• Strengthen Your Chances
  • PSAT, SAT, ACT, Oh My!

ACT Testing Updates

Student sitting at work desk and looking at laptop

As you are probably aware, the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted thousands of students’ plans to take the ACT. Here’s an update on the ACT testing landscape as of July 29, 2020.

Students applying to college have a new stressor this year: the uncertainty surrounding college admissions testing. If you plan to take the ACT, you may have already experienced a test cancellation or postponement and are scrambling to register for another date. We’ve compiled the most recent news about the ACT test, including new test dates, registration deadlines, and other developments, plus additional resources to keep you in-the-know about the ACT test.

ACT Announces Additional Fall Test Dates

ACT has added seven additional weekend test dates in September and October (see below). Registration for these and other tests opens the last week of July. Visit the ACT website for details.

After cancelling its April 4 test administration, ACT administered the June 13 test at test sites deemed safe, and in accordance with CDC and local government essential business guidelines. According to ACT, the June test date was by no means “normal." Not only were not all test centers open but those that were open underwent extra precautionary steps to social distance and adhere to CDC guidelines. Despite these restrictions, ACT reports that a large number of students were still able to safely test in 45 states across the United States. 

ACT is working with state-level officials, as well as test centers around the globe, regarding the administration of the July 18 test. ACT will provide email updates on test center availability and capacity to all students who are registered for the July 18 test.

ACT-july-updates.png

How to Reschedule an Existing ACT Registration

If future tests are cancelled, ACT will send an email to all students registered for ACT tests informing them of their testing status and provide instructions for how to reschedule. Just follow the instructions in the email to reschedule your test date and/or location. You should in most cases be able to reschedule your registration through your student web account. If you are unable to reschedule your registration, contact ACT Customer Care.     

Test Date Change fees will be waived if you must reschedule your test registration. If you are unable to reschedule your test, you should contact ACT Customer Care directly for available options.

Fee Waivers Increased

ACT fee waivers will continue to be available to qualifying students who cannot afford the ACT registration free. ACT is increasing the amount of fee waivers eligible students can receive, from two fee waivers to four, and offering an unlimited number of free score reports. Go to the ACT website for information about obtaining a fee waiver.

New ACT Testing and Scoring Options

An online testing option allowing students to take the ACT on a computer at a designated ACT test center will be available beginning with the September 12, 2020 ACT national test date. Students may still take the test on paper, but those who complete the test online will receive their scores as soon as two business days after the test date as opposed to two weeks. ACT reported that a new at-home testing option would be available in the late fall of 2020 or early winter of 2021.

Starting in September 2020, ACT will introduce superscoring which takes the average of your four best subject scores from all of your ACT test attempts and counts it as your official score. ACT currently issues only a composite score, which is the average of the four subject scores from one ACT test attempt.

ACT had also planned to rollout Section Retesting in the fall, which lets students who have taken the full ACT test and have a valid composite score on file to retake individual ACT test sections. ACT recently announced that they are postponing the rollout of this option to later in 2021 so the organization can focus on expanding student access to the full ACT test.

What to Expect on Test Day

All ACT test centers and sites will be following CDC-recommended guidelines for social distancing. Gloves and masks are recommended on test day but will not be provided at the test site. If you wear a mask, ACT staff will ask you to remove it to confirm your identity. Masks and other personal protective equipment, such as gloves and hand sanitizer, will be subject to inspection. Students will be asked a series of health and wellness screening questions during check-in and will not be admitted if they affirm any of the questions. Students who are not admitted or who do not feel well on test day (and encouraged to stay home) will be able to change their test date with no fee.

Colleges are Being Flexible About Test Scores

Recognizing that testing opportunities are limited this summer, many colleges have announced test-optional policies, some for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, and some beyond that. Some colleges that require test scores have stated on their admissions pages that they will be flexible with test score deadlines.

Tips for Registering for the ACT

It’s important to register for the ACT as soon as possible so you have a reserved spot. If the test is cancelled, you will have access to the latest information from the ACT and can reschedule your test more quickly. Here are some tips for registering for the ACT.

  1. Register online. Registering online at actstudent.org is the fastest and easiest way to register. From your online account, you can print your admission ticket, make changes to your registration, and view your scores as soon as they are available.
  2. Submit a photo.You must submit a photo of yourself no later than one week before the day of the test. You may upload photos from your computer, from a mobile device, or send a paper copy by mail. The complete photo submission guidelines are on actstudent.org.
  3. Find out if you need to take the Writing Test. Some colleges require scores from the optional Writing Test. You can register for this test along with the ACT. It is offered on the same dates as the ACT test.
  4. Pay your fees or apply for a fee waiver. The registration fee for the ACT is $55 without writing and $70 with writing. The fee includes reports for you, your high school, and up to four colleges. There is a fee of $13 for each report sent to additional colleges. For a complete list of fees, as well as more information about registration, fee waivers, and the test itself, visit the ACT website.

What's Next?

Interested in taking the SAT? Get the latest SAT testing updates.

See The ACT: What You Need to Know to learn more about the ACT and what it entails.

Take a look at ACT or SAT? Which is Best for You? to make sure the ACT fits your test-taking style.

The information contained on the CollegeData website is for general informational purposes only and may not apply to you or your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content contained on the CollegeData website without consulting with your parents, high school counselors, admissions representatives or other college counseling professionals. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on the CollegeData website.