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ACT Test Dates 2024

Attention juniors and seniors! Are you ready to sign up for the ACT? 

If you are wondering how to choose an ACT test date that will give you enough time to study and let you receive your scores early enough to send them to all your top schools, look no further! We have compiled a comprehensive guide to the 2024 ACT test dates so you can select the best test date to fit you and your busy schedule.

Confirmed 2024 ACT Test Dates

Though the ACT has begun its transition toward offering digital testing options, the digital ACT is not yet available to all students. About 5,000 students had the opportunity to sign up for the pilot version of the digital ACT in December 2023. According to the ACT CEO, Janet Godwin, the digital version of the test will slowly become available at more and more testing locations over the coming years.

Below, we have compiled a list of the confirmed ACT test dates for 2024 so far. More dates will be scheduled later in the year with some of them possibly including the digital option. As of right now, all ACT test dates other than the December 2023 digital pilot remain traditional paper-and-pencil tests.

Test DateRegistration DeadlineLate Registration DeadlinePhoto Upload and Standby Deadline
February 10, 2024January 5, 2024January 22, 2024February 2, 2024
April 13, 2024March 8, 2024March 22, 2024April 5, 2024
June 8, 2024May 3, 2024May 17, 2024May 31, 2024
July 13, 2024June 7, 2024June 21, 2024July 5, 2024

Take note that those who register after the regular registration deadline will be required to pay a late fee. The normal registration fee is $68.00 without the Writing section or $93.00 with the Writing section. The test option change fee is $25.00 while the late registration fee is an additional $38.00. Your original registration fee entitles you to copies of your score reports for yourself, your high school, and four colleges of your choice. You will need to know which colleges you plan to include in advance so that you can supply the codes prior to testing.

Choosing the Best ACT Test Date for You

The best ACT test date for your friends may not necessarily be the ideal option for you. Before you sign up for a test date on a whim, take time to consider what your optimal testing period would be. Think about how much time you need to prepare, when your college and scholarship applications will be due, whether or not you might want to retake the test, and what other important events could obstruct your studying in the road leading up to test day.

Anticipate Your Deadlines

The ACT website recommends signing up for a test date that falls at least two months prior to your college and scholarship application deadlines. This is because multiple choice score reports normally take between two and eight weeks to arrive while score reports that include the Writing section may take between five and eight weeks. Once the digital version of the ACT becomes more widespread, students will most likely have access to scores much faster. But until then, be sure to plan ahead to avoid receiving your scores too late.

Students interested in Early Action or Early Decision must pay close attention to their deadlines, as they will most likely be earlier than regular admission. Early admission deadlines tend to fall in early November between the 1st and 15th, so keep that in mind as you choose a test date. In this case, it would be wise to choose a test date that lands in September or earlier to be safe.

Plan for Retakes

Many students end up taking the ACT more than once. In fact, studies conducted by senior researchers at the ACT found that the Composite scores of students who tested multiple times were an average of 2.9 points higher than those who only took the test once. So, if you are capable of taking the ACT again and think you could perform better the next time, you may want to plan for a retake.

Juniors shouldn’t have much trouble making time for multiple test dates. Aiming to take the test once during the fall of your junior and once in the spring is a good approach. Then, you will have plenty of time to assess your scores before you start applying to colleges and scholarship programs in your senior year.

Seniors can squeeze in a final attempt in the fall before application deadlines or opt for a summer test date instead. Summer test dates can be helpful because they allow you to place more focus on your ACT preparation rather than trying to balance your studying with your fall curriculum and commitments. December test dates are usually a little too risky for seniors, but you can choose one if your deadlines are not until January or later.

No matter which grade you’re in, you should avoid scheduling back to back ACT exams. Since scores can take weeks to come out, you might not have an idea of your original score until right around the registration deadline for the next test. This does not give you enough time to assess your goals and create an effective study plan to achieve them on your next retake.

Accommodate Other Obligations

It’s not uncommon for high school students to have pretty packed schedules. Part-time jobs, clubs, sports, internships, volunteering, theater, school work, events, competitions, and many other extracurricular activities can be quite demanding of your time. Plus, you need to leave ample time to rest and relax with friends or family as well.

By planning ahead, you can aim to select an exam date that does not conflict with other important life events. It’s best to avoid piling extra stress from preparing for a competition or a school event on top of your ACT study schedule. Allow yourself enough room to truly focus on your ACT preparations without missing any other events you want to attend. Signing up to take the ACT for the first time during your junior year should help you spread everything out effectively.

Getting Ready for the ACT

Once you’ve scheduled your ACT test, it’s time to get into the studying groove! Use these tips and tricks to help you plan out your preparations as you gear up for the big day.

Create an ACT Study Plan

The ACT is an important exam that could help you secure a spot at your dream school or earn extra scholarship money to put toward your education. Therefore, preparing for the test should not be done at the last minute. Students who want to perform well on the ACT should spend a significant amount of time studying and practicing, even if they think they know the material well already.

If you are taking the ACT for the first time, you should first set your target score. You can determine your target ACT score by researching the ACT scores for admitted students at your top schools. Make a list of all the scores and choose the highest one. Since this score will give you a competitive chance at every school on the list, you can use it as your target score.

Once you know your target score, you should then take a practice ACT test to set a baseline for your performance. Based on that score, you can figure out how much you need to study to improve and reach your target score. For each point you want to add to your score, you will need to spend about 10 hours studying. If you are heading into an ACT retake, you can also use this rule to improve upon your last ACT score. 

Here is a breakdown of how much you can expect to study based on how much improvement you would like to see:

  • 10 hours of study = 0 to 1 point improvement.
  • 20 hours of study = 1 to 2 point improvement.
  • 40 hours of study = 2 to 4 point improvement.
  • 80 hours of study = 4 to 6 point improvement.
  • 150 or more hours of study = 6 to 9 point improvement.

These improvements may not sound like much, but remember that the Composite ACT score is only out of 36 points total. An improvement of 2 or 3 points can make a huge difference.

After you have figured out how many hours you need to put into studying, you can create a study schedule. Keep your own unique study habits in mind as you plan out your studies. Some students may be able to dedicate 4 hours to studying in a single day while others will need to spread it out more. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to carry out the correct amount of studying before the exam. To avoid cramming at the last minute, it’s best to schedule your test with your study plan already laid out.

Enroll in ACT Prep Courses

Looking for a little extra guidance in your study sessions? Prep Expert has you covered! Our catalog of online ACT prep courses offers a variety of options, including self-paced courses, 6 to 8 week prep guides, and weekend reviews. No matter how you prefer to study, we can provide the materials and guidance you need to help you achieve your academic goals.

Sign up today to start learning expert test-taking strategies that will help further your educational success for years to come!

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Written by Prep Expert

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