Who Should Take the New July ACT?

New July ACT Date Launched in 2018!

Those of us who have worked with students on ACT prep thought we knew 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’s no longer true longer!

As of 2018, the ACT offers a new ACT test date in July. Unlike the additional SAT test date that rolled 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.

Where Can I Take the July ACT?

That’s a great question, because the answer is…not everywhere! The July ACT will not be offered in New York, California, OR internationally. Of course, spots may fill up very early and July seats may not be available in your area, but unless you’re in NY, CA, or abroad, there’s no official policy that says they won’t. The best thing to do is to check available test centers near you on the official ACT website.

What About Delaware?

Great question! Some sites claim that the July ACT is not offered in Delaware. Well, that wasn’t on the official ACT site, so we thought it might be a little off. We called ACT and can confirm that the July ACT is technically offered in Delaware. However (and this applies to all states), there may not be many schools that will want to serve as test sites, at least at first, since their staff tends to be limited over the summer. If you have your heart set on July, then, it’s a good idea to be open to test centers that aren’t around the corner from you. Or are, you know, a state or so away. (Register early!)

When Should I Register for the July ACT?

2018 deadlines are June 15 for regular registration and June 22 for late registration. Remember, though, spots may fill up quickly! So take a look: should you or shouldn’t you take the new July ACT?

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 it’s never 100% guaranteed that there will be a spot open for you on your preferred test day at your preferred test center, 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. This is particularly true if you’ll have to travel far to the nearest test center.

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.


  • Rachel Kapelke-Dale

    Rachel is a Magoosh Content Creator. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS, is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin's Press, while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

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