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Thomas Broderick

Taking the ACT Twice and Your College Applications

So you’re thinking about taking the ACT a second time. Sure, you might get a better score, but what will the admissions counselors think!? “Why should our super-duper selective school admit someone who couldn’t test right the first time? Rejected!”


Taking the ACT Twice and Your College Applications -Magoosh

Not an accurate depiction of a college admissions office.


Have no fear, Magoosh readers. As I’ve said before in a previous article, taking the ACT twice is the best plan for college application success. The first ACT acts as a benchmark of your abilities. Using the results of ACT #1, you create a study plan. Apply new concepts/skills learned through studying when taking ACT #2. ACT #2 Composite Score > ACT #1 Composite Score.

Beyond this recipe for success, there are some ins and out about taking the ACT twice you should know.


Won’t My Dream College See My Lower Score?

Not if you don’t want them to. (For the most part, anyway. There is a handful of schools that do require all scores, so do your homework!) If you knock the ACT out of the park on the first try, that’s great. Just don’t send colleges that score until after you get your ACT results. A good rule of thumb is that the results of ACT #1 are for Your Eyes Only.

Even if your dream college(s) has already seen your low ACT score, it’s not the end of the world. At the end of the day, college admission counselors care about your highest ACT score. Some even accept superscores. In fact, raising your ACT score shows grit, something colleges (and future employers) love.


Your 2nd ACT

Here’s where things get ‘interesting,’ if that’s what you want to call it. Many students who take the ACT twice take it the second time during the fall of their senior year of high school. At that point, with college application deadlines coming up, it is possible that you may have to send your scores to colleges before you even see the results.

One way to get around this is to pay close attention to fall test dates. For example, ACT offers a September 10, 2016, and October 22, 2016, test date. If you want to see your scores before sending them off, go with September 10. Also, September 10 has the added benefit of being early in the school year. There will be fewer academic distractions competing for your time and attention. I’d recommend registering for the September date now if you are currently a high school junior.


Final Thoughts

Just about everyone takes the ACT twice, but if you’re smart about it, you can make the most of the experience, and earn the score you deserve. Good luck in your studying, ACT scholars. See you next time!


About Thomas Broderick

Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

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