You've taken the ACT, and now you're waiting for your scores. This can be a tense time, but knowing when exactly to expect your ACT results can help you plan ahead.
So when do ACT scores come out, exactly? In this article, find out when your test scores will become available, how to get your ACT results as fast as possible, and what to do once you have them.
Will your ACT scores be good enough?
When your scores come out, it's critical for you to understand whether your scores are good enough. The ACT score that's good enough for you is unique to you, based on your goals. Download our free guide to figuring out your ACT target score.
How Long Does It Take to Get ACT Scores Back?
ACT results normally start to come out online around 10 days after your test date. Because ACTs are always taken on Saturdays, your scores will usually come out two Tuesdays after your test date.
If you took ACT with Writing, your multiple choice scores will be available online at the same time as everyone else's, but your Writing scores won't be available for another couple of weeks.
When Do ACT Scores Come Out?
Depending on your test date, we've created this table for you to see when your ACT results will be available:
|ACT Test||Test Date||When Multiple Choice Scores Come Out||When Complete Scores Come Out|
|September ACT||September 10, 2016||September 20, 2016 (Tuesday)||October 4, 2016|
|October ACT||October 22, 2016||November 8, 2016 (Tuesday)||November 22, 2016|
|December ACT||December 10, 2016||December 20, 2016 (Tuesday)||January 3, 2017|
|February ACT||February 11, 2017||February 22, 2017 (Wednesday)||March 8, 2017|
|April ACT||April 8, 2017||April 18, 2017 (Tuesday)||May 2, 2017|
|June ACT||June 10, 2017||June 20, 2017 (Tuesday)||July 4, 2017|
Have a feeling you'll need to take the ACT again?
Download our free guide to improving your ACT score by 4 points.
Note that these are the earliest possible dates for your scores to come out. Many students have their scores delayed by a few days as the ACT gets all the test scores together. Don't be too alarmed if your test scores are delayed by a week. Beyond that point, you should call the ACT to ask about the status of your test.
ACT Writing scores come out 2 weeks after your multiple choice scores are released. The ACT does a great job of getting its scores out as early as possible, instead of waiting for all students to be ready before releasing them in a batch.
What Time Do ACT Scores Come Out?
ACT scores are released in batches. They usually post once a day at 12AM Central Time (1AM Eastern Time, 10PM Pacific Time).
If your test scores don't show up after this time on a particular day, you'll have to wait a whole day to check if they come out the day after. This will help with stress, so you don't check back compulsively throughout the day!
When Are ACT Scores Available to Schools?
After taking up to a week to process your score report request, ACT, Inc. will batch up your score report with others going to the same school.
Colleges receive score reports from ACT, Inc at least once every two weeks, but some schools receive them much more frequently. For instance, UVA has stated that it receives score reports from ACT, Inc. electronically at least once a day, but gets scores even more frequently leading up to application deadlines. If you put down a school to get one of your four free score reports, the school might even be able to see the score before you can, depending on how frequently the school receives scores from ACT, Inc.
It’s also important to note that ACT, Inc. will not send out your scores until your whole test is scored, so if you’ve taken the Writing section, your scores won’t get sent out until your Writing scores are also done.
Opting for a priority report shortens the initial processing time to two working days after your request and gets your scores to schools three to four business days after your request is placed. However, ACT, Inc. still cannot send out a score report until your test has been scored, so unless you have your scores and have a deadline in fewer than seven weeks (or three weeks for ACT without Writing), doing priority reporting is not worth it.
Special Note: If you took the ACT through State and District, School, or DANTES testing, your online scores will likely not be available until after you receive your paper score report in the mail.
How Do I Check My ACT Score?
The fastest way to view your ACT score is through your online ACT account. To view your ACT results, start by clicking here to log into your online account. When you log in, you'll see a list of the ACT test dates you have scores for.
Next, click on "View Scores" for that particular date to view your ACT scores. You'll be taken to a screen where you have to reenter your password, for security's sake.
Once you enter your password, you'll be taken to a page with your ACT results. For a more detailed explanation of how to get your scores, we have a step-by-step explanation here.
Why Does It Take So Long to Get My ACT Score?
It might seem that grading shouldn't take too long since your answers can be graded automatically through the scan sheet. But if you remember that hundreds of thousands of students take the ACT at each test date, all of these things need to happen for each student:
- Each test is shipped to ACT scoring headquarters.
- Each test is scanned and the raw score is calculated.
- Each test receives a scaled score from 1-36 depending on the curve for that test.
- ACT writing essays are given to two graders to submit scores.
For this to happen on the nationwide scale of hundreds of thousands of students, the ACT has a significant logistics challenge!
When it's all said and done, the ACT wants to get scores out to you as soon as possible so you can plan ahead.
ACT Results: Next Steps
Once you get your ACT scores back, you have a few options for what you can do next.
Option 1: ACT Retake
If you're not happy with your scores, you'll want to consider retaking the ACT. You can refresh your memory on how to sign up for the ACT with this article.
We have more details in this article about deciding on a retake, but basically it boils down to what your target score is and how likely you are to improve your score from one test to the next. Your ACT target score should be determined by the average ACT scores of the schools you want to get into. When you view your ACT scores, if they’re a lot lower than your target score, then it might be worth retaking the test.
It’s not enough, however, to look at your ACT results and say, “Well, I didn’t do as well as I wanted, so I’d better take it again.” As we discuss in this article about ACT score decreases, there’s about a 50-50 chance that if you retake the ACT, you’ll score the same or lower. The odds of your score decreasing get even higher if you don’t put in much studying time.
To improve your composite score by one to four points, you’ll need to put in forty hours of smart prep. Increasing your score by more than that requires even more time and energy put into prepping. This doesn’t mean just brute-forcing it by doing as many practice tests and quizzes as you can get your hands on; instead, you’ll want to use a system that focuses in on your weaknesses and helps you improve them.
Keep in mind, too, that if you're applying to a school that requires all ACT scores be sent, you'll likely have to send this test's score as well unless you delete it. The bottom line: if you're able to put in the time and energy to improve your score, then it's worth retaking the ACT. Otherwise, it's just a waste of money and a Saturday morning.
Option 2: Send Your Scores
If you're completely satisfied with how you did, then your next step should be to send out your scores to the colleges you're applying to. We've got a complete list of school and college codes for you to use here.
Know you want to retake the ACT, but not sure when to do it? Check out our continually-updated ACT test dates article to find out when the next time you can take the test is. You should also read our great article on the best test dates for the ACT.
When's the last date you can take the ACT and still have your scores get to schools on time? Find out with these articles about the last ACT date for early admissions deadlines and for regular admissions deadlines.
Also, check out our free guide on the 5 most important strategies you need to know to improve your ACT score by 4+ points.
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As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT.