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Taking The ACT

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When Should I Register For The ACT?

You should register for the ACT at least six weeks before your testing date. The earlier, the better. This way, you will avoid late registration fees.

If you miss the late registration deadline but have a pressing need to test on the next test date, you can try to test as a "standby" examinee. Testing as a standby is more costly, and you are not guaranteed a seat or test booklet. If you decide to take your chance as a standby, be sure to follow the instructions for standby testing in the registration booklet exactly. You must bring a completed registration folder and fee payment with you to the test center, along with acceptable identification. Standby examinees will be admitted only after all registered students have been seated.

How Can I Register for The ACT?

You can register online at .

However, if one of the situations below applies to you, you'll need to use a paper registration packet to sign up for the test. You can get one at your high school, order one here, or call 319/337-1270 to request one.

  • Requesting special accommodations because of a disability
  • Testing at a test center outside the 50 United States
  • Requesting a fee waiver to cover the basic fee
  • Registering with a state-funded voucher to cover the basic fee (for example, Colorado, Illinois, or Tennessee public high school students)
  • Students younger than 13
The ACT test registration packet includes a booklet that describes the steps you need to take to register for the ACT test and lists the deadlines.

After registration, ACT will send you an admission ticket to confirm your registration and to give you specific information about where and when to report to take the test.

What Are The ACT Test Dates?

In the 50 United States, the ACT is administered on five national test dates: in October, December, February, April, and June. In selected states, the ACT is also offered in late September.

When Should I Take The ACT?

When you decide which colleges or universities you are going to apply to, find out if they required the ACT and when they need your ACT scores. It normally takes about four weeks after your test date for your scores to be reported, so be sure to allow enough time.

The ACT is offered nationally several times a year, between September and June. However, it's not offered at every test center on each test date. The Saturday dates are more frequent and are held at more test centers. You should find out is where and when the ACT is being offered in your area. Your high school guidance counselor should be able to give you this information or you may obtain it from the ACT Assessment Booklet.

Most students take the ACT in the spring of junior year or in the fall of senior year. You should try to take it at the earlier date. For one thing, you'll have a better idea of where you stand. If your score satisfies you, you can spend the summer visiting the colleges in which you're interested, or getting started on your applications. If your score is lower than you want, you can use the summer to prepare to take the test again in the fall.

How Many Times Should I Take The ACT?

You may take the ACT as often as you wish but only once per national test date. Many students take the test twice, once as a junior and again as a senior.

ACT allows you to select your best score to be reported to the colleges for a fee. This is a big advantage you should take.

ACT research shows that of the students who took the ACT more than once:

  • 55% increased their composite score on the retest
  • 22% had no change in their composite score on the retest
  • 23% decreased their composite score on the retest

This means that although you can take the test as many times as you need to get your highest score, you should not take the test without sufficient preparation, otherwise it could be a waste of time and money.

How Much Does The ACT Cost?

Refer to this list for the latest fees

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