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ACT Test Dates and Registration Deadlines for 2024-2025

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

At the bookstore, there are several books to help you with studying the ACT test.

Stepping into the future begins with preparation today, and for high school students eyeing the horizon of higher education, the ACT is a critical marker on the road to college. As the 2024-2025 academic year approaches, understanding the ACT test dates and registration deadlines becomes paramount. This isn’t just about penciling in dates; it’s about unlocking doors to college opportunities that could define your educational journey.

In this guide, you’ll find a clear outline of when to register and when you’ll be taking your seat for the ACT, the test that can significantly impact your college admissions. This information isn’t just a timetable; it’s a strategic framework for structuring your study plan, setting your goals, and taking action toward achieving them.

We’ll walk you through the ACT test dates and registration deadlines for the 2025-2025 cycle, making sure you’re ready to highlight those dates in your calendar. Remember, acing the ACT starts with strategic planning — being aware of when to sign up, when to hit the books, and when to sit for the big test. So take out your planner, and let’s embark on this path together. You’re not just studying for an exam; you’re laying the groundwork for your future success.

2024-2025 ACT Test Dates and Registration Deadlines

Planning is key when it comes to the ACT. Knowing the ACT test dates and registration deadlines for 2024-2025 will help you schedule your preparation and ensure you’re ready.

Here are the ACT test dates and registration deadlines for the 2024-2025 academic year:

Test Date Regular Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Photo Upload and Standby Deadline Score Reporting Timeframe
September 9, 2024 August 4, 2024 August 18, 2024 September 1, 2024 September 19 – November 3
October 28, 2024 September 22, 2024 October 6, 2024 October 20, 2024 November 14 – December 15
December 9, 2024 November 3, 2024 November 17, 2024 December 1, 2024 December 19 – February 2
February 10, 2025 January 5, 2025 January 19, 2025 February 2, 2025 February 20 – April 5
April 13, 2025 March 8, 2025 March 22, 2025 April 5, 2025 April 23 – June 7
June 8, 2025 May 3, 2025 May 17, 2025 May 31, 2025 June 18 – August 2
July 13, 2025 June 7, 2025 June 21, 2025 July 5, 2025 July 23 – September 6

It is crucial to understand these test dates and their significance in the college application cycle. It allows you to strategically plan your test prep and align your ACT scores with your college application goals. Remember, the right timing can significantly impact your college journey.

Understanding the ACT

Before delving into the specifics of test dates and registration deadlines, it’s important to clearly understand what the SAT is and its role in the college admissions landscape.

What is the ACT?

The ACT, an acronym for American College Testing, is more than just a standardized test; it is a pivotal assessment tool that plays a significant role in the landscape of American college admissions. Developed to evaluate a high school student’s readiness for college-level education, the ACT provides colleges and universities with a common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. The core purpose of the ACT is to gauge a student’s academic abilities and their potential to succeed in a college environment.

Test score sheet with answers

The test comprises four mandatory sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, each designed to assess specific skills. The English section tests grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and rhetorical skills. Mathematics covers a range of topics, from algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, emphasizing problem-solving abilities.

The Reading section assesses comprehension skills, requiring students to read passages and answer questions. The Science section, unique to the ACT, tests skills in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and problem-solving in the natural sciences.

An optional Writing section, where students write an essay, is also available. This section evaluates writing skills, specifically the ability to construct a well-organized and coherent argument. While not all colleges require the Writing score, taking this section can enhance a student’s application, showcasing their writing and critical thinking skills.

ACT Scoring System

The ACT scoring system is designed to provide a clear and consistent assessment of a student’s academic readiness for college. Understanding this scoring system is crucial for students preparing to take the test and those interpreting their scores afterward. Here’s an overview of how the ACT is scored:

Section Scores and Composite Score:

  • The ACT consists of four mandatory sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, each scored on a scale of 1 to 36.
  • The score for each section is determined by the number of questions answered correctly, known as the raw score. There is no penalty for guessing, so unanswered questions do not negatively impact the score.
  • The raw scores for each section are then converted into scale scores, which fall within the 1-36 range.
  • The Composite Score is the average of these four section scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. This is the primary score reported on a scale of 1 to 36.

