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If you are a current sophomore or junior, you may be considering when to take the ACT. This blog covers 2023-2024 ACT test dates, what to consider when picking a date, and preparation options. For SAT test dates, we’ve got you covered here.

2023-2024 ACT Test Dates

The ACT is typically offered seven times per year on Saturdays. The test dates for the 2023-2024 school year are as follows: 

  • September 9th 

  • October 28th 

  • December 9th 

  • February 10th

  • April 13th

  • June 8th

  • July 13th

Registration for testing opens six weeks before the test date. Be sure to register early to ensure that you can test at your preferred testing center–testing centers can fill up quickly, especially in the fall when many seniors are taking the exam. You can find information on how and when to register for the ACT here

Before registering, also consider whether you will be taking the essay portion of the test. Very few schools require the essay, so be certain to check if the schools you are applying to require it. 

How to Pick a Test Date

There are several factors to consider when picking a test date. A primary consideration is your schedule around the test date. If you have a lot of commitments during a particular month, it may not be the best time to take the ACT. For example, if you play a sport that has games on Friday nights, it may be best to take the ACT outside of that sport’s season so that you can get a full night’s rest before the test. As a general rule, we recommend that you consider taking the test during a month when you have fewer commitments.

Another factor to keep in mind is your college application timeline. When are applications due, and when are their test score deadlines? Many students take the ACT twice, so you may want to consider preparing earlier to allow yourself a second shot at the test with enough time to get your scores for your college application deadlines. 

Finally, consider your ACT preparation schedule. Ideally, aim for eight to twelve weeks of test preparation. This will allow you time to learn and practice strategies, brush up on content, and become familiar with the test format.

You may have heard that different test dates can have different score scales. Score scales are used to grade the ACT, as we explain here, and these scales dictate the relationship between the number of correct answers and the overall score. While the scale can change from test to test, this is due to the respective difficulties of the tests, not the test date itself. Overall, this is not a factor to consider when choosing a test date. 

ACT Preparation

When you are considering your test date, it is also helpful to consider how you will be preparing. There are many ways to prepare for the ACT, ranging from studying independently with a prep book to working individually with a test prep tutor. Mindfish Test Prep offers 1-on-1 tutoring, as well as group test prep courses. We offer both formats in-person in Colorado and online to students around the world. 

College Applications: the Big Picture

Overall, the ACT is only one aspect of your college application. While strong ACT scores can certainly help you stand out, keep in mind that your application is bigger than just your test score. It is vital to develop a college application that showcases your strengths and accomplishments. The college application essay is a great opportunity to display aspects of yourself that don’t come across through the SAT. As you are working on your application, consider working on your college essay with an essay coach that can help you communicate your strengths to college admissions officers.