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We’ve all done it: planned for something but got buried in life and forgot about it, double-booked an important event, or put off prep until it was too late. Flexibility in life is a must, and sometimes plans change! Registering for the ACT is no different. You go into it with the best intentions but life still gets in the way. You’re probably wondering, how do you cancel or postpone your ACT until it’s a better time?

The first thing to note is that you should definitely put thought into the ACT date you choose. You should have the score you want by the end of your Junior year, December of your Senior year at the absolute latest. This allows for time to get your scores back and even retake if necessary before application deadlines. Always allow time for a retake! When it comes to test prep and college apps, always better safe than sorry.

Curious about the 2022/2023 ACT test dates? Plan ahead here.

You should start to look at test dates the fall of your Junior year, planning for the spring. After a couple of months of Junior year, you’ll be familiar with your course load, and any extracurriculars or sports you’re involved in. This will help you determine how much time you have to prep for the ACT.

If you plan to play spring sports, for example, you should keep that in mind when you choose a test date. You’ll need to fit adequate prep time into your busy school and sports schedules. How much prep you’ll plan for depends on your individual goals for the ACT.

So you did your best to plan ahead, but something still came up and you can’t take the ACT you registered for. That’s okay, we’ll roll with it. You have 2 options:

  1. Change your ACT date
  2. “Cancel” your ACT

How to Change Your ACT Date

If you can’t make the date you registered for, but you still intend on taking the ACT, you should just change your date. The fee you already paid can carry over to a new test date, but there will be a $25 test date change fee that you’ll have to pay.

Important: Make sure you register for your new date before its registration deadline! Otherwise, you’ll have an additional $27.50 late registration fee to tack on to the test date change fee. As I said, deadlines are strict, and ACT will capitalize on them. Not even an angry call from your mom will sway them into offering a full refund or bending the rules of the registration date.

Good luck getting that refund, Karen.

It may seem like you’re paying for the new test in full, but the original date you signed up for will be refunded to you, so really it’s just the date change fee in the end. I didn’t say it was efficient, I’m just trying to ease your mind from the anxiety of that initial double charge.

To change your ACT date, you should log in to your ACT account (where you registered for the initial test), and find your test date. You can change the date you’re registered for, pay any applicable fees, and then you’ll be good to go for the next one!

3 Reasons to Change Your ACT Date

  1. You have an unavoidable event on the day you were supposed to test. – I’m not talking about you want to go see Star Wars 46 (or whatever they’re on now) with all your friends instead of taking the ACT. Literally, who wouldn’t? I mean you have a funeral, sports tournament, prom, dance recital, etc. conflicting with your ACT date that you can’t miss.
  2. You don’t feel adequately prepared for the test you’re registered for. – If you think you’ll do poorly because you haven’t had the time to prepare as you’d like, it may be best to postpone your test date until you can prepare enough. Remember to leave time for retakes, always keep registration and application dates in mind!
  3. You’re sick and won’t recover by your test date. – You get the flu the week before your ACT and just don’t have it in you to use your brain yet. Understandable, brain fog is real. The $25 fee to change your date really isn’t a big deal in the long run, especially if testing a month later will put you in a much better headspace to succeed.
oooh flexible. Just like your ACT date! (somewhat)

How to Cancel Your ACT

We use the term “cancel” lightly. Sure, you can cancel the test in your calendar and not show up on test day, but you won’t receive a refund for the ACT registration fee you already paid. All the more reason to take your registration date seriously and really think about what you’re getting yourself into, as it won’t be something you can demand a refund on.

The only refunds you may be eligible for on the ACT are if you paid for answer services, the writing test, or extra score reports. To get these refunds you can either email your unused admission ticket to ACT registration (act-reg@act.org) with the subject line “REFUND” or snail mail it with “REFUND” written on it. It can take 8 weeks to see that money back, so you should only cancel a test if it’s absolutely necessary.

3 Reasons to Cancel Your ACT

  1. You already have the score you want – Say you were excited (and rich) and registered for a bunch of ACT dates at once, anticipating taking it many times. Then you scored a 36 before you could take all the tests. First of all, congrats on being rich and smart, you’ll go far in life. Second, I’m sorry those test dates you don’t need are mostly non-refundable. If you already have the score you want and there’s no need to retake, you could definitely just not show up to your next scheduled date(s) and just cut your financial losses.
  2. You don’t need to take the ACT anymore – With Covid especially, many schools are going test blind or test-optional. If your school of choice falls on this list, you may want to save yourself the anxiety of taking the ACT, which is fine, it just won’t save you any money.
  3. You decided the SAT was a better fit for you – Personally, I’d argue you should still take the ACT too. If you don’t want to waste your time and would rather focus on your SAT, you can definitely no-show your scheduled test. However, both test for essentially the same things, so you may surprise yourself with a good score even if you’re only doing SAT-specific prep.

Final Thoughts

Canceling or changing your ACT test is no joke. You should be really sure if you want to no-show your test, as that ACT registration fee is non-refundable. You can move your test date relatively easily, in your ACT account online for a small fee of $25. The best way to get ahead of wondering if you should cancel your test date or not is to intentionally choose a date and plan around that date, so you can be adequately prepped and ready to crush it!

Kirsten Mann
Kirsten is the Operations Coordinator at Test Geek. She has a 35 on the ACT Reading Test and enjoys sarcasm and pop culture references.

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