After you take the ACT, you might feel like a big weight’s been lifted from your shoulders. But, as the days pass and you still don’t have your test score, the tension starts setting in again. If you’re refreshing your ACT account page and wondering, When do ACT scores come out?—don’t worry! Your ACT scores are coming! In this post, we’ll take a look at ACT score release dates, so you can rest easy.
Table of Contents
- When Will ACT Scores Be Available?
- What Time Do ACT Scores Come Out?
- How Do I Check My ACT Scores?
- I Have My ACT Scores: What Now?
- ACT Score Release FAQ
- A Final Word
When Will ACT Scores Be Available?
Generally, the ACT score release date happens two Tuesdays after you take the exam. But it’s important to note that the ACT releases scores in batches. Not every score comes out on exactly the same day. Here’s what this looks like this year!
ACT Score Release Dates 2020-2021
|Test Date||Scores First Available Online|
|July 18, 2020* (Check if your test center has cancelled here)||August 5 - August 31, 2020|
|September 12, 2020||September 28 - November 6, 2020|
|September 13, 2020: ADDED due to Covid-19||September 28 - November 6, 2020|
|September 19, 2020: ADDED due to Covid-19||October 5 - November 13, 2020|
|October 10, 2020: ADDED due to Covid-19||October 23 - December 4, 2020|
|October 17, 2020: ADDED due to Covid-19||October 30 - December 11, 2020|
|October 24, 2020||November 6 - December 18, 2020|
|October 25, 2020: ADDED due to Covid-19||November 6 - December 18, 2020|
|December 12, 2020||December 25, 2020 - February 5, 2021|
|February 6, 2021||February 19 - April 2, 2021|
|April 17, 2021||April 30 - June 12, 2021|
|June 12, 2021||June 25 - August 6, 2021|
|July 17, 2021*||July 30 - August 30, 2021|
Sometimes, you may have to wait up to eight weeks to get your multiple-choice scores. It’s rare, but it does happen. By planning your ACT test date in advance, you can help ensure that this won’t have an impact on your college applications (particularly important if you’re applying for Early Decision or Early Action).
For example, if you take the October ACT, your scores will be posted between three and eight weeks after the test. This happens because the ACT uses an “equating” procedure on this exam to ensure that scores from different versions of the tests mean the same thing.
If you took the ACT Writing Test, you’ll be waiting an extra two weeks to receive your complete score. Think of it as training. After all, this is good practice for all the anticipation you’ll feel waiting for either fat or thin envelopes from the colleges you applied to.
What Time Do ACT Scores Come Out?
Okay, great, you may be thinking. So that’s when I’ll get my ACT scores. But what time will ACT scores be available?
The ACT releases scores at 12AM Central Time on a given test’s score release date, which is usually two Tuesdays after you take the exam. If you have trouble remembering, just think of Cinderella (although that’s 1AM Eastern and 10PM Pacific Time, so that won’t hold true for all of you).
If it’s after midnight and your scores haven’t appeared yet, go to bed! Your results may not appear for one, two, three, or even seven days after the official release day. So don’t fret too much if your scores aren’t there the first day.
How Do I Check My ACT Scores?
Scores will appear in your ACT account. This is the only way to get your official scores—calling, emailing, or chatting with ACT Customer Care won’t get you your ACT score report. However, if it’s been more than eight weeks, it’s time to get in contact with them to see what’s holding them up!
I Have My ACT Scores: What Now?
Your scores are in! It can be an exciting moment or a disappointing one. No matter what, you now have two options: send your scores to colleges or retake the test.
Send Your ACT Scores
Love your ACT results? Send them to colleges!
If you selected schools to receive your scores on your ACT registration, ACT will send the scores directly to up to four colleges for free. After that, you can use your ACT account to send the scores to schools for $13 per report/per school.
If you didn’t select four schools during registration, you’ll still have to pay the fee—you don’t get these reports for free retroactively. This can be a bit of a challenge and involve some cost-benefit analysis on your part during registration.
Should you take advantage of the free score reports and have ACT send the scores before you even see them? Or wait to ensure that you want to send these scores but pay more after the fact? Kristin has some thoughts that can help you decide how to send your ACT scores
In all cases, keep in mind that the ACT doesn’t send scores to colleges until your writing scores are in—about four weeks after your test date. This is also important to keep in mind if you’re planning to…
Retake the Test
If you get your ACT scores and you’re not happy with them (whether that’s your composite score or sectional score), you have options. And your best option is to retake the test.
In fact, you don’t have to wait to get your scores to plan for an ACT retake. If you really think you did poorly on the ACT, my best advice would be to continue your ACT prep even before you see the results.
If you’re going to retake the ACT, you don’t want to fall out of the habit of studying. You could also put in a mail order for the report on how you did on every question plus the answer key, which would really help with prep for a retake (click here for more information on this service, plus more on ACT scores).
Even if you’re relatively confident in your test performance, you may still want to go ahead and sign up to retake the test. Even students who score well the first time may still retake the ACT. When you do get your scores, you can begin to focus your prep on the areas where you struggled. If you need some additional practice this time around, check out our Magoosh ACT Prep.
ACT Score Release FAQ
Still have questions about how ACT score release works? Check out our answers to your top questions.
Does score choice affect when I get my scores?
Nope! ACT Score Choice is a program that allows you to select which schools see your scores from certain test dates. In other words, it’s up to you which scores to send to which schools. But remember that if you selected free score reports at registration, those ACT score reports will go out automatically to the colleges you designated.
When are my writing scores available?
About two weeks after your multiple-choice scores come out—so four weeks from your test date.
Do US test-takers get their scores earlier?
No. ACT score release dates are the same around the world. All ACT scores are released at midnight United States Central Time—this is earlier or later in the day depending on where you are in the world, but the scores don’t come out earlier for US test-takers.
Why do ACT scores take so long to get?
First of all, because of how many test-takers there are—literally millions! Because essays are graded by real people instead of computers, ACT writing scores take a bit longer as ACT sends, grades, coordinates, and posts your scores. The October tests takes longer because of equating…basically, there are lots of reasons this process takes so long. With all of that in mind, it’s kind of amazing you get your scores as fast as you do!
A Final Word
Asking yourself, “When do ACT scores come out?” can be exhausting as you refresh and refresh your ACT account page. But it’s a lot easier when you know what to expect! Now, you can make plans for what to do with those scores and how to use them in your college applications. Good luck!
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About Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. 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. 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 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. LinkedIn
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