What is the ACT?
For most of us, the prospect of taking the ACT is about as fun as the prospect of getting a tetanus shot, but we want to change that attitude. We want you to be excited about flexing your big brains on ACT test day. And by the end of this guide, you’ll be thinking of the exam as the lollipop at the end of that dark, dark forced immunization tunnel. Promise.
You can register for the ACT by going to the ACT website. The test is offered in all 50 states from September to June of every year (usually in September, October, December, February, April, and June). It costs $33 to take the test without the optional Writing Test, and it costs $48 to take the test with the optional Writing Test. Every college admissions office in America accepts the ACT, though some colleges give it different weight in their evaluation processes.
Things to get you motivated:
Learn more about the scholarships and college in general in Shmoop's college 101.
It's a matter of personal choice, really, but we suggest taking the test in your junior year. If push comes to shove, you can always take it again in the fall of your senior year. 55% of students who retake the ACT improve their composite score.
However, we know standardized tests can get pricey (college application fees, too), so, if you're only able to take the ACT once, that’s okay too. Shmoop can help you practice, practice, practice so that you are more than ready for game day. Be aware of college application deadlines so you can get your test scores in on time. Give yourself enough time to get scores to the right colleges.
Free excerpts from Shmoop's online ACT subject material: