After you take the ACT, the anticipation isn't over! Now, you have to wait to get your scores. While the scores aren't available immediately, you don't actually have to wait too long to see your scores or have them sent to colleges.
This guide will go over when you can expect to see your ACT scores for each test date, as well as the differences in score release dates for students who took the ACT with Writing.
How Long Do You Have to Wait for Your ACT Scores?
How long does it take to get ACT scores back? Not too long! ACT score release dates actually vary for students over a range of weeks. Most students, though, will get their multiple-choice scores just 10 days after taking the exam.
Scores are often released on a Tuesday or Thursday, so they'll show up just 10 or more days after your Saturday morning test. They usually come out at 1 am Eastern Time (that's midnight Central Time or 10 pm Pacific Time).
For any students whose scores aren't released on that day, they should check back weekly. ACT scores are released on a weekly basis, and all of them should be out within eight weeks of your test date. Students who test outside the US usually have to wait about three weeks to see their multiple-choice scores.
If you took the ACT with Writing, your essay score will be added a little later—about two weeks after your multiple-choice scores come out. Although your scores might become available in these two installments, colleges won't receive your ACT score report until all scores have been finalized and released (multiple choice and Writing, together).
Once all your scores are ready, ACT, Inc. will release your official Student Score Report, High School Score Report, and College Score Report. Again, most students taking the ACT in the US will get their multiple-choice scores about 10 days after testing, whereas a small number will have to wait one or a few weeks longer until their scores are ready.
Do you know when you plan to take the ACT? If so, you can use the chart below to find your testing date and the earliest corresponding date you'll get your ACT scores.
When Will Your ACT Scores Be Released by Test Date?
The following ranges of dates indicate when your multiple-choice scores will be available to view online from your ACT account. If you took the ACT with Writing, colleges won't get score reports until your essay has been graded as well.
These are the range of dates when most students get their ACT scores. If yours haven't shown up yet, note that it doesn't necessarily indicate a problem.
2020-21 ACT Score Release Dates
These score release dates are based on our best estimates until ACT, Inc. confirms them.
|ACT Test Date||Multiple-Choice Scores Release||Complete Scores (w/ Essay) Release|
|Dec 12, 2020||Dec 24, 2020||Jan 7, 2021|
|Feb 6, 2021||Feb 27, 2021||Mar 13, 2021|
|Apr 17, 2021||Apr 27, 2021||May 11, 2021|
|June 12, 2021||June 22, 2021||July 6, 2021|
|July 17, 2021||July 27, 2021||Aug 10, 2021|
As I mentioned, most students will get their scores on the earliest release date, or at least within this range. But some won't, making them wonder, "Just when will I get my ACT scores?" What are some reasons you'd have to wait longer for your scores?
What If Your ACT Scores Haven't Been Released Yet?
There are a few reasons why your ACT scores might come out later than the above dates. One is simply that ACT, Inc. has a lot of tests to grade and process, and they're running behind.
Other possible reasons include the following:
- Your documents were delivered late to testing headquarters
- Your test date was rescheduled
- The personal information you wrote on your test doesn't match the information you provided during registration (this happens more than you might think!)
- ACT, Inc. detected an irregularity with your test scores or at your testing center
- ACT, Inc. randomly audited your test to check for scoring accuracy
- You owe registration fees
What does it mean that ACT, Inc. could detect an irregularity with your scores? If you improve by an unusually large number of points between test administrations, ACT, Inc. might notice and check for possible signs of cheating. If they really think something's amiss, they'll contact you and might even invite you to send "evidence" of your studying.
To prepare for this rare circumstance (maybe you didn't study at all for your first ACT and then did a ton of prep for your second), make sure to keep evidence of your test prep and write out all your work in your test booklet. This situation is rare, but it can take a really long time to clear up—which you might or might not have depending on your college application deadlines. Worst case scenario, ACT, Inc. will cancel your scores altogether and you'll have to retake the test.
You should have your username and password handy on score-release day, and find out whether others have gotten their ACT scores through either word-of-mouth and discussion forums, such as College Confidential. If you think there's an unusual delay in your scores, don't be afraid to take action and contact ACT, Inc. to figure out what's going on. Otherwise, check back weekly rather than every day, since scores are typically released on Tuesdays.
Once you finally get your ACT scores, what do you do next?
What to Do When You Receive Your ACT Scores
It's a good idea to check your ACT scores the day they come out so you can decide whether you're happy with them or want to retest. If you're satisfied and need to send additional score reports to colleges, be sure to do this ASAP.
The decision to retake the ACT depends on a number of factors. What are your target scores? How much prep have you done, and how much time do you have to prep again and retest? Have you already taken the ACT a bunch of times, or are you just getting started? Obviously, all this is a moot point if your college deadlines are just around the corner.
Another consideration is whether or not your colleges have a policy of superscoring the ACT—that is, taking the highest section scores across all test dates and recombining them into the strongest possible composite score. This is an ideal policy that works in your favor, and it means you don't have to worry about doing worse in any one section upon retesting.
Conclusion: When Do ACT Scores Come Out?
While the time you spend waiting for your ACT scores might feel like a long 10 days, it's actually a pretty fast turnaround considering how many tests ACT, Inc. has to get, score, and compare. Plus, all the essays are read and graded by actual people!
In closing, don't be afraid to contact ACT, Inc. and figure out what to do if you sense there might be an unusual delay in your score release. You should also keep track of your ACT username and password so you'll be ready to log in right away on score-release day.
If you're satisfied with your ACT scores, great! If not, no worries—simply figure out where you can focus your prep to improve for next time!
Need help raising your ACT scores? Then check out our expert tips and tricks—15, to be exact—for improving your ACT scores fast and effectively.
Disappointed with your ACT scores? 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.
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.