When Is The Best Time to Take the ACT Test?
You’re applying for college soon. You know why you should take the ACT, but exactly when should you take it?
You don’t want to take it too soon or take it before you’re fully prepared, but you can’t wait to take it too late, either. When looking to sign up for the ACT, here is what you should consider when it comes to your time frame and applying for college.
This is what we recommend at Counterpoint Test Prep so you are fully prepared for the ACT:
Allow Yourself Ample Time to Prepare
Every student should consider multiple factors when selecting the ideal test date. Factors include the application deadlines, as well as early decision and scholarship deadlines. Those who want to apply to more competitive schools should get a full year head start in learning all they can about the format and structure of every section on the ACT.
For most students, that means starting your test preparation the summer before your junior year. We find that this time frame will provide you with ample time to meet the admissions deadlines for each school you want to apply to and to set your study schedule.
The ACT is offered several different times throughout the course of each year:
2021 - 2022 ACT TEST DATES AND REGISTRATION
Register Here for the ACT | 2022 ACT Test Dates (released soon)
While it may seem like the logical choice to sign up for the closest testing date, this may not be the best choice for you. When looking at the testing dates, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for the exam.
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Sure, a few months might pass between your registration and the actual testing day, but we promise that time is going to go by fast. Think about all the homework, projects, and school events that will be on your schedule between now and then. You’ll probably have limited time to study for the ACT on a day-to-day basis, which is why you should allow yourself a few months to prepare and create an action plan to reach your goals.
Sign Up for the ACT a Year Early
A common question we hear from parents and students alike is when one should take the ACT. In order to allow yourself time, we suggest taking the ACT during your junior year in high school. By the spring semester of 11th grade, you will have learned the curriculum you need to do well on the exam. Here's the timeline we suggest.
FIRST TEST: February or March (junior year)
SECOND TEST: June or July (end of junior year)
Register Here for the ACT
Taking the test twice as a junior has a few advantages. First, if your score isn’t exactly what you wanted, you have a number of late spring and early fall dates to retake the exam. If you decide to retake the exam in the fall as a senior, you have the entire summer to keep studying.
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THIRD TEST: September, October,or even November (senior year)
Can you take the ACT as a senior?
Absolutely! There’s no shame in retaking the test. In fact, most students take the test at least two times. You may even have a better chance of scoring higher the second or third time around. Regardless of when you take the test, as long as you take your last test in August or September, you’ll still get your scores back in plenty of time to apply for colleges.
What to do if you Miss the Test Date
Maybe you were sick—feverish and full of aches, you just weren't up to testing. Or, perhaps you just didn't feel prepared and you decided to miss your ACT test and figure it out later, even though you had already registered. What in the world do you do now?
ThoughtCo has a simple answer for you on this topic.
ACT Testing and Registration Fees
For the 2021-2022 ACT, the registration fee is $63, without the essay, according to the ACT. Be aware that some colleges may require you take the essay, so do your research before you decide to skip it. If you would like to take the essay, the ACT registration fee is $88.
To avoid paying an extra fee, you should register for the test before the deadline. We recommend about a month in advance. If you miss the deadline, you can still sign up through the end of the late registration deadline, but, of course, there's a late registration fee.
Additional ACT Registration Fees*
There may be more fees to add in addition to your test fee. The table below provides a simple overview of the additional fees you may encounter. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to the ACT directly.
*If you’re having trouble paying for the ACT test, the ACT Fee Waiver Program can help.
How to Register for the ACT
There are a series of relatively simple steps to take in order to register for the ACT. Review this checklist first so that you're ready and know what to expect. Plan on about 40 minutes to complete the entire process.
Here's a simple checklist of actions to register for the ACT:
1) You be asked to provide a photo ID, as well as a quality "selfie" (a photo of just yourself) that can be uploaded to the registration site. Gather all these materials together before you begin.
2) Sign up for the ACT by first creating an ACT student web account. From there, you will create an account and choose your test date*. If the school that you intend on applying to requires the Writing portion of the ACT, be sure to indicate that.
3) Once you have completed the registration, you will be asked to upload your photos. The test administrators will use this when you check in on test day.
4) Print out your ACT admission ticket. You will NOT be allowed into the testing center without a valid ID and a printout of your ticket.
*It's better to pick a test date and stick with it. This will help you in planning your study schedule and in avoiding any extra fees to reschedule. If you do need to change your ACT test date, go to the ACT website and change the date there. You can also try calling ACT Student Services at 319-337-1270. Either way, you will have to pay for a date change or location change. Also, just like registering for any test day, you will have to register for the new test date before the late deadline.
It goes without saying, but if you do end up changing your test date, then also be sure to adapt your study plan accordingly. Counterpoint Test Prep is very skilled in this area and is ready to help you today!
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Applying for Early Admissions into College
Early admission, also referred to as “early action” or “early decision,” is the opportunity to apply to a certain college, generally your top choice school, before the regular admissions deadline. Common early application deadlines are November 1 or November 15, and you receive your answer in mid-December as opposed to the spring.
One benefit to applying for early admission is that you find out the school’s decision well before graduation, giving you time to plan for your future. A more immediate boon is that, if you are admitted to your first choice school, you’ll know your college applications are finished, and you can relax.
If you are looking to apply for an early admission, you will need to plan to take the ACT accordingly. We suggest taking the ACT earlier in the spring semester of your junior year.
As long as you feel prepared for the exam, taking it early can only benefit you as a student. You’ll have time to retake the test if you feel it’s necessary, and you’ll still be prepared to apply for early admission.
Counterpoint Test Prep are experts with ACT prep and the College Application. We offer a complete course on what you need to know and what you have to do to be sure you don't make any mistakes in this once-in-a-lifetime application opportunity.
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Meet The Authors, Co-founders of Counterpoint College and Test Prep:
Dr. Kay Van Der Burg
Dr. Kay is a National Board certified Master Teacher and has a Ph.D. in education from the UW Madison. She has had training at both Harvard and Stanford universities. She taught Advanced Placement (AP) coursework and was the district SAT/ACT prep lead for one of the highest ranking districts in the country. She has been tutoring students for more than two decades and is the co-founder of Counterpoint Test Prep.
Damien Van Der Burg, CHPC
Damien has a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in biology from Point Loma Nazarene. He has taught high school science and math courses for 15 years, including Advanced Placement (AP) coursework. In addition to co-founding Counterpoint Test Prep, Damien is also an investor, a certified high performance and leadership coach and founder at Damien Vanderburg Coaching.
Did you know there are specific steps and strategies you should be aware of in applying to college? Counterpoint Test Prep can help to ensure you have the best chance of getting into the school of your dreams!
We Can Help You Get the Score of Your Life! Fortunately, Counterpoint offers extensive ACT test prep courses designed and taught by actual teaching and test-taking professionals, rather than by people who simply did well on the ACT. We can help students not only score well on the ACT, but also be better prepared to get into the college of their dreams.
From building confidence with the core subjects to writing the college essay and completing the application, click here to see the complete menu of courses and services we have to help you get the score of your life!
For the record - We’re successful only when our students are. That's why you can always count on us for ACT success. Our courses are entirely comprehensive, and we’re always happy to offer individual help. We believe students deserve every edge they can get when applying to college, and the ACT test is an essential step in that direction. Academic success is right around the corner, and nothing can get students there quite like the Counterpoint Advantage.
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