How Many Times Can You Take the ACT?

Feb 22, 2022 | Turito Team USA

how many times can you take the act

The ACT is a college entrance exam utilized by most colleges and universities to determine admissions choices. ACT, Inc. administers a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper exam. Before writing the ACT, it is important to have all the facts about the examination. A common question that students ask is – how many times can you take the ACT?

According to ACT, Inc.’s current policy, students may take the ACT up to 12 times, with their results valid for 5 years from the exam date. The ACT is administered seven times a year: February, April, June, July, August, September, and October. So, if you were wondering how many times you can take the ACT, you have your answer!

Can Colleges See How Many Times you take the ACT?

Are you looking for the answers to the question – can colleges see how many times you take the ACT? Many experts don’t recommend taking the ACT multiple times because several universities demand candidates submit their ACT results to be considered for admission. You should only take the ACT when you are confident with your preparation unless you want to enter a subpar score into your application. Not all colleges can see how many times you take the ACT unless you are asked to submit the entire history of your tests.

Is it a good idea to take the ACT multiple times?

We have already answered the question – how many times can you take the ACT? It is 12 times, and scores are valid for 5 years. However, is it recommended to attempt the ACT 12 times? Here are some points to remember:

  • You may be required to disclose your mediocre ACT results to your universities. While ACT, Inc. allows students to choose which test dates they want to share with universities through the Score Choice tool, specific colleges need students to submit all their ACT results to be considered for admission. In addition, these colleges can see how many times you take the ACT along with your scores for each attempt. 
  • Repeatedly taking the test can be a waste of time and money. Despite this, many students believe that testing again without active preparation will result in better scores. It is important to change your strategy and revisit academic subjects. ACT, Inc. has a liberal 12 test policy, because of which many students waste their time and money with no real preparation. Instead of asking the question: “How many times can you take the ACT exam?”, ask “How many times should you take the ACT exam?”
  • The schools that require you to send all your ACT exam results are: 
    • Boston University
    • Brown University
    • Columbia University
    • Cornell University
    • Hamilton College
    • Pomona University
    • Stanford University
    • Washington University
    • Yale University

These colleges can see how many times you take the ACT along with your scores for each attempt.

How many times can you take the ACT for free?

If you plan to take the ACT multiple times, you might be wondering- How many times can you take the ACT for free? The ACT exam costs $63.00 without the optional essay writing and $88.00 with essay writing. These costs will add up with subsequent attempts and can burn a hole in your back pocket.

Luckily, the ACT has arrangements for low-income students in the form of a “Fee Waiver Program.” If you meet the eligibility criteria given on the official website, you can apply for the program.

The advantages of this program are:

  • ACT Test Fee Coverage: ACT will fund four ACT examinations, with or without the optional writing component. If you qualify for the program, you can take the ACT for free up to 4 times.
  • Additional ACT score reports: Additional ACT score reports can be sent to your high school and up to six college options for free. After registering, you will obtain an infinite number of score reports for free.
  • College Application Cost Waiver: College application costs can add up quickly, but good news! Students who take the ACT with a price waiver may also apply for a Waiver of College Admission Applications Fee. You must send your fee waiver to the school you are applying to have your application cost waived.

So, in addition to other fantastic benefits, you can also take the ACT for free up to 4 times.

How Many Times Can I Take the SAT and ACT?

The SATs and ACTs are two different examinations that students must take for admission to a college in the United States. There is no benefit to taking one test over the other, as all universities accept both the ACT and the SAT. Students consider taking both the SAT and the ACT, but this isn’t always a viable solution due to the limitations of time and finances.

So, now the question arises – how many times can I take the SAT and ACT? As mentioned earlier, you can take the ACT 12 times and the SAT as many times as you want. Now that you know how many times you can take the SAT and ACT, the question arises, what is the ideal number of times you should take the SAT and ACT?

It would help if you retook the tests to improve your score, but it should be limited to two or three attempts. This is because, after the third try, your score is unlikely to improve significantly. Taking the test more than three times and receiving the same—or potentially lower—results may only lead to dissatisfaction. 

How Can You Raise Your ACT Score Before the Next Exam?

There are a few pointers to keep in mind when retaking the ACT to minimize the number of times you take the ACT exam.

  • Begin early: Do you believe that starting to prepare for the ACT in 9th grade is too early? Consider it again. While you don’t need to purchase ACT materials right away, you should focus on being well-prepared when test day arrives. Begin to work on practice examinations to help you build your foundation.
  • Prepare by taking high school classes: The ACT is designed to assess what you’ve learned in your classes. So, studying and paying attention in class will help you prepare for the ACT as well.
  • Take a lot of practice exams: Examine each test and pay close attention to the questions you answered incorrectly. You’ll probably start to discover trends, which will provide you insight into which aspects of your preparation you should improve and focus on. This will minimize the number of times you take the ACT exam.
  • Understand the scoring system: The ACT is divided into four sections: reading, science, mathematics, and English. Each area is graded on a scale of 1-36, and you’ll also earn a composite score based on the average of the four sections. There is a second, optional writing part graded on a scale of 1-12, and does not contribute to your overall score.
  • Don’t allow exam nerves to get the best of you: Test anxiety is a significant problem many students face. If you have it, talk to your guidance counselor or a trusted teacher about it; they may be able to direct you to some external services, such as counseling or a tutor. Students facing financial difficulties can also take the ACT for free up to 4 times.

Ideal Study Plan for the ACT

Step 1: At home, take a free practice ACT to understand your beginning score. 

Step 2: Look at the typical ACT scores of admitted students at a couple of your top universities. You’ll get more benefits if you look into their scholarship criteria as well. After all, your ACT score might be worth thousands of dollars – frequently for lower levels than you might imagine.

Step 3: Determine the difference between your beginning and target scores and select an ACT program that will assist you in closing that gap.

Step 4: Register for two consecutive ACT dates (for example, April and June or September and October) to optimize your testing efforts. The goal is not to exhaust the number of times you can take the SAT and ACT.

In conclusion, the ACT is a 2-hour 55-minute marathon. It is important to handle stress and manage time efficiently. Making a proper strategy before the exam will reduce the number of times you take the ACT exam and achieve high scores.


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