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ACT Test Dates 2023-24: How to Choose the Right One

Deciding when to schedule your ACT sometimes feels like a test in itself. How do you know which date to pick? Are some dates better than others? Should you take the test as soon as possible just to get it done? 

In this comprehensive guide, we will lay out the official ACT test dates for 2023-24 and provide expert advice to help you figure out which one may be the right choice for you.

National ACT Test Dates for 2023-24

These are the ACT test dates for the years 2023 and 2024 as indicated by the official ACT website. Pay close attention to the deadlines for registration so you can avoid any possible late fees and ensure you secure your spot on the day that works best for you.

Test DateRegistration DeadlineLate Registration DeadlinePhoto Upload and Standby Deadline
September 9, 2023August 4August 18September 1
October 28, 2023September 22October 6October 20
December 9, 2023November 3November 17December 1
February 10, 2024January 5January 19February 2
April 13, 2024March 8March 22April 5
June 8, 2024May 3May 17May 31
July 13, 2024June 7June 21July 5

Take note that the July 13 test date does not include any test centers in New York.

ACT test dates almost always fall on Saturdays, but you may be able to take it on a different day of the week if you have extenuating circumstances like a religious exemption.

How to Choose the Right ACT Test Date For You

A common mistake many students make is to schedule for the nearest ACT test date to get the test done as quickly as possible. While this may be an effective strategy for some students, others may need to consider things like how long they need to study, score submission deadlines for universities and scholarships, and other commitments that could interfere on test day. 

Here’s what you need to think about before selecting a test date!

Application Deadlines

After you take your ACT, you can expect to receive your multiple choice score within about 10 days while the full score including the writing section could take a little over 3 weeks. Make sure you choose a test date that guarantees you will receive your test scores before your upcoming application deadlines.

This is especially important if you’re applying to any early action or early decision programs. Most early action deadlines fall in early November, often between November 1 and November 15. To make sure you have enough time to send in your test scores with your early action applications, you should aim to take your ACT in June, July, or September. You might have enough time with the October test date, but it could end up being a close call.

The ACT used to offer priority score reports which allowed students to send their scores to universities sooner than would normally be possible. However, as of 2020, priority score reports are no longer an option when taking the ACT. Keep that in mind so you can plan ahead properly and send in your scores on time.

Your Study Plan

You also need to consider how much time you want to spend preparing for the ACT. This will probably be a different length of time for every student, as everyone has unique circumstances to consider. Some students may be looking to improve their score by a certain number of points and need to study enough to do so. Others may want more time to familiarize themselves with the test material in order to alleviate test-taking anxiety.

When deciding how much time you need to properly prepare for the ACT, it can be helpful to first create a study plan. It’s important to note that the general rule for improving your ACT score is that every 10 hours of study equates to about 1 point of improvement. So, if you’re looking to bring your score up 2 points, you need to plan out enough time before your test date to spend at least 20 hours studying.

For more information about how to create an effective study plan for the ACT, check out our full guide here.

Future ACT Tests

Many students end up taking the ACT multiple times. According to the ACT’s official website, 45% of students retested at least once before graduating in 2015, and, of the retesters, 57% improved their Composite scores the second time around.

If you think you may end up taking the ACT more than once, you should consider that when choosing your test date. Juniors taking the ACT have plenty of time to schedule one or more retakes, but you also need to think about how much time you will need to spend studying in between tests to bring up your score. Seniors may have much stricter deadlines to worry about and will have to plan carefully.

It’s usually best to be cautious and take the test as early as you can. However, you should also be careful not to take it before you feel ready or before you have had time to fully prepare.

Other Commitments

There are a variety of ACT test dates throughout the year for a reason. From friends and jobs to extracurriculars and homework, high schoolers have a lot going on. Try to plan ahead when choosing your test date to make sure it doesn’t conflict with other important events in your life. 

One or more potential dates may fall on your birthday, prom, or an important competition. Select a test date that won’t have you rushing around feeling stressed so you can focus entirely on scoring well on your test.

What to Do After You Schedule Your ACT Test Date

So you’ve chosen a date to take your ACT. That’s great! But what do you do now? What should you study? How long should you study? What do you need to know before test day? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

Plan Ahead

Establish your goals early so you can create a study plan that will help you achieve them. Do you have a goal ACT score based on the schools and scholarships you plan to apply for? Do you want to improve upon your last ACT score? Either way, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time preparing for the test beforehand.

Create a study plan that works for you, your schedule, and your study habits. You should aim to push yourself to your full potential while still being realistic about your goals and expectations. For example, if studying for more than an hour per day is impossible for you, then you will need to plan out your studying over a longer period of time. No matter what, try to leave yourself enough time to avoid cram sessions that could overload your brain too close to test day.


You can take ACT practice tests online at any time. Use them frequently throughout your study sessions to check your progress and adjust the focus of your study to target subjects that may need more improvement than others. The official practice tests typically provide convenient score reports along with your results to help you understand where you made mistakes.

Get Help from ACT Experts

Whether you’re lost and looking for a little extra guidance or just want to ensure that you’re making the most of your valuable study time, you may want to try enrolling in an ACT prep course. Instructors can help you build or stick to your study schedule, answer last minute questions about the material, and teach you important test-taking strategies that will give you a major advantage on test day.

With self-paced courses, 6 to 8 week prep guides, and weekend reviews, PrepExpert offers tons of ACT online prep at the click of a button that will fit any student’s study style or schedule. Check out our comprehensive list of courses and let our expert instructors help you start closing the gap between you and your target ACT score.

Prep Expert

Written by Prep Expert

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