It’s a new year, which means there are new opportunities to take the ACT with ACT test dates for 2021! Hopefully this year will be filled with fewer cancelled test dates and higher scores!
Take a closer look to see the national ACT test dates and to learn how you should make decisions about when you should take the ACT!
What are the ACT test dates in 2021?
While some of the details, especially regarding registration deadlines and fees, may adjust in the next few months, here is the ACT test schedule (updated as of January 2021).
|ACT Test Date||Registration Deadline||Late Fee Required|
|February 6, 2021||January 15||No late fees|
|April 17, 2021||March 12||March 13 – March 26|
|June 12, 2021||May 7||May 8 – May 21|
|July 17, 2021*||June 18||June 19 – June 25|
Aside from these national test dates, many schools will offer the ACT during the school day, especially in states where it is the state-mandated test for juniors.
Check with your school counselor or state education website to see if and when your school offers the tests. These tests usually begin at the end of February (states like Kansas, Ohio, and Arkansas begin offering the ACT on February 23, 2021) and go until mid April (Wyoming, Montana, and South Carolina offer their last test on April 20, 2021).
What are the ACT fees in 2021?
ACT fees remain the same so far in 2021, with the exception of some dates not requiring late fees for late registrations. With so many unknowns and changes in testing schedules, late registration fees were waived by the ACT for most of the 2020 tests. Check the ACT website for the most current fee schedule.
|Full ACT test (no writing)||$55|
|Full ACT (with writing)||$70|
|Additional score reports||$13|
If you are a student who is eligible for Federal Free and Reduced lunch programs, the ACT offers waivers for up to four ACT tests and unlimited score reports.
When should you take the ACT?
Now that you know when the ACT tests are (and how much they cost), how do you decide which test date is right for you?
First, it’s important to know how many times you should take the ACT. Very rarely does anyone get their best score the first time. We recommend that you take the ACT at least four times: twice junior year and twice senior year. But deciding which test dates are best can vary.
Here are a few questions to ask as you plan out your ACT testing schedule.
1. Will my school offer the ACT?
If they do, that means you get a free testing opportunity. But, that doesn’t mean you should take it easy or wait until your school test date to think about the ACT. Better yet, make the school-offered ACT your second test. Sign up to take either the December or February ACT prior to your school’s test so you’re prepared for the format of the test, the timing, and the content. It is also a great idea to take the test on the national Saturday date closest to your school’s testing date—this way you get double the testing out of your preparation!
2. What’s my college application timeline?
Make a list of the colleges you are considering and write down their application deadlines. See when you need to have taken the ACT in order to submit your application. Most colleges will accept ACT scores from seniors through the December test of their fall semester (some even consider the February test from spring semester), but it’s worth checking to make sure you have all the pieces of your application in place to get into your college choices—don’t forget to consider early applications as well! Also check on when scholarships are awarded. Some schools only disburse a limited amount of money, so you want to get your name under consideration before the funds run out!
3. What other commitments do I have?
While you shouldn’t put off the ACT because of other commitments, extracurricular activities, or your academic load, it is worth taking a look at your schedule to consider what else might be happening at the same time as the test. If you’re an athlete, you might not have your best test the day after a long drive back from an away game. If you are a musician or an actor, try to avoid a test date directly after a big performance. Consider your schedule and choose which four ACT tests you’ll take over the course of your junior and senior years.
Think you’re ready? There’s one more step after you choose your ACT test dates: maximize your scores with ACT test prep. Practice and prepare so you can do your best on the test!