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Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Who Should Take the New July ACT?

New July ACT Date to Launch in 2018!

Those of us who have worked with students on ACT prep know the drill by heart: the ACT is offered six times a year, in February (though not in New York or abroad!), April, June, September, October, and December.

Well, guess what? That won’t be true for very much longer!

This week, ACT announced that, as of 2018, they’ll offer a new ACT test date in July.
Unlike the additional SAT test date that rolls out in 2017, the July ACT is NOT replacing another test date. Instead, it pushes the total available ACT test dates per year to seven, rather than the previous six.

Who Should Take the New July ACT?

This is awesome news for pretty much everyone! Many ACT test-takers will take the exam for the first time in spring of their junior year. But if they take it, for example, in June, trying to avoid conflict with high school exams, and they’re not happy with their scores, they’ll end up with only one clear option for a retake: September. (October may also work, but cuts it close and may not be workable for Early Admission or Early Action programs.)

Why was this problematic? First of all, it put undue stress on students to succeed in that second test, with no other options. Second of all, it launched them back into the test just when they should be building up momentum in their senior year (yes, those first-semester grades do count for college admissions!)

In short, having another summer ACT option is great, and should take a lot of stress off of a lot of students.

June vs. July

Yes, there is already a summer (June) test date. However, because it’s in early June, a lot of students will still be finishing up their courses and may even be in the middle of exams when the June ACT test date comes around.

On the other hand, most schools have finished exams well before July. In fact, the announcement of this new ACT test date even notes that, while most test centers are currently in high schools, the July test centers will primarily be on college campuses, since so many high schools will be closed.

Because your grades are so important to college admissions, it’s going to be really helpful for a lot of students not to have to choose between test prep and (school) exam prep in June.

Who Should NOT Sign up for the New ACT Date

Because there’s limited information about registration and test centers (for example, will the July ACT be like the February test and not be available in New York or international locations?), be sure to have a back-up test date prepared, and preferably two, if you plan to sign up for the July ACT in 2018.

More information will be available at the beginning of 2018, though, so you should know about the exam logistics in plenty of time to make your decision.

Otherwise, the only reason that you might not want to take the July ACT is if you have an intense summer already planned—studying abroad, taking an extended vacation, working, and so forth. Even so, weigh the costs of prepping for the ACT (and taking it) during this time against those of doing so during your senior year—the July ACT may become more and more appealing.

As ACT CCO Suzana Delanghe says, “This additional test date will allow students to focus on their coursework while they are in school and prepare for the ACT test during the summer.” While we do recommend more than a few weeks’ preparation for the ACT (though it is possible!), otherwise, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Still wondering about whether you should sign up for the new July ACT? Check out our ACT Test Dates: How to Choose Your Best Test Date post for all of our top advice.

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About Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel is a High School and Graduate Exams blogger at Magoosh. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and a PhD from University College London. She has taught test preparation and consulted on admissions practices for over eight years. Currently, Rachel divides her time between the US and London. Follow Rachel on Twitter, or learn more about her writing here!


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