Prep Expert’s Guide to ACT Test Dates 2021&2022

If you are trying to earn scholarship money or get into a prestigious university, you already know just how important it is to learn strategies for mastering the content and the time constraints of the ACT.

But did you know that you also need to develop a strategy for choosing your ACT test date?

This guide will give you the 2021 and 2022 administration dates for the ACT as well as some tips to help you choose the perfect ACT test date for you.

ACT Test Dates in 2021 and 2022

ACT.org has released the dates for its test administrations in 2021 and 2022

ACT test dates- 2021

Test Date Registration Deadline
June 12, 2021 May 7, 2021
July 17, 2021 June 18, 2021
September 11, 2021 August 6, 2021
October 23, 2021 September 17, 2021
December 11, 2021 November 5, 2021

ACT test dates- 2022

February 12, 2022 January 7, 2022
April 2, 2022 February 25, 2022
June 11, 2022 May 6, 2022
July 16, 2022 June 17, 2022
September 10, 2022 August 5, 2022
October 22, 2022 September 18, 2022
December 10, 2022 November 4, 2022

Choosing the right ACT date

With plenty of options available, it can be tricky for juniors and seniors to know which test dates to select.

While you can always just sign up for any administration that fits your schedule, there are other factors that you need to consider before you register for a test date. When deciding which date works best for you, you’ll want to think about everything from the colleges on your application list to your personal study habits.

For example, if you want to improve your ACT score, and you know that it takes you a long time to grasp new information, you are going to want to sign for a test date that gives you plenty of time to receive your scores, review the material you missed, and learn new test taking strategies beforehand.

Similarly, while a December or February test date might be perfect for a junior who wants to get a jump start on taking the ACT, it will be far too late or a senior who needs to send scores to prospective colleges.

Here are a few factors every student should consider before signing up for the ACT:

College application deadlines

The most important factor that you need to keep in mind when choosing a test date is the application deadline for each of the schools on your list.

In order to be considered for admittance, colleges that require the ACT need to receive your scores by their application deadline. It’s not enough to simply make sure that you have taken the test prior to the deadline.

You need to leave at least a couple of weeks for the ACT to release scores and send them to the schools on your list, and you will need a couple of weeks for the schools to process these scores.

While it is always better for schools to receive your scores sooner rather than later, make sure you have 4 weeks at minimum between your test date and any college application deadlines.

Although the colleges on your list may vary, early decision is usually on November 1 and regular decision is January 1. Keep these dates in mind when you schedule the ACT your senior year.

You will also want to keep any scholarship deadlines in mind, too!

Potential ACT retakes

While you could be one of the few people who earns a perfect score on your very first attempt at the ACT, it’s likely that you will end up taking the ACT more than once. Whether you are trying to move into a better percentile or reach a target score in order to earn more scholarship money, chances are you will need to retake the ACT.

This means that you are going to have to make sure that you find test dates that:

  • Allow ample time for you to study between test administrations
  • Allow enough time for you to retake the ACT before college or scholarship application deadlines

Although signing up or back-to-back administrations might be convenient and guarantee that you have the chance to take the ACT more than once, this is not a great strategy for improving your scores and meeting your goals.

Remember, it takes about two weeks to receive your scores from each test. If you are taking the very next administration, that may only leave you with about two weeks to learn from your scores and study for your next test. That is not enough time!

However, if you wait too long before administrations, you might not be able to retake the ACT before you need to meet different deadlines.

You want to choose a test date that addresses both of these concerns, allowing you enough time to retake the test and to study between tests.

Your prep time

One of the most critical deciding factors you’ll want to keep in mind is the amount of time you will need to prepare for the ACT and the amount of time you will have to study.

Do you know soccer season is overwhelming or rehearsing for the school play will take all of your time in the fall? You will probably not have enough time to prepare as much as you would like during this time, so you should aim for a later test date.

Are you going to want to take an ACT prep class or work with a tutor? Make sure you sign up for a test that gives you plenty of time to do so.

Preparing for the ACT is work! It will require hours upon hours of studying and preparation. Choose a test date that is conducive to your study habits and provides the amount of prep time you will need to succeed.

Creating a testing schedule

When you remember to consider application deadlines, potential ACT retakes, and the amount of prep time you will need, you will be able to create the perfect testing schedule.

Here are a couple of scenarios that might help:

Scheduling the ACT as a junior

Although you will want to also consider your specific extracurricular activities or events that you cannot reschedule, here is a recommended test schedule for a high school junior:

Test 1- September or October
Test 2- February or April

  • Taking your first test in the fall gives you plenty of time to prepare beforehand
  • Spacing out test 1 and test 2 will give you the chance to review your scores and study between administrations
  • Taking test 2 in early spring gives you time to consider what you need to improve before you take the test your senior year

Scheduling the ACT as a senior

When you’re a senior, you will want to take the ACT as early into the new school year as possible. Depending on your extracurricular activities and other important events, here is a recommended test schedule for your senior year:

Test 1- June or July
Test 2- September or October

  • Taking your second test by October will help ensure that the colleges on your list receive your scores before application deadlines
  • This schedule will allow you have the chance to retake the ACT and study in between tests

Preparing for the ACT with Prep Expert

Whether you choose to take the ACT in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, you will want to make sure you are prepared. Prep Expert can help you get ready for the ACT with our ACT prep classes and private ACT tutoring. We’ve helped over 50,000 students reach their goals on the ACT, and we can help you, too!

Learn more about Prep Expert and how we can help you improve your scores on the ACT when you visit our website.