SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

When Is the April ACT? Should You Take It?

Posted by Hannah Muniz | Mar 27, 2017 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info



With April just around the corner, you may be wondering: should you take the April ACT? Or will you be better off taking the ACT on a different date? What about taking the April ACT in 2018 instead?

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about the April ACT, including when the exam is, whether your scores will get to your schools on time, and the pros and cons of opting for the ACT in April.


When Is the April ACT?

This year’s April ACT date and deadlines, as well as next year’s April ACT date and (tentative) deadlines, are as follows:

Test Date

Registration Deadline

Late Registration Deadline

Standby Request Deadline

Deadline for Changes

April 8, 2017

March 3, 2017

March 24, 2017*

March 31, 2017

March 24, 2017*

April 14, 2018

March 9, 2018**

March 23, 2018**

April 6, 2018**

March 23, 2018**


*The original late registration deadline (and deadline for changes) was March 17, 2017, but ACT extended these deadlines to March 24.

**These dates were estimated using this year’s data for the April ACT and are thus subject to change.

The ACT registration fees are $58.50 (with the Writing section) and $42.50 (without the Writing section). The April ACT is offered in the U.S., U.S. territories, and Canada, as well as internationally. Note that international testing always requires an additional fee of $51.

Unfortunately, the registration and late registration deadlines for this year’s April ACT have already passed. That said, you can still attempt to secure a spot for this test date by requesting standby testing and paying both the regular registration fee and a $51 standby fee. (These fees will be refunded to you if you are denied admission on test day.) People on standby are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis only

You may request a standby position until Friday, March 31; after that, there will be no way for you to sign up for this year's April ACT, and you will have to select a different ACT test date.




When Will April ACT Scores Be Released?

This year, April ACT scores will be released to test takers online starting 10 days after test day (on Tuesday, April 18) and will continue to be released until as late as Friday, June 2. Note that these dates are only for the multiple-choice scores and do not include the Writing score; this score is separate from your composite ACT score (which is out of 36 points). If you opted for the ACT essay, you can expect to receive your essay score approximately two weeks after getting your multiple-choice scores and composite ACT score.

Most test takers will receive their April ACT scores within two weeks after the test date. If your scores take longer to process, it may be due to a number of reasons, such as testing irregularities, incorrect identification information, or outstanding registration fees.

As for your colleges, when schools receive April ACT scores can vary significantly. ACT will send your ACT scores to the colleges you chose during registration as soon as your official scores are released online, which will likely happen before or on April 22; however, some colleges don’t process scores right away or as often as other schools do, so be sure you’re giving your schools ample time to process your scores long before any college applications are due.

For those who are taking the April ACT with Writing, your ACT scores will not be reported or sent to colleges until the essay has been graded as well. This means that most test takers will have to wait around a minimum of four weeks (two weeks for the multiple-choice scores and two additional weeks for the Writing score) until their official ACT scores are reported online and sent to their designated schools.


Will Your April ACT Scores Get to Your Schools on Time?

In a word, yes! Your official ACT scores will be reported online (and sent to your schools) as early as April 18 and as late as June 2. Assuming you are taking the ACT your junior year of high school and have not yet finished your college applications, these scores should have ample time to get to your schools prior to any deadlines.

The bulk of college application deadlines in the U.S. are anywhere from mid-autumn to early winter, and this applies to early action/early decision deadlines, too. So worst case scenario, even if your April ACT scores aren’t released until the last possible day (June 2) and your colleges take a month or longer to process your scores, you should still have more than enough time before any of your applications are due!




Pros and Cons of Taking the April ACT

Struggling to decide whether to take the April ACT? No matter what year you're thinking of taking it, here are some of the pros and cons to consider before you make your decision.


Pros of Taking the April ACT

  • Your scores are guaranteed to arrive on time to your schools — even for early action/early decision plans. As I wrote above, the vast majority of April ACT scores will be reported within two weeks after the test date and at the latest by early June. Luckily, all of these time frames leave you with plenty of time to get your ACT scores to your colleges well before even the earliest of autumn deadlines.
  • You can get the ACT out of the way before starting your college applications. If you take the April ACT as a junior (or even as a sophomore) and do well on it — meaning, you don't need to retake the exam as a 12th grader — you’ll have the entire summer and first semester of your senior year to focus entirely on college applications.
  • You’ll have at least one final shot to get the scores you want in the autumn of your senior year. We normally recommend students take the ACT two to three times in total: first in the fall of your junior year, second in the spring of your junior year, and third (if necessary) in the fall of your senior year. By taking the April ACT, even if your scores aren’t yet where you want them to be, you’ll have the entire summer and first semester of your senior year to study and prepare for the September or October ACT.


Cons of Taking the April ACT

  • You’ll have to study primarily during the school year. In order to do well on the April ACT, you’ll have to study for the exam in the months leading up to it — that is, for most of your spring semester your junior (or sophomore) year. But this can be difficult to accomplish, especially if you're simultaneously trying to study for AP exams (which are in May) and finals. So if you think you'll get easily overwhelmed, or you're expecting to have tons of activities going on spring semester, consider taking the ACT on a different date.
  • You may need to study during your spring break. Those planning to take the April ACT will likely have to spend the bulk of their spring breaks preparing for the exam (unless your spring break is after the test — if so, lucky you!). Although you don’t need to dedicate your entire spring break to ACT prep, it's advisable you spend as much time as you can studying for the ACT, particularly if your break is right around test day. Sadly, this means you may not be able to enjoy your “time off” as much as you’d like to!




Key Takeaways: Taking the ACT in April

This year's April ACT date is Saturday, April 8, and next year’s April ACT date is Saturday, April 14. While this year’s April ACT registration and late registration deadlines have already passed, you may still be able to take the exam if you sign up for a standby position by Friday, March 31. Standby spots are not guaranteed and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis only.

April ACT scores will be released starting April 18 and until June 2. (If you registered for the Writing section, your essay score should be released to you two or so weeks after you receive your multiple-choice and composite ACT scores.) Assuming you take the April ACT your junior or sophomore year of high school, your scores should have ample time to get to your colleges prior to any application deadlines.

Before registering for the ACT in April, however, take some time to consider whether you’re OK with spending most of your spring semester and spring break preparing for the exam. If not, a different date may be a better option for you!


What’s Next?

Need help deciding when to take the ACT? Learn when you should take the ACT for the first time, and get expert tips on how to find the best test date for you.

For more information on when you can take the ACT, check out our detailed guides to this year's 2017-18 ACT test dates and next year's 2018-19 dates.

Ready to ace the ACT? Then you'll love our 15 ACT tips and tricks guaranteed to improve your score, as well as our comprehensive guide to getting a perfect ACT score — written by a 36 full scorer!


Want to improve your ACT score by 4+ points? Download our free guide to the top 5 strategies you need in your prep to improve your ACT score dramatically.

Free eBook: 5 Tips to 4+ Points on the ACT


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Hannah Muniz
About the Author

Hannah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in English and East Asian languages and cultures. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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