Optional Writing Test:

  • The Writing section, which is optional, is scored separately and does not affect the Composite Score.
  • It is evaluated by two graders on a scale of 1 to 6 in four domains: Ideas and Analysis, Development and Support, Organization, and Language Use and Conventions.
  • The scores from the two graders are added together to get a total score out of 12.
  • If there is a significant discrepancy between the two graders’ scores, a third grader may be brought in.

Score Reports:

  • The score report provides detailed information, including the Composite Score, scores for each of the four sections, a Writing score (if applicable), and sub-scores within each test section.
  • Sub-scores provide insight into students’ strengths and weaknesses in specific areas within each subject.

Understanding Score Ranges:

  • Scores in the higher range indicate a high level of proficiency in the respective skill areas.
  • Colleges often publish the range of ACT scores typically admitted, which can guide students in understanding how their scores compare to those of admitted students.

Use in College Admissions:

  • Colleges may use ACT scores for admissions decisions, scholarships, and course placement.
  • Some institutions may focus on the Composite Score, while others might consider individual section scores, particularly for specific programs (e.g., a strong Math score for engineering programs).

The ACT scoring system is designed to be fair and objective, providing an equal opportunity for all test-takers to demonstrate their academic abilities. It’s important for students to understand this system to set realistic goals and interpret their scores effectively in the context of their college admissions journey.

Why ACT Dates and Deadlines Matter

Planning when to take the ACT is very important for students heading to college. Choosing the right ACT test dates and sticking to registration deadlines is key in applying to college. Knowing why these dates and deadlines are important can help a student prepare and affect their college application plan.

How Important is the ACT?

The ACT, or American College Testing, holds a prominent place in the educational journey of students in the United States, particularly those aiming for college admission. This standardized test is a vital component in college admissions, acting as a uniform metric to assess students’ academic abilities from varied educational backgrounds. Even as the trend toward test-optional admissions grows, the ACT remains a significant quantitative measure that complements grades, extracurricular activities, and essays in a student’s application.

A calendar of the month.

Beyond admissions, the ACT plays a crucial role in scholarship opportunities. High scores can open doors to merit-based financial aid, making higher education accessible and affordable for many students. This aspect alone underscores the test’s importance, as it directly impacts the financial feasibility of college education for countless individuals.

The test’s design to assess English, math, reading, and science skills is instrumental in gauging a student’s readiness for college-level coursework. A strong performance on the ACT is often seen as an indicator of a student’s ability to handle demanding academic work. Furthermore, some colleges use ACT scores for course placement, especially in subjects like math and science, ensuring that students are enrolled in classes that align with their skill levels.

For students, the ACT is more than a test—it’s a benchmarking tool that aids in academic and career planning. The results can provide valuable insights into students’ strengths and weaknesses, guiding them in making informed decisions about their educational and career paths. In some cases, ACT scores are even considered in graduate program admissions, particularly for younger applicants with limited professional or research experience.

At a broader level, ACT scores serve as a national benchmark for educational standards, allowing educators and policymakers to gauge where improvements are needed in the education system. School districts and educational policymakers often use aggregated ACT data to inform curriculum changes and resource allocation decisions.

Preparing for the ACT also fosters personal development. The process cultivates study skills, time management, and test-taking strategies, all beneficial in college and professional life. Moreover, achieving a target score on the ACT can be a significant personal accomplishment, boosting a student’s confidence and motivation.

For international students, the ACT offers a standardized measure of academic ability and readiness for U.S. colleges, making it an important tool in their admissions process.

