ACT Test Dates: Full Guide to Choosing (2023, 2024)

What is ACT?

The ACT (American College Testing) is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It assesses a student's readiness for higher education and provides colleges with a common measure of academic achievement. Here are the key aspects of the ACT exam:

1. Test Format: The ACT consists of four main sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Each section is scored on a scale of 1-36. There is also an optional Writing section, which is scored separately on a scale of 2-12. The English section evaluates grammar, punctuation, and writing skills. The Math section assesses mathematical reasoning and problem-solving abilities. The Reading section tests reading comprehension, and the Science section evaluates scientific reasoning and data interpretation skills.

2. Scoring: Each section of the ACT is scored individually on a scale of 1-36. The scores are averaged to determine the Composite score, which is the most commonly reported score. The optional Writing section receives a separate score. The scores reflect a student's performance relative to other test-takers and provide colleges with a standardized measure of academic ability.

3. Test Administration: The ACT is administered multiple times throughout the year at designated test centers. Students can register for the ACT online and select their preferred test date and location. It's advisable to register early to secure a spot as test centers may fill up quickly, especially for popular test dates.

4. Preparation: Adequate preparation is important for performing well on the ACT. Students often engage in self-study using ACT prep books, practice tests, and online resources. Many students also opt for ACT prep courses or tutoring to receive structured guidance and personalized instruction. Preparing for the ACT involves familiarizing oneself with the test format, practicing with sample questions, developing test-taking strategies, and reviewing relevant content areas.

5. College Admissions: ACT scores are an essential component of college applications. Alongside other factors like high school grades, extracurricular activities, and essays, ACT scores provide colleges with a standardized measure to evaluate students. Different colleges may have varying score requirements and consider ACT scores in conjunction with other application materials.

6. Score Reporting: Students can choose to send their ACT scores to specific colleges or scholarship programs. They can select which test dates' scores to report, allowing colleges to consider the best performance across different sittings. Some colleges also accept ACT Superscores, which combine the highest scores from each section across multiple test dates.

7. Test Optional Policies: It's important to note that some colleges have implemented test-optional policies, which means they do not require ACT scores for admissions. However, even if a college is test-optional, submitting strong ACT scores can still enhance an applicant's profile and demonstrate academic readiness.

Preparing for the ACT involves familiarizing oneself with the test content, practicing time management, and refining test-taking strategies. Students are encouraged to create a study plan, utilize available resources, and take practice tests to assess their progress. Developing strong reading, math, and writing skills, as well as understanding the format and expectations of the exam, can help students approach the ACT with confidence and maximize their potential for success.

ACT Test Dates and Deadlines for 2023-2024

The ACT test is administered multiple times throughout the year, providing students with flexibility in choosing the most suitable date for them. Here are the test dates and deadlines for the 2023-2024 academic year:

1. September 9, 2023 (Registration Deadline: August 5, 2023): This early fall test date allows students to start the academic year with their ACT scores in hand.

2. October 28, 2023 (Registration Deadline: September 22, 2023): The October test date gives students another opportunity to take the ACT early in the academic year.

3. December 9, 2023 (Registration Deadline: November 4, 2023): The December test date is particularly helpful for students who want to complete their testing before the winter break.

4. February 10, 2024 (Registration Deadline: January 5, 2024): The February test date is beneficial for students who need additional time for preparation or those who want to improve their scores.

5. April 14, 2024 (Registration Deadline: March 9, 2024): The April test date is well-suited for juniors who want to get a head start on their testing or seniors who need to retake the ACT for better scores.

6. June 9, 2024 (Registration Deadline: May 4, 2024): The June test date allows students to take the ACT before the end of the academic year and have their scores available for college applications.

7. July 14, 2024 (Registration Deadline: June 15, 2024): The July test date provides a final opportunity for students to take the ACT before the college application season begins.

