Picking an ACT test date can feel overwhelming, whether you’re a high school freshman or a senior. When will you know enough to take the exam but still have time left over for a re-take if necessary? No fretting–Magoosh can help you decide! In this post, we’ll give you up-to-date information on both international and U.S. ACT test dates and score release dates for the 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 school years, as well as projected ACT dates for 2020-2021.
First, take this quiz to find the best ACT test date for you and then come back to this post for more information.
Table of Contents
- ACT Test Dates 2019-2020
- ACT Test Dates 2018-2019
- ACT Test Dates 2020-2021
- FAQs about ACT Test Dates
But you can get those details from the official ACT website. So why are you here?
Because there’s so much more you need to know about how to prep for the ACT test date that will get you your best score! So check it out!
ACT Test Dates 2019-2020
Curious about ACT 2019 test dates? Wondering about ACT registration dates in 2019? Here’s the ACT schedule for 2019 (including ACT registration deadlines) so you can find the next ACT test date that fits your planner!
|Test Date||Deadline||Late Deadline||Scores First Available|
|September 14, 2019||August 16, 2019||August 17-30, 2019*||September 24, 2019|
|October 26, 2019||September 20, 2019||September 21-October 4, 2019||November 12, 2019|
|December 14, 2019||November 8, 2019||November 9-22, 2019||December 26, 2019|
|February 8, 2020||January 10, 2020||January 11-17, 2020||February 25, 2020|
|April 4, 2020||February 28, 2020||February 29-March 13, 2020||April 14, 2020|
|June 13, 2020||May 8, 2020||May 9-22, 2020||June 23, 2020|
|July 18, 2020*||June 19, 2020||June 20-26, 2020||July 28, 2020|
ACT Test Dates 2018-2019
If you can’t remember when you took the ACT or what ACT deadlines in 2018-2019 were, here are the ACT dates for 2018-19.
|Test Date||Deadline||Late Deadline||Scores First Available|
|February 10, 2018**||January 12, 2018||January 13-19, 2018||February 21, 2018|
|April 14, 2018||March 9, 2018||March 10-23, 2018||April 24, 2018|
|June 9, 2018||May 4, 2018||May 5-18, 2018||June 19, 2018|
|July 14, 2018 (more information)***||June 15, 2018||June 16-22, 2018||July 24, 2018|
|September 8, 2018||August 10, 2018||August 11-26, 2018||September 18, 2018|
|October 27, 2018||September 28, 2018||September 29-October 14, 2018||November 13, 2018|
|December 8, 2018||November 2, 2018||November 3-19, 2018||December 18, 2018|
|February 9, 2019**||January 11, 2019||January 12-18, 2019||February 20, 2019|
|April 13, 2019||March 8, 2019||March 9-25, 2019||April 23, 2019|
|June 8, 2019||May 3, 2019||May 4-20, 2019||June 18, 2019|
|July 13, 2019***||June 14, 2019||June 15-24, 2019||July 23, 2019|
***The July test was a new addition to the ACT test schedule! It debuted in the list of ACT test dates 2018-2019. This test date excludes New York, California, and international locations. For more info, check out our post, Who Should Take the New July ACT?
ACT Test Dates 2020-2021
The test dates below have not yet been officially announced by the ACT, but in case you are an advance planner (like us!), here are the probable ACT test dates and registration based on past history. The ACT tends to be on the same weekend every month, so these are highly likely to be correct. Keep in mind, though, that the ACT can change test dates at any time. We will update this post when we have the official word!
|Test Date||Registration Deadline||Late Registration (Fee Required)|
|September 5, 2020||July 31, 2020||August 1-14, 2020|
|October 24, 2020||September 18, 2020||September 19-October 2, 2020|
|December 5, 2020||October 30, 2020||October 31-November 13, 2020|
|February 6, 2021||January 8, 2021||January 9-16, 2021|
FAQs about ACT Test Dates
Now that you’ve read our guide to ACT test dates by school year above, we’re guessing you probably still have some questions. Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
How long should you study before your ACT test date?
This is going to vary based on the student. Some students can get the score they want with a month of ACT prep; for some students it’s going to take 6 months or a year. The first step is typically to take a diagnostic test (or use your PreACT results) to see where you are at now. Then see what scores you need for colleges you are interested in. Set your goal score and determine how long you need to study to make that jump before college admissions season starts. And, finally, pick a first test date for the ACT based on this goal. We also have more comprehensive guides for how long you should study for the ACT and how long you should study for the SAT (if you also need SAT prep) that can help you make this decision.
One caveat: don’t be ultra-conservative here. If you are reading this as a sophomore, don’t decide you need two years to study for the test and plan to take it for the first time in December of your senior year! Ideally, you should be done with testing by then, or it should be the very LAST test you take, not the first. Set your first ACT test date for within a year or less from when you will begin studying, as long as this falls during the winter of your junior year or later.
When is the best date to first take the ACT?
If you are going into the test planning for retakes (which you should), try to take the ACT for the first time when Test Information Release is offered (this means December, April, or June). This will allow you to get a copy of the test you took and your answer sheet, so you will be able to study exactly what you got wrong and why. You’ll have to allow 6-8 weeks for this information to arrive, however, so it may not arrive in time for you to take back-to-back tests. But if you take the April and/or June test during your junior year, you’ll have plenty of time to work with this information for a fall retake (or July, if you’ll be entering your senior year in 2018).
When is the best date to retake the ACT?