The ACT’s importance extends well beyond college admissions. It influences scholarship opportunities, academic readiness, personal development, and educational policy, making it a multifaceted tool in the U.S. education system. Despite the shift towards test-optional policies in some colleges, the ACT continues to be a significant factor in many students’ educational and professional trajectories.

When Can You Take the ACT?

You can take the ACT at several points throughout the year, which offers flexibility in scheduling and preparing for the test. Here’s a breakdown of when you can typically take the ACT:

Regular Test Dates: The ACT is offered seven times a year in the United States, usually on Saturdays. These test dates typically occur in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July. However, it’s important to check the specific dates for each year, as they can vary slightly.

Special Test Dates: In addition to the regular test dates, the ACT may offer special testing dates under certain circumstances, such as for students who cannot test on Saturdays due to religious observances.

College Application Due

International Test Dates: The ACT is offered on different dates for students outside the United States. The test is typically available five times a year at international test centers.

School-Based Testing: Some high schools offer the ACT during the school day. These school-based test dates are convenient as they don’t require weekend attendance and might be offered at no cost to the student.

Rescheduled Tests: In case of unforeseen events like severe weather, testing may be rescheduled. Always keep an eye on the ACT website or communication from your test center for such updates.

Remember, it’s crucial to plan your test date based on several factors:

  • Your college application deadlines.
  • The amount of preparation time you need.
  • Your personal schedule and commitments.
  • Potential retake if you want to improve your score.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best time to take the ACT, ensuring you’re well-prepared and confident on test day.

Tips to Remember Deadlines

  • Set Reminders: Use your phone or email calendar to set multiple reminders. The first should be two weeks before the deadline, and the second, a week later.
  • Visual Cues: Place a calendar in a visible spot where you study and highlight the registration deadlines.
  • Regular Check-Ins: Make it a habit to check in with your guidance counselor or a dedicated ACT prep advisor at school. They can help keep you on track.
  • Social Media: Follow the ACT’s official social media channels. They often post deadline reminders.

Keeping a close eye on ACT test dates and registration deadlines is essential to your college admissions journey. Early registration can alleviate much of the stress associated with the process and offer several advantages. By being proactive and planning ahead, you can ensure that you’re set up for success well before you even step into the test center.

student reading and learning to prepare for the entrance exam

Locking in your test date early means one less thing to worry about. It’s like securing a seat at a concert of your favorite band – the sooner you do it, the better your experience will be. With your test date secured, you can back-plan your study schedule. This allows you to pace your preparation, ensuring you cover all test materials thoroughly without the need to cram.

Also, last-minute decisions can be costly. By registering early, you avoid late fees, which can add up, especially if you’re considering multiple test dates. Knowing you’re registered for the ACT can provide a psychological boost. It’s a commitment to your goal of college admission, which can motivate you to study regularly and with purpose.

Lastly, if the unexpected happens and you need to change your test date, early registration gives you a cushion to make those changes within the ACT’s deadlines.

How to Stay on Top of Deadlines:

  • Get Organized: Use an organizer app or a planner to track all your important dates, including ACT registration deadlines.
  • Family and Friends: Sometimes, a little help from your support system can go a long way. Let your family and friends know about your test date so they can help you remember.
  • Regular Review: Make it a habit to review your test prep timeline regularly, including registration deadlines. This will engrain the dates in your memory and help ensure they don’t slip by.

By adhering to these strategies and understanding the importance of early registration, you’ll position yourself well in the run-up to the ACT. Remember, a calm and prepared mind is your best asset on test day, and managing registration deadlines skillfully is a significant step towards that calmness.

Fees and Cost Considerations

Navigating the financial aspects of taking the ACT is an important part of the preparation process. Understanding the various fees associated with the ACT and the availability of fee waivers can help students and their families plan effectively.

When Should You Register for the ACT?

Registering for the ACT at the right time is just as important as preparing for the test itself. Here are some key points to consider when deciding when to register for the ACT:

Early Registration: Ideally, you should register for the ACT as soon as possible after the registration window opens.