It's important to note that registration deadlines are typically a few weeks before the actual test date. Students should plan accordingly and register early to secure their preferred test date and location.

Remember to visit the official ACT website ( for the most up-to-date information on test dates and deadlines, as they may vary from year to year.

Choosing the Best ACT Test Dates for You: 5 Key Factors

Choosing the right ACT test date is an important decision that can significantly impact your test preparation and performance. To select the best ACT test date for you, consider the following five key factors:

1. Preparation Time: Evaluate the amount of time you need to adequately prepare for the ACT. Determine how many weeks or months you require to cover the test content, practice sample questions, and improve your skills. Select a test date that allows you sufficient time for effective preparation.

2. Availability: Check the availability of test dates in your area. Some test centers may fill up quickly, particularly for popular dates, so it's essential to register well in advance to secure your spot.

3. Test Sequence: Consider whether you prefer to take the ACT multiple times. Taking the test more than once can give you an opportunity to improve your score. If this is your strategy, plan your test dates with enough time in between to review your results, address weaknesses, and implement necessary improvements.

4. Application Deadlines: Determine the application deadlines for your desired colleges or universities. Ensure you choose a test date that allows you to receive your scores in time for admissions submissions. Be aware of score reporting timelines to meet application requirements.

5. Personal Readiness: Reflect on your personal readiness and circumstances. Consider factors such as school workload, extracurricular commitments, and personal events that may affect your ability to focus on test preparation. Choose a test date that aligns with a period of relative calm and readiness in your life.

By carefully considering these factors, you can identify the ACT test date that aligns with your preparation needs, goals, and personal circumstances. Remember to register for your chosen test date well in advance to secure your spot and ensure a smooth testing experience.

When Should Juniors Take the ACT? When Should Seniors?

Determining the optimal time for juniors and seniors to take the ACT depends on various factors, including college application timelines, test preparation, and individual readiness. Here's a detailed breakdown for each group:

1. Juniors:

Juniors typically take the ACT in the spring of their junior year or early in the fall of their senior year. Here's why:

- Adequate Preparation: By the spring of junior year, most students have covered the necessary coursework that the ACT assesses. Taking the test at this time allows juniors to build upon their existing knowledge and skills without feeling rushed.

- Early Baseline: Taking the ACT as a junior provides an early baseline score, helping students identify areas of strength and weakness. This allows ample time for targeted test preparation during the summer and fall.

- Score Improvement: With the benefit of an early baseline score, juniors have the opportunity to retest in the fall of their senior year, aiming for score improvement and a higher chance of meeting their college admission goals.

2. Seniors:

Seniors typically have several options for ACT testing, depending on their college application deadlines and desired score improvement. Here are some considerations:

- Early Admission or Rolling Admissions: If applying for early admission or to colleges with rolling admissions, seniors may need to take the ACT in the summer or early fall of their senior year to meet application deadlines.

- Score Improvement: Seniors who wish to improve their ACT scores from a previous attempt can take the test in the fall. This allows them to use their summer break for targeted preparation and focus on areas that need improvement.

- Final Opportunity: For seniors who haven't taken the ACT or need one last attempt to meet college requirements, the fall of senior year offers the last opportunity to do so before college application deadlines.

Ultimately, the ideal timing for juniors and seniors to take the ACT depends on their individual circumstances, college application plans, and level of test preparation. It's essential for students to research the ACT test dates, understand college application deadlines, and plan accordingly to ensure they have sufficient time to prepare and submit their scores on time.


In conclusion, choosing the right ACT test dates is crucial for students as it impacts their preparation, score improvement, and college application timelines. By considering factors such as test preparation, application deadlines, and desired score improvement, students can make informed decisions about when to take the ACT. It is important to plan ahead, research the available test dates, and create a schedule that allows for sufficient preparation and timely submission of scores to meet college admission requirements. Remember, each student's situation is unique, so it's essential to consider individual factors when choosing the best ACT test dates.