The ideal ACT schedule for most students is to plan for two tests during the spring semester of junior year—so this means February with a retake in April, or April with a retake in June. Then you still have the possibility of a third test in the fall of senior year if you need it.
When are the best test dates for ACT if I am also taking the SAT? SAT Subject Tests? AP tests?
If you are planning to also take the SAT, SAT subject tests, and/or AP tests, you need to keep in mind that this can make for a very busy testing calendar. Luckily national ACT test dates and SAT test dates never overlap (but in some months, they are only a week apart). Map out all the tests you need to take on a calendar, including your school final exams. Decide if you are going to go crazy if you cram too much together, and make sure to start prepping for your first tests early enough so that you can take them early. But also make sure that similar tests are not spread too far apart. You can roll ACT prep right into SAT prep, for example, and studying for AP tests will also prepare you for the corresponding SAT subject test. Don’t give your brain time to forget what it’s learned, either.
I’m an international student. Are international ACT test dates different?
Yes! There’s no July ACT offered internationally. But other than that, your test dates for ACT will be the same as they are in the U.S.
What should I know about ACT test dates and locations in the U.S.?
This is most crucial for students in New York. The July ACT test date is not an option in New York. This is because of certain educational legislation in the state (we won’t bore you with the details here). So if you are a New York student, heads up!
You should also know that the September ACT is a very popular test date, followed by June and July. Make sure you register well in advance so you can get the ACT test location you want and don’t have to wake up extra early to drive across town (or the state).
What if my ACT test date is rescheduled?
This is the potential downside to taking the February ACT in a wintery area: a higher probability of a blizzard shutting down ACT test day. (Don’t freak out! That’s still unlikely!) Although it’s rare, there are a handful of ACT testing centers that unexpectedly close during every test administration. Maybe there’s a power outage at the center or a local storm, for example. If you are unfortunate enough to be affected by an isolated incident, you’ll probably be rescheduled for the next ACT test date. You can find when that next ACT date is in the table above. For more widespread closures, the ACT might decide to hold a makeup date, as happened with the January SAT when a snowstorm closed centers up and down the east coast of the U.S.
Are some ACT test dates easier? Are some ACT test dates harder?
It’s a common urban legend that there’s an easiest ACT test date and a hardest ACT test date. You may hear your friends tell you that all the Ivy League-bound, Early Decision seniors wreck the curve in September and that December is easier because it’s all slackers and underprepared juniors. These rumors are completely false. There’s no such thing as easier ACT exam dates or harder ACT exam dates. In fact, because ACT tests are recycled before they are retired, a February ACT may be given again in June a couple years later. The “curve” does vary a bit between tests between raw and scaled ACT scores, so you may be able to miss an extra question or two and get the same score on a section, but an analysis of past ACT tests reveals that there’s no annual cycle in variations regarding the curves.
Ok, but really, when is the BEST ACT test date?
I can’t even believe you are asking that question after all the nuanced information about why the best ACT test date varies from student to student!
But ok, ok. My personal favorite is April of Junior year. You’ve gathered enough knowledge; you aren’t slammed with final exams, SAT subject tests, AP tests, and year-end events (as you might be in June); and the pressure is lower because you have plenty of opportunities for a retake. So there you have it.
What is a good score on the ACT?
For most students, a score above average (composite of 21) is a good score. If you’re applying to an elite college—a college ranked in the top 100 national universities, for example—scoring above 30 or even 33 is ideal. Find out more about what makes a good ACT score!
How much is the ACT Test in 2019?
The ACT costs $52 without writing and $68 with writing. Late registration (after the official ACT sign up dates) is $30, but you won’t need to pay this if you follow the regular registration deadline. Standby testing is $55 (but can be refunded under certain circumstances). To change the date or center, it’s $32. Score reports to more than four colleges cost $13 for the fifth and sixth, then $13 each. Check out more info about the ACT test here!
How many times can you take the ACT?
Technically, you can take the ACT as many times as you want. Practically, though, most students won’t see a huge improvement after the third time they take the test.
Remember that many colleges will superscore your ACT, meaning that they’ll select your highest sectional scores even if they’re on different test dates, combining them into your highest possible score. That’s why, for most students, taking the ACT twice is the right choice—find out more from Magoosh’s experts about retaking the ACT here.
How should I prepare for the ACT?
In brief, for ACT test prep, you should take a diagnostic, study quality materials, take and study ACT practice tests, brushing up on knowledge as needed to improve your ACT score. Lather, rinse, repeat. But for a more thorough breakdown of how to study for the ACT in a given time frame (from one week to three months), check out Magoosh’s free ACT study schedules!
How do you get your ACT scores?
Get your ACT scores online at the ACT website. Multiple-choice scores are usually available two weeks after your test date, while writing scores take about four weeks in total. The major exception to this is the October test, which can take 3-8 weeks to score.
In exceptional circumstances, multiple-choice scoring can take up to eight weeks…this is rare, but there are no official ACT deadlines for getting scores back to you. Usually, though, scores are available on schedule.
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About Kristin Fracchia
Dr. Kristin Fracchia makes sure Magoosh's sites are full of awesome, free resources that can be found by students prepping for standardized tests. With a PhD from UC Irvine and degrees in Education and English, she’s been working in education since 2004 and has helped students prepare for standardized tests, as well as college and graduate school admissions, since 2007. She enjoys the agony and bliss of trail running, backpacking, hot yoga, and esoteric knowledge.
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