It is important to create a test taking plan! Use these ACT Dates 2016-2017 to create a solid test testing schedule. And don't forget to read my "ACT Registration: An Expert's Guide" for important registration tips to ensure that the testing experience and score are the best possible.
ACT Test Dates
September 10, 2016
October 22, 2016
December 10, 2016
February 11, 2017 (except New York)
April 8, 2017
June 10, 2017
August 5, 2016
September 16, 2016
November 4, 2016
January 6, 2017
March 3, 2017
May 5, 2017
ACT Dates 2016-2017 correspond to the school year, rather than calendar year. Every year, the ACT is offered six times: February, April, June, September, October, and December. Most colleges will take test scores from any test taken before December of the senior year (and some schools may also take the December ACT test too).
Note: The test dates listed below are for test takers in the United States. If you plan to take the exam outside of the United States, be sure to check the exact ACT Dates 2016-2017 for International ACT testing.
Even though the ACT Dates 2016-2017 have been released for upcoming years, a student cannot register that far ahead (typically in July the registration opens for the coming school year). But it does help to have the list of test dates for long term planning. When the ACT officially announce the new schedule, I will update this page with registration deadlines.
Remember that students often take the ACT test more than once. Why? For a couple reasons. Some schools will take your "highest combined" ACT score from multiple sittings (which almost always results in a higher total score). Other students just need a couple attempts at the ACT test to feel comfortable and relaxed. Generally, though, after three attempts, students will have achieved their best scores.
In my experience, the ideal student for the ACT test has at least one of the following traits: strong in mathematics and/or science (ideally taking advanced mathematics classes) strong GPA (but maybe lower PSAT or SAT scores), and students that characterize themselves as not so great "testers". Let me break down the reasons why.
Strong in Math and/or Science: The ACT test has the advantage of more equation-based math questions (whereas the SAT is more word problems) and the math concepts and questions are more aligned with the actual work students do in their math curriculum at school. So students who are strong in Math or Science usually are good candidates for the ACT.
Good GPA, but low SAT or PSAT scores: In my tutoring practice, I see this happen frequently. Again, as above, since the ACT is more aligned with the high school curriculum, many students with strong GPAs would be better off with the ACT. Also, the ACT does not test vocabulary, which is typically a weak spot for even strong students.
Not So Great Test-takers: When I meet students who are not great test takers, I usually suggest the ACT. Why? First, there is no guessing penalty on the ACT, which means if you miss a bunch of questions, no extra points will be deducted (but on the SAT that is not the case). Second, weaker testers will almost always have to take the test more than once. The ACT test, in my experience, is much easier to re-test because students do not so easily forget the strategies and concepts. Lastly, there is no all-score report on the ACT, so weaker testers can hide low scores more easily than with the SAT test.
Another question parents and students frequently ask me is "If I score well on the ACT, do I need to take the SAT?". And the answer is "No." All colleges now accept the ACT test, and both tests are considered equally valid for college admission. Focus your energy on the test that will most likely yield the best score.
If you are not sure how ACT scores compare to equivalent SAT scores, please read "How To Convert My ACT Score to the SAT score."
Did you know that not all colleges require students to submit SAT or ACT scores to be admitted to college? If you are a strong student, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you may be surprised to learn that many colleges, and really good colleges, have become "test-optional". Too many parents and students dismiss "test-optional" as a possible route to college admission. But before you do that, find out more about this growing, "student-friendly" trend in college admission.
Several times each week, I post articles and test taking tips about the SAT and ACT tests as well as college admissions. These blog entries are a great way to keep current with what is happening in high school test prep and college admissions. So please bookmark this page (or subscribe to my RSS feed) and let your friends and family know about TestPrepCoach.com!