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Thomas Broderick

How Many Times Should I Take the ACT?

Maybe you’re about to take the ACT for the first time. Maybe you’re planning to retake the ACT. No matter who you are, I bet you are considering a question that comes up in every test taker’s life: How many times should I take the ACT?

Good question. Though the answer might be different for everyone, here is the short answer of my sage advice:

You should take the ACT twice.

Yep, that’s it. No more to see here, kids. Just let me get my coat and… Oh, you want to know why. Let me tell you.


Why Twice Is (should be) Enough

First of all, I’m not saying that twice is enough because I only took the ACT twice. Some people I knew in high school took to the ACT three or four times. Maybe some people you know have already done the same.

My point is that if you’re just starting your ACT journey, twice should be enough. Let me break it down.

  1. You sign up for the ACT and create a study routine. Maybe you take a class, or get some help online (wink wink).
  2. You take the ACT for the first time, usually the spring semester of your junior year in high school.
  3. If your score leaves something to be desired, analyze the results to see your strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Sign up to retake the ACT while you customize a new study plan based on your weaknesses.
  5. Study for your retake during the summer between your junior and senior year.
  6. Retake the ACT, usually at the beginning of your senior year of high school.

With this plan your score should be where you want it to be.


Third Time’s a Charm

If you’re in the group where twice wasn’t enough, let me give a few tips to making your third time taking the ACT your last.

  • If you’re struggling with just one section of the ACT, save your brain power just for that section. I’m not saying blow off the other parts of the test, but if the college/scholarship you’re applying for accepts superscores, why press yourself on areas where it doesn’t really matter?
  • If you’re still struggling with the whole ACT, take advantage of your teachers’ advice. It doesn’t hurt to pick the brains of peers who did better, either. If you’re tried everything else, a one-on-one approach can lead to success when other methods didn’t.

See you in the testing center, ACT scholars! Just don’t become a familiar face there.


For more on how many times you should take the ACT, check out this video from our ACT Expert! 

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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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