. Then, register for your ACT! Keep ACT deadlines in mind while browsing your options, and be mindful of any late registration fees. 

The full ACT without a writing portion costs $63, and the full test plus writing is $88. ACT has a fee waiver program, which students who qualify for free lunch (or fit other criteria of economic need) have the opportunity to apply for with their school.

What if you make a mistake when choosing your ACT test date—can you change your ACT test date? Yes, but again, it will cost you—the change fee for ACT test dates is another $40. If you decide to take the exam at a different location on the same date, you’ll be able to change the test center prior to the late registration deadline (if the new location has the space for another test-taker). 

When test day comes around, you must bring your admission ticket, photo ID, a No. 2 pencil, and a permissible calculator. You may also bring a mask, a timer or watch, and snacks to eat during breaks. Good luck!

How Many Times Should You Take the ACT?  

Taking exams multiple times is often key in earning the score you want, so retests are often a core part of the test prep journey. We generally recommend that all students take the ACT more than once, but it’s best to do so after careful consideration of a number of factors. We don’t recommend just retaking it blindly, without a game plan.

If you think you’d like to take the ACT more than once, you may want to consider signing up for your first test as early as possible. This will allow you to have the greatest number of opportunities to retake the test. When you receive your scores, identify your weaknesses and plan to study them before your retest. 

Giving yourself as many chances to take the ACT as possible can be extremely valuable to your college admissions process—most students score higher the second time they take any exam.

Prepare for your ACT Test Date with Piqosity

Now that you have chosen from the many ACT test dates, it’s time to begin studying for the test itself. The best way to prepare for this test is to find quality test prep resources online—that way, your materials are available to you on any device wherever there is internet. 

Piqosity’s Reasonably Priced ACT Test Prep Packages Include:

If you’ve already taken the ACT and are wondering how to improve your ACT Score, Piqosity’s extensive, exceptional online test prep offers an incredible set of resources, including full-length ACT practice tests with answers and explanations, designed to help you identify your weak areas and keep improving. When you sign up for Piqosity, you have access to our test prep materials for 365 days. So, no matter how many times you take the test, you will have the resources of Piqosity on your side. 

The best part? You can try out all of Piqosity’s features with our free community account. When you’re ready to upgrade, Piqosity’s year-long accounts start at only $89. Plus, get a 10% off coupon just by signing up for our mailing list!