Registering for the ACT in 2020
Likely, if you are reading this, college is right around the corner. With all that excitement comes a few things that aren’t as fun, like preparing for and registering for your standardized tests. While most of the anxiety that comes with taking any standardized test comes from the test itself, we understand that sometimes the logistics cause a little stress as well. Don’t worry, we have the definitive guide to registering for the ACT right here.
When Do You Take the ACTs?
Most students trying to get into selective colleges take the exam twice, once their junior year and then again at the beginning of their senior year, if needed. The ACT is offered seven times each school year, in September, October, December, February, April, June and July, always on a Saturday. For exact dates, take a look here. If you cannot take the ACT on a Saturday due to religious or cultural reasons, the ACT will make exceptions. Take a look here for non-Saturday registration.
Even though this is the typical time frame, the best time to take and retake the ACTs is when you are prepared and when you have time to add an additional responsibility to your schedule.
Take a look at our reviews of all the top ACT prep courses and find the best ACT course to help you succeed. Whichever course you decide to prep for the ACT with, make sure to save using our exclusive ACT discounts.
How to Sign Up for the ACTs
Once you’ve decided when you want to take the ACT, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sign up. You need to sign up for the ACT about four weeks before you take the exam, so be sure to plan ahead to get the test date and location you want.
If you miss the ACT registration deadline, you can always pay an additional ACT late registration fee of $30, but it is not ideal. Some test sites fill up, so it is best to register early.
The ACT registration deadlines are listed here.
Before You Begin ACT Registration
ACT registration can take about 40 minutes, so be sure to set aside enough time to complete the registration. If you don’t have time to register, you can set up an email or text alert to remind you to register from the ACT website
Before you sit down to register for the ACT, you will need to gather a few things to make the registration process go smoothly. You will need to be in front of a computer with internet, have a credit card or your fee waiver handy, have your high school course details, and have a headshot photo of yourself. You will also need to know your high school code, and your desired test location. You should also know if the ACT with writing is required for admission to your selected school and if you need any special accommodations or support.
Gather all of this together so you don’t need to interrupt the registration process.
You will need to register for an ACT account. Your account will give you access to ACT registration now, and score and college information later. You will be given your ACT ID when you register as well, so be sure to keep your login information available. You can register for an account here.
How to Register to Take the ACT
Once you’ve created an ACT account as detailed above, you can begin your ACT registration.
1. Answer Personal Information
ACT.org will ask you for standard personal information. They will also ask you questions about your college plans and any special interests or extracurricular activities and accomplishments have achieved. All of this information is used to better match you with potential merit-based aid packages and colleges that you may not have considered.
2. Choose Test and Payment Options
The next step is to choose your test date and option (writing or no writing). This is also where you can add on additional services like Rapid Review On Demand or ACT Online Prep. It also allows you to choose if you want the additional test information sent to you, or if you want any of the official test prep guides.
3. Upload Your Photo
After you’ve chosen your test taking options and if you want any additional products or services, you will upload your photo. Your photo should be a clear head shot of only you. It should be on a plain background and you must be facing the camera with nothing covering your face. It needs to be representative of how you will look on test day. Do not take a photo of a photo, it is best to take a plain selfie of yourself.
Make sure you understand all of the ACT photo requirements.
4. Answer More Questions
After you upload your photo, you will answer more questions about your college choices, your high school career and your future plans. All of this feels a little tedious, but it helps ACT.org better match you with schools and merit-based aid.
Here you will tell the ACT where to send your test scores. You can choose up to six schools and scholarship agencies. The first four are free, but you can pay $13 for additional score reports. List them in order of priority. Don’t worry if you don’t know which ones you’d like or if you need more. You can update this list up until a few days after you take the ACT.
5. Choose Your Test Center
If you have your test center code from an earlier search, enter it here. If not, this page will let you search for a test site that will work for you. Enter your zip code or city and state, and you will see a list of locations. Choose the one that best works for you.
Where Can You Take the ACTs?
Most students will take the ACTs at a school near their home. To find a test center near you, visit the ACT’s website and enter your desired location information. You can take the ACT at thousands of locations around the world.
Once you register for the ACT, you will be given the exact location on campus to take the test.
If you can’t find a location near you, call ACT.org at 319.337.1270.
6. Confirm Your Information and Make a Payment
Once you’ve chosen a test site, you will confirm your information. Make sure it is correct. This is the information that will be sent to colleges and used to check you into the test site. At this point, you will enter your credit card information or payment voucher information. After you hit submit, congratulate yourself. You’re registered for the ACT!
After Your ACT Registration
Once you’ve registered, you will have the option to print your ACT ticket. If you don’t print it now, you can log back into your account to print it. You will need this ticket to enter the test site.
On test day, you should bring your ACT ticket, a photo ID, number 2 pencils, a watch (but not one with an alarm or a smart watch), a calculator, and snacks. Take a look at the ACT’s calculator policy here.
If you have questions about how the ACT is scored, make sure to also check out our ACT Scoring Guide.
You are now ready to take the ACT!
Frequently Asked ACT Registration Questions
How Much Does It Cost to Register for the ACT?
It is $50.50 to register for the ACT with no writing and $67 if you do need to take the writing portion. Both of these include score reports for you, your high school and up to four colleges if you provide the codes when you register.
If you have to change your ACT test date or location, you will be charged $16.50. ACT late registration is an additional $30. You will also be asked to pay the late registration fee if you make any changes after the ACT registration deadline. If you missed the late registration deadline, you can sign up for standby testing, which is $53, but is refunded if you are denied admission to the test center.
If you fail to meet security requirements, are absent, or are otherwise not admitted on your test date, you can pay an additional $30 to get a new test date.
Additional score reports are $13 each. A copy of your test questions and answers is $20 and telephone registration is $15.
You may be eligible for a fee waiver if you are enrolled in 11th or 12th grade in the US and meet one or more of the economic need indicators listed here. You need to request the waiver from your high school counselor.
Can I Reschedule or Change My ACT Registration?
Yes, you can. You can change your registration details any time before the registration deadline, with an additional fee. If you’d like to update your writing option, you can change it with a $16.50 test option fee.
If you’d like to change your test date or test center, there is a $30 fee. If you change the date or test center after the deadline, you will be asked to pay the late registration fee. To make changes, log in to your ACT account and click on “Make changes to your registration.”
Getting ready for college is a very exciting time. It can also be stressful. But registering for the ACT doesn’t have to be. Prepare yourself ahead of time by studying well in advance of the test, signing up early, and making sure you have everything you need on your test day. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the test site and check in. And then rest easy knowing you did your best!
How to Sign Up for the ACT by Mail?
Most students are required to sign up for the ACT online, but if you are under 13 or are unable to pay by credit card, you will need to register for the ACT by mail. To do so, you need to request a Register-By-Mail packet. Make sure to allow a few extra weeks in your registration timeline for delivery.