Benefits of Early Registration

  • Preferred Test Center: Registering early increases your chances of securing a spot at your first-choice test center.
  • Ample Preparation Time: Knowing your test date well in advance allows you to plan your study schedule accordingly.
  • Avoiding Late Fees: Early registration saves you from additional costs that come with signing up during the late period.
  • Peace of Mind: With registration out of the way, you can focus on preparing for the test without worrying about missing out on a spot.
  • Retake Buffer: If you’re not satisfied with your scores, registering early for an initial test date gives you more opportunities to retake the ACT before your college application deadlines.

Registration Deadlines: Each ACT test date has a specific registration deadline, typically about five to six weeks before the test date. It’s crucial to know these deadlines and register before they pass. Missing the deadline could mean waiting for the next available test date, which might not align with your college application timeline.

Planning for Retakes: If you’re considering the possibility of retaking the ACT to improve your score, factor this into your registration timeline. Give yourself enough time between test dates for additional preparation.

mentor explaining new online project to newly graduate students

College Application Deadlines: Align your ACT test date with your college application deadlines. If you’re aiming for early decision or early action, choose a test date that ensures your scores will be available in time.

Preparation Time: Register for a test date that gives you ample time to prepare. Consider your academic workload, extracurricular activities, and any other commitments that might affect your study schedule.

Test Center Availability: Popular test centers can fill up quickly. Early registration increases your chances of securing a spot at your preferred location.

Special Accommodations: If you need special accommodations for the ACT, start the registration process earlier. These requests can take additional time to process.

Ultimately, timely registration for the ACT is vital. It not only secures your spot but also aligns your test preparation with your overall college application strategy. Plan ahead, mark the registration deadlines in your calendar, and register early to set yourself up for success.

Overview of ACT Fees

The ACT, like many standardized tests, involves certain fees, which can vary depending on several factors. Here’s an overview:

ACT Test Options and Prices

Fee

Details

The ACT (no writing) $68.00 Provides score reports for you, your high school, and up to four colleges (given that you supply their codes at the time of registration).
The ACT with writing $93.00 Provides score reports for you, your high school, and up to four colleges (given that you supply their codes at the time of registration).
Test option change $25.00 Until the late deadline, you can add or delete the writing test via MyACT.

Additional Fees

Fee

Details

Late registration $38.00 Adjustments to your registration or test date are made during the late window for a national test date.
Standby testing $68.00 You will receive a refund if you are turned away from the test center on the day of the exam or if your registration is revoked because a photo was not supplied.
Change Fee $44.00 Includes making a Test Date Change or Test Center Change.
Score reports to 5th and 6th college choices $18.50 Submit your request online prior to the test date. If you do not take the test, you’re eligible for a refund upon written request.
Additional Score Reports $18.50 You can request additional score reports online after registration.
Test Information Release $32.00 If the order is placed before the test begins.
$40.00 If the order is placed after the test.
Score Verification $58.00 For multiple-choice test score verification.
$58.00 For writing test score verification.
$116.00 For both multiple-choice and writing test score verification.

ACT Fee Waivers

Navigating the costs associated with the ACT is a critical step for students, particularly for those who face financial hurdles.

Who’s Eligible?

Fee waivers are specifically designed for 11th and 12th-grade students in the U.S. who face financial barriers that could prevent them from taking the ACT. To qualify, students often need to be part of programs like the federal free or reduced-price lunch initiative.

What Do Fee Waivers Cover?

These waivers are quite comprehensive. They cover the entire cost of the ACT, whether you take it with or without the writing section. They also cover fees for late registration and allow you to send your ACT scores to up to six different colleges, which is a bonus that can save you money down the line.

How Do You Get One?

The first step to obtaining a fee waiver is to talk to your high school counselor. They’ll have the necessary forms and will help confirm whether you meet the criteria. It’s a straightforward process designed to ensure that those who need financial support receive it.

