ACT Test Registration: Updated for 2016-2017

Use the ACT test registration dates below to create a really good study plan for the ACT. Don't forget to also read my ACT prep book recommendations and my registration tips (see below).

ACT Test Dates: 2016-2017

ACT Test Dates

September 10, 2016

October 22, 2016

December 10, 2016

February 11, 2017 (except New York)

April 8, 2017

June 10, 2017

Register By:

August 5, 2016

September 16, 2016

November 4, 2016

January 6, 2017

March 3, 2017

May 5, 2017

Don't Make These Mistakes!

Over the years, I have witnessed many mistakes with ACT registration, especially since the exam added the Writing component. In the last few years, as the ACT rapidly expanded its testing base, I believe, that the exam sites and proctors are becoming less efficient and less sensitive to the needs of students (at least in southern California). 

So, I have some important tips! The last thing you want is to add even more stress to the day by not optimizing the testing experience. Please read my advice about ACT test registration before you register for the actual ACT Test.

Tip #1: Complete ACT Test Registration Early!

In order to get the best testing location and pay the lowest fee, plan to register at least 6-8 weeks before the actual exam. Typically late registration will kick in about a month before the actual exam. Here is a link to ACT Registration Dates 2016-2017.

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Tip #2: Always Register for ACT w/Writing

On this website, you will not see too many "always", but I do believe in this one. Why? Because there is no harm registering for the Writing portion (which is a short essay) except the extra fee (which is about $15). Some colleges require the Writing portion and others do not. But when you take the ACT test you may not know yet to which schools you will be applying.

For example, I had a student who did very well on her first ACT but she did not register for the Writing (even though I did tell her to). When she came to apply to the University of California, she discovered that the test she did so well on would not be accepted because it lacked the essay. In other words, even if she took the ACT again, with the Writing portion, the first test would not be considered. All students can avoid this scenario by always registering for the ACT with Writing.

Tip #3: Go Standby (if you register too late)

Even though I just said to register early, not everyone does. If you miss the late ACT Test registration deadline, remember that the ACT will allow students to go stand-by on the actual test date. Although not ideal, it will allow a student, in a pinch, to take the exam. Although space is not guaranteed, I would say that nine our of ten times a student will be seated. Note: Standby testing not offered in some countries.

If you think you may need to go stand-by, read the ACT Test registration instructions for stand-by testing before you arrive at the testing location.

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Tip #4: Order Copies of the Actual Test

The ACT Test offers an extra service called Test Information Release (TIR), which includes: a list of your answers, a copy of the test questions used in determining your scores, a list of the correct answers, and tables to convert your raw scores to the scores on your reports (scale scores). This service is only available on three national test dates per year—December, April, and June, and only if you test at a national test center. If you don't order it when you register you have up to three months after you test to do so.

Tip #5: Take Test at Local High School (Not a College)

It might seem odd, but test at the local high school (rather than a college). Why? Because a college does not have a strong incentive to make the testing location superb (whereas the high school wants students, especially their own, to do well). At colleges, noise complaints are more common from competing events (like Homecoming, Alumni weekends, etc) and desk size can be smaller, especially in auditorium-style classrooms.

The one exception to this rule would be if a student would have to drive 45 minutes longer to avoid the college location. For some students, a college location may be the only option. Also, if you take the ACT test at a location and did not feel comfortable, try a different one the next time. 

News & Updates

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!