The ACT is only offered seven times per year: once each in February, April, June, July, September, October and December. That means you need to know which test date works best for your schedule, and you need to make sure that you'll get your scores back in time for college admissions deadlines. We'll lay out everything you need to know about the 2024 ACT test dates, including registration deadlines and score release dates.
|2024 ACT Test Date
|Regular Registration Deadline
|Late Registration Deadline
|Score Release Date
|February 10, 2024
|January 5, 2024
|January 19, 2024
|February 20 - April 15, 2024
|April 13, 2024
|March 8, 2024
|March 22, 2024
|April 23 – June 7, 2024
|June 8, 2024
|May 3, 2024
|May 17, 2024
|June 18 – August 2, 2024
|July 13, 2024
|June 7, 2024
|June 21, 2024
|July 23 – September 6, 2024
|September 7, 2024
|August 9, 2024
|August 23, 2024
|September 17 - November 1, 2024
|October 26, 2024
|September 27, 2024
|October 11, 2024
|November 5 - December 20, 2024
|December 16, 2024
|November 18, 2024
|December 1, 2024
|December 26 - January 6. 2025
A good rule of thumb is to have the score you want by the end of your junior year. That leaves test dates in the fall of your senior year as absolute backups, which is exactly how they should be viewed. While those test dates in the fall of your senior year probably get released in time to make most college application deadlines, they don't leave enough time to take the test, get your scores back, do significant prep and then retake the exam.
Okay, so you want to have the score you want by the end of your junior year. When should you take the exam for the first time? It depends on whether you have completed Algebra 2 by the end of your sophomore year.
If so, it might be a good idea to look at test dates during the fall of your junior year. Those test dates allow you to do you prep over the summer, when you might have more time, and the math you learned back in pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 won't seem quite as distant as it would during the spring of your junior year. Rusty math skills are a big deal on the ACT, so we don't want to wait longer than necessary to take the test.
If you have not completed Algebra 2 by the end of your sophomore year, you should target test dates in the spring of your junior year. This allows you to complete as much Algebra 2 as possible during your junior year before taking the test.
No matter when you take the test, remember: It is about quality, not quantity. Taking the exam a lot doesn't necessarily raise your score. The most important part of taking practice tests is the review that you do after you are done. It is better to do fifteen ACT practice questions but really dig into them than to do an entire practice test but not do any review of your missed questions.
This is one of the most common questions students ask, and it's one that gets a massive variety of answers. The truth is that this question probably gets more attention than it deserves. Asking how many times you should take the ACT is missing the point: taking the test multiple times won't necessarily raise your score. Instead, what matters is what you do between those attempts.
To be clear, there are some scenarios in which a retake is a great idea, even if you don't do much in between attempts:
1. You underperformed on test day. "Underperform" here means that you did significantly worse than you have been doing on official ACT practice tests. Third-party tests (tests not from College Board) don't count. If you've been scoring in the mid-1200's regularly on official tests, but you scored an 1120 on test day, go home and immediately sign up for the next available test date.
2. You took the test before completing relevant coursework in school. Maybe you took the test a year ago, but you've now completed Algebra 2. That means you should be better at the ACT today than you were a year ago, solely based on your classes in school. In this case, you should retake the exam.
Outside of these kinds of scenarios, though, you should expect to have to get better at the ACT in a real way before seeing your score go up. That means you need to be prepared to invest the time and energy (and possibly money, if you plan to hire a tutor).
Think about it this way: If you ran a mile in PE in 8 minutes, would you think you could run faster at the next running test in a month if you just sat on the couch between now and then? Of course not. If you wanted to run faster, your plan wouldn't be to do the running test over and over for your PE teacher. Instead, it would revolve around the training you needed to do in order to run faster. Similarly, ACT scores don't go up on their own. You have to get better, and if you get better, one test might be all you need.
From beginning to end, the Test Geek ACT tutoring program is all about the student. Here's a snapshot of what you can look forward to:
Your sophomore year is all about doing well in school. Mastering core topics like algebra, geometry and grammar will set you up to do well on the ACT.
The math class you have completed after your sophomore year will dictate when you should take the ACT. If you have completed Algebra 2 as a sophomore (or before), you should consider taking the ACT as soon as August of your junior year. If you will be in Algebra 2 as a junior, you should wait until the spring of your junior year.
That doesn't mean you should rush to take Algebra 2 as a sophomore if that isn't a natural progression for you. You have plenty of time. The most important thing is becoming the best math student you can be.
If you have already completed Algebra 2, this might be a good time for you to consider taking the ACT. You don't have to, of course. You have options. But if a fall test dates works for your schedule, it certainly has its perks (being able to prep over the summer is great for most students).
If you have not yet completed Algebra 2 and are therefore planning to take the ACT in the spring, this is a good time to start some casual prep. Don't hit it too hard just yet -- that's a recipe for burnout. You'll take the PSAT in October, and that will give you an idea of where you stand and what your weaknesses are.
If you took the test in the fall, this is your ideal time for a retake. If you haven't taken the ACT yet, now is the time. Any of the spring dates will work, but we really like the March test date. You'll get those scores back in late March, which allows you to do a retake in May or June if you didn't do as well as you'd like.
No matter what, you should aim to have the score you want by the end of your junior year. Early senior year test dates can work, but you should view those as absolute backup plans.
For most students, fall of the senior year is the last departing train for the ACT. If you are targeting a senior-year test date, the August one is often a good idea. You get to prep over the summer, which is good for most students, and you get your scores back before even the earliest of the early decision application deadlines.
These ACT dates are backups. They shouldn't be part of your original plan. They are for when things go wrong, but they can still be the dates when you finally get the score you need.
It's easy to get wrapped up in timelines and matching your ACT test date to your school coursework and all of that, but one thing a lot of students miss is factoring in their own schedule. When are you free to really prep hard? The quality of the work you do for the ACT over the two or three months leading up to the exam is vitally important to getting your best score, so don't forget to step back and look at your life. Do you play spring sports? Are you going to be gone most of the summer? These questions are important parts of the ACT timeline.
Similarly, don't discount the importance of enjoying your life! High school is fun, and we're big fans of knocking this test out and being done with it. Take it as soon as you are ready, and don't feel like you need to devote the rest of your high school experience to ACT prep. Best of luck!