Additional Costs That Might Sneak Up on You

Travel and Accommodation:

If you’re not near a testing center, you might need to budget for travel or an overnight stay. These costs can add up, so plan ahead.

Study Materials and Prep Courses:

While there’s plenty of free prep material out there, some students opt for paid study guides or courses to help them prepare. These services vary widely in price, so it’s worth shopping around to find the best option for your budget.

a student is studying while using his laptop

In essence, understanding the landscape of ACT fees, the benefits of fee waivers, and the extra costs that might crop up is vital. It’s not just about paying for the test; it’s about planning for the entire experience. Students should thoroughly investigate fee waiver eligibility, factor in all related expenses, and utilize the expertise of school counselors to make informed financial decisions for their ACT preparation and testing.

Where Can You Take the ACT?

The ACT is administered at various locations, including high schools, colleges, and designated testing centers across the United States and around the world. The choice of where you can take the ACT depends on your location and the availability of test centers near you.

In the United States:

  • High Schools: Many students take the ACT at their own high school or at another high school in their community. This can be a comfortable and convenient option since it’s a familiar environment.
  • Colleges and Universities: Some post-secondary institutions also serve as testing sites. This can be a great way to get a feel for a college campus.
  • Test Centers: There are dedicated testing centers that may be located in educational institutions or other facilities. These are set up specifically for standardized testing and are spread throughout each state.

International Locations:

  • Outside of the U.S., the ACT is offered at international testing locations in various countries. These could be American or international schools, universities, or other approved locations.

Special Testing:

  • For students who cannot take the ACT at a standard location or time due to religious beliefs, disabilities, or other extenuating circumstances, the ACT offers special testing options. This may include alternate test dates or testing accommodations.

When choosing a test center, consider the following:

  • Proximity: Choose a location that’s easy for you to get to. Consider travel time and the method of transportation you’ll need to use.
  • Facilities: Some test centers may have better facilities or more space, which can make the testing experience more comfortable.
  • Availability: Popular test centers can fill up quickly, especially for test dates that are in high demand.

To find out where you can take the ACT, you can visit the official ACT website, where you’ll find a searchable database of test centers. You can search by zip code, city, or state to find the locations nearest to you. Registering early to secure a seat at your preferred test center is important, as spaces are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

No matter where you choose to take the ACT, make sure you’re familiar with the location and any specific rules or requirements that the test center may have. This will help ensure that you have a smooth and stress-free test day experience.

What Happens After the Test?

Once the final question is answered and your ACT booklet is closed, the wait begins. Here’s what to expect in terms of score release and interpreting your results.

When Do ACT Scores Come Out?

When you complete the ACT, the anticipation of receiving your scores begins. Typically, this waiting period can last anywhere from two to eight weeks following your test date. The timeline can vary, but here’s a more detailed look at what happens once you’ve handed in your test and how the scoring process unfolds:

Initial Scoring: The first phase involves the scoring of the multiple-choice sections. The ACT employs a meticulous process to ensure each answer sheet is accurately graded. This part of the process can take about two weeks, but it might be shorter or longer, depending on the volume of test-takers.

Score Compilation: Once all the multiple-choice sections are scored, the results are compiled and prepared for release. The ACT organization takes great care in checking and double-checking the scores to ensure accuracy before they are made public.

Writing Scores: If you’ve taken the writing portion, this section undergoes a separate scoring process. It’s evaluated by actual educators who score your essay based on standardized rubrics. Given the need for human review, this process extends the scoring timeline, typically taking an additional two weeks after the multiple-choice scores have been posted.

students opening a letter

Score Release: The ACT makes your scores available first through your online ACT account. They will notify you via email that your scores can be accessed. This gradual release means that scores are not all released on a single day; they are rolled out as they become available.

