Before you start preparing for the ACT, there are a number of issues to consider:
The remaining ACT Test Dates, Registration, Late Registration,* and Complete Score Release dates for the current 2018/19 season are as follows:
- June 09, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 5–18, 2018 June 19–Aug 03, 2018
- July 14, 2018 June 15, 2018 June 16–22, 2018 July 24–Aug 27, 2018
- Sept 08, 2018 Aug 03, 2018 Aug 4–17, 2018 Sept 18–Nov 02, 2018
- Oct 27, 2018 Sept 21, 2018 Sept 22–Oct 10, 2018 Nov 13, 2018–Jan 01, 2019
- Dec 08, 2018 Nov 02, 2018 Nov 3–25, 2018 Dec 18, 2018–Feb 01, 2019
- Feb 09, 2019 Jan 11, 2019 Jan 12–18, 2019 Feb 02–April 05, 2019
- April 13, 2019
- June 08, 2019
- July 13, 2019
The Feb and July ACT are not held in New York State; the July ACT is not held in California.
*If you miss the deadline for late registration, you can go to your ACT account and request Standby Testing during a limited Standby Testing registration period.
Most students are unaware of the fact that the ACT—as well as the SAT—is curved. And yet, this vital information has a direct effect on your ultimate score.
The test with the best curve is the Dec ACT; the test with the second best curve is the June ACT. Conversely, the test with the worst curve is the Feb ACT; the test with the second worst curve is the Oct ACT. This means if two students take the test, one in Dec and the other in Feb, and they get the same number of questions correct on the English, or the Math, or the Reading, or the Science Test, the student who took the ACT in Dec or June will receive a higher score on each of these individual tests than the student who took the test in Feb or Oct.
Once you have chosen which ACT test(s) to take, you should register for the exam ASAP. Go to act.org and set up a student account. Then click on “Registration” scroll down to “Dates, Locations, and Fees” where you will find a list of dates for “Regular Registration Deadline” and for “Late Registration Deadline.” Should you miss the Late Registration Deadline, you can still potentially sign up for the test by scrolling further down to “Standby Testing.” Please note that you must register for Standby Testing and that this type of testing also comes with its own deadline.
You should also take the test at a quiet high quality test center—not all test centers adhere to the highest standards. In this regard, be aware that the best test centers—for example, in New York City, the NYU test center is very popular with students—fill up very quickly.
If you find that the test center you would like to test at is already filled up, or if you prefer to take the ACT on Sunday, go to act.org and type in “Show non-Saturday Test Centers.”
In life, not having a plan is actually to have a plan—and a very poor plan at that.
Knowing that the test with the best curve is the Dec ACT, incoming juniors should start preparing for the ACT over the summer between their second and third years of high school. Students should register to take either the Sept, Oct and Dec ACT or the Dec, April and June ACT. Why register to take three ACT exams? In my 20 plus years experience working with students I have found that students rarely perform at their optimal level the first time they take the exam. In other words, no matter how well prepared a student is for the upcoming test—and believe me, I always made sure my private students were well prepared for their upcoming test: Before their exam, all my private students had to take a full complement of at least three actual prior exams, given in a group setting, and administered under realistic testing conditions. Even after all of this preparation, the vast majority of my students still underperformed on the test due to test anxiety. The good news is that the vast majority of my students eventually acclimated to the test and did well either the second, or the third time they took the ACT.