How Many Times Can You Take The ACT?
Looking to maximize your college admissions opportunities but minimize the stress on your already busy schedule?
You’re probably wondering: how many times can you take the ACT?
Good news! The test makers at ACT, Inc. are very generous on this front.
You are allowed to take the ACT up to 12 times and scores remain valid up to 5 years after the date of the test.
However, there’s also some less-than-good news…
Taking the test as much as you are able to rarely leads to the best return on investment for your time.
As is true with most tasks around the college admissions process, it’s not best to simply say yes to every single little opportunity presented to you.
Instead, putting together a plan of action early is critical to keeping stress levels low and benefits high.
That’s where I come in.
your ultimate college and career goals, and
your current testing level,
…you can study smarter - not necessarily harder or longer - and reach your optimal test score.
Yes, having the ability to test multiple times is a great stress reliever in the testing game.
But here’s why I don’t ever recommend maxing out on taking the ACT as many times as you’re allowed to:
You may be forced to share anemic first ACT scores with your favorite colleges.
It's a waste of your time, your money, and your energy.
This article is going to unpack both of these potential problems so you can understand how to come up with a better, more personalized plan of when you should take the ACT and how, rather than simply exploiting how many times you can take the ACT.
Let’s get you feeling confident to put down your No. 2 pencil so you can focus on your college applications and empower the next steps toward your ideal future!
You May Not Be Able To Hide Bad Act Scores
While ACT, Inc. allows students to select which test dates they share with colleges via the Score Choice feature, some colleges require that students submit all of their ACT scores in order to be considered for admission.
In other words, you can't use Score Choice if you want to apply to colleges that don't allow you to take advantage of that option.
Further, since most students take the ACT before they've finalized their college list, you can discover this unpleasant surprise long after you've logged a sub-par score into the official record.
Instead of rolling the dice and taking an official ACT just to see how you'll do, make sure you've benchmarked your ACT score for free at home before ever facing a real exam. (More on how to do that in a moment...)
Don’t Waste Time, Money, Or Energy
I've been helping students prepare for the ACT for over 14 years now and if there's one thing I can say with complete confidence it is this: there is nothing more defeating than retaking a test and seeing little to no progress.
And yet many students think that simply testing again will lead to improved results.
The sad truth is that it usually doesn't.
Unless you are actively preparing for the ACT, your scores won't improve much.
Taking the test over and over without tweaking your strategic approach or reviewing academic concepts is a recipe for disappointment.
However, ACT, Inc.'s generous 12-test policy leads a lot of students to do just that.
They sacrifice a lot of Saturday mornings and hundreds of dollars in registration fees that a little bit of planning could've helped them avoid.
To make sure this doesn't happen to your family, I'm to share with you the ideal way to go take the ACT so you can get your higher scores in as few test dates as possible.
So instead of focusing on how many times you can take the ACT, let's ask how many times you should take the ACT.
How Many Times Should You Take The Act?
While the official policy allows you to take the ACT up to 12 times, for the sake of everyone's sanity my advice is to have students plan to take the exam at least 2 times on back-to-back test dates after some preparation.
An ideal testing plan looks something like this:
Step 1: Take a free practice ACT at home to get a sense of your student's starting score. (You'll find 2 free practice tests here.)
Step 2: Research a few of your favorite colleges' average ACT scores for accepted students. Bonus points if you take a peek at their scholarship requirements too. After all, there are thousands of dollars hiding in your ACT score - often for lower scores than you may expect.
Step 3: Assess the difference between your student's starting score and target score and decide on an ACT prep program that will help you bridge that gap.
At the end of the day, the goal is to test as few times as possible to get the scores you need to get the things you want - namely, admission to your favorite colleges and scholarship dollars to help you pay for the experience.
That's my focus here at Higher Scores Test Prep.
Both of my online ACT prep courses are designed to walk you through the steps of this process - helping you come up with your testing plan, improve your ACT scores, and maximize your scholarship awards - in as few as 4 hours.
For help studying or making a college application plan that will gain you acceptance letters and scholarship awards, even when the process gets more and more complicated every year, our sister company March Consulting is here to help make the college admissions process make sense for you and your family.
Have an ACT testing question? Click here to send me an email. I’m here to help you on the path to ACT testing success!