Full Report: Your full score report, including both the multiple-choice and writing scores (if applicable), is compiled once both sections are scored. This comprehensive report gives a detailed account of your performance, including subscores for different sections.

Transmission to Institutions: After you’ve received your scores, the ACT then sends them to the colleges and universities you designated during registration. This step is critical for your college application process, and while the ACT promptly sends out scores once they’re finalized, the institutions may take additional time to process them and add them to your application file.

Potential Delays: There are times when the score release process experiences delays. Common causes include administrative issues, such as testing irregularities, data entry errors, or even natural events that disrupt normal operations. In such instances, the ACT will work to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and get your scores out to you and the institutions awaiting them.

Given this timeline, it’s important to be strategic about when you take the ACT, particularly if you’re working with specific deadlines for college applications or scholarship submissions. Choosing a test date that allows plenty of time for score release and any necessary retakes is essential to keeping your college application process on schedule.

Why Should You Take the ACT?

Choosing to take the ACT can be a strategic decision for many high school students as they prepare for college admissions. Here’s a view on why the ACT is a test worth considering:

  1. College Admissions Requirement:

Most colleges and universities in the United States require the ACT or SAT as part of the application process. All colleges accept the ACT, and some students may prefer it due to its structure and content.

  1. Emphasis on Curriculum-Based Skills:

The ACT is known for testing knowledge and skills that are directly related to high school curricula. This can benefit students who have a strong background in their high school courses, as it may more accurately reflect their learning and abilities.

  1. More Than Just an English and Math Test:

The ACT includes a Science Reasoning section, which isn’t found on the SAT. This can be an opportunity to shine for students with strong analytical skills in natural sciences.

  1. The Writing Test is Optional:

The ACT allows students to decide whether or not to take the writing section, whereas the SAT includes a mandatory writing and language component. This flexibility can be advantageous for those who may not feel as confident in their writing skills.

  1. Speed-Friendly Format:

Students who can work quickly without sacrificing accuracy might prefer the ACT, as it has more questions but is known for being more straightforward compared to the SAT’s sometimes more complex question types.

  1. Score Choice and Superscoring:

Many colleges accept the “superscore” method for the ACT, which means they consider the highest score from each section across multiple test dates, potentially giving students a higher composite score.

  1. Scholarships and Financial Aid:

Just like the SAT, a high score on the ACT can make students eligible for certain scholarships and financial aid opportunities, which can be a significant factor in managing college expenses.

  1. Wider Acceptance for Certain Programs:

Some specific university programs or scholarships, especially those related to STEM fields, may favor or specifically ask for ACT scores due to the test’s science and math sections.

  1. Geographic Preference:

In some regions of the U.S., the ACT is more popular and widely taken by students. This can mean better preparation resources are available locally, and students might feel more comfortable taking a test that is familiar to their peers.

  1. Early Testing Options:

The ACT is available to take as early as the spring of a student’s sophomore year in high school. Early testing can give students more time to retake the test if needed to improve their scores.

Deciding to take the ACT involves considering your personal strengths, college goals, and preferred test-taking styles. It’s a test that can highlight a broad range of abilities and knowledge, offering a comprehensive profile of a student’s readiness for college. Understanding these factors can help you decide if the ACT is the right choice for you on your path to higher education.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the ACT registration, preparation, and testing process is a significant step on the path to college admission. We’ve journeyed through understanding the ACT’s structure, pinpointed the test dates and registration deadlines for 2024-2025, and delved into the fees, the importance of early registration, and what awaits after the test. Remember, this test is more than just scores; it’s a milestone in your educational journey.

Embarking on the college admissions process is an exciting time. It’s your hard work coming to fruition and your dreams taking shape. While the ACT might seem daunting, it’s a path well-trodden, and you’re not alone. Take each step with confidence, and remember that each section and question is a building block to your future.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, including helping you become familiar with standardized tests, all aimed at helping you perfect your applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.

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