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Old ACT Scores: How to Get and Use Them

Posted by Justin Berkman | May 7, 2018 10:30:00 AM

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Did you graduate from college years ago and now a prospective employer is asking for your ACT scores? Or perhaps you took time off after high school and now have to send your ACT scores to colleges. In either case, you'll need to know how to access your old ACT scores.

In this article, I'll explain how to get and use old ACT scores. I'll walk you through the process of retrieving old scores and sending score reports for any ACT tests you took long ago.

 

Why Would You Need Old ACT Scores?

Believe it or not, some employers do request standardized test scores. Most employers who look at old ACT scores are in the investment banking and consulting industries. Education and tutoring companies might also ask for your ACT scores, especially if you're applying for a job in the fun-filled world of test prep.

In addition, if you took time off between high school and college, or if you left college and are now reapplying to schools, you might need to send ACT score reports to the schools you're applying to. In this case, you'll need to look at each school's website to verify whether or not you need your old ACT scores. In general, standardized test scores are not required if you graduated from high school more than five years ago.

 

How Do You Get an Old ACT Score?

There are a few ways to get your old ACT scores depending on when you took the test.

 

If You Tested in Spring 2008 or Later

ACT scores are available online from spring 2008 to the present. To view your scores online, you must have an ACT account. If you registered online when you originally took the test, you already have an account and can simply log in to access your scores.

If you don't have an online account, you can create one. However, you'll need to know your ACT ID number in order to access your scores. You can find your ACT ID number on your admission ticket and official ACT score report, which was sent to the high school and colleges you requested. It's an eight-digit number that begins with a dash.

If you can't find your ACT ID, call ACT, Inc. to get it. Prepare as much identifying information as possible to help the agents locate your ID; this includes the following:

  • Your full name
  • Your test date
  • Your home address (when you tested)
  • Your birth date

The phone number for ACT, Inc. is 319-337-1270.

 

If You Tested Before Spring 2008

If you tested before the spring of 2008, you can't get your scores online. However, ACT, Inc. can use microfiche to find scores from as far back as the fall of 1966. If you tested before the spring of 2008, call ACT, Inc. at the number above to try to locate your scores.

Again, have as much identifying information as possible on hand to help the agent find your score. You should know your test date (at least the year) and your address at the time.

 

How to Send an ACT Score Report for an Old Test

ACT scores are archived for tests taken before September 1, 2015If a score is archived, it's not in the active file. There's an additional $24 fee for finding and sending archived ACT score reports. Additionally, report requests for archived scores take an additional working day to process.

We look at the different types of ACT score reports and required fees in more detail below.

 

 

Fees for Sending ACT Score Reports

As you might've guessed, fees are unfortunately higher if you're trying to send old ACT scores.

 

Regular Reports

A regular score report is always processed within one week after your request is received. ACT, Inc. delivers reports to colleges and agencies you've selected based on their preferred schedule, which is typically at least every two weeks. 

ACT score reports for tests taken after September 1, 2015, cost $13 per test date per report, while score reports for tests taken before September 1 cost $37 per test date per report (including a non-refundable $24 archived scores fee).

 

Priority Reports

Priority reports are typically processed within two working days after ACT, Inc. gets your request, and are delivered three to four business days later.

Keep in mind that you can only send priority reports to locations within the US. Also, note that colleges that only receive reports electronically might not view priority reports any faster than they would regular ones.

Priority reports for tests taken after September 1, 2015, cost $16.50 per test date per report, while priority reports for tests taken before September 1 cost $40.50 per test date per report (again, this includes a $24 archived scores fee).

 

ACT Score Report Ordering Options

Now that you know what types of ACT score reports you can order, how do you actually go about ordering them? You have a few options when it comes to ordering old ACT scores.

 

Online

You can make an online request for score reports through your ACT web account (which you can create if you don't have one). Note that you must pay by valid credit card.

 

By Mail

To order ACT score reports by mail, send a letter of request to ACT, Inc. at the following address:

ACT Customer Care—Score Reports
PO Box 451
Iowa City, IA 52243-0451
USA
 
Your letter must include all the following information:
  • Your full name
  • Your full name at the time you registered for or took the ACT (if different)
  • Your current mailing address
  • Your home address at the time you registered for or took the ACT (if different)
  • Your ACT ID number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your phone number
  • Test date (month and year) for which you want scores reported (include test location if you tested more than once in the same month)
  • Valid codes and names (with city and state) for the colleges and/or scholarship agencies to which you want to send your scores

Be sure to specify whether you want regular or priority reports, and include your payment in the form of check or money order payable to ACT, Inc.

 

By Phone

This service is only for priority reports, and you must pay with a valid credit card. There is also an additional $15 fee for each score report request made by phone. 

To send ACT priority reports via phone, call ACT, Inc. at 319-337-1270. Try to write down all the information listed above so you can everything ready when you call.

 

Can You Compare ACT Scores From Different Years?

A specific ACT composite score should roughly reflect the same percentile score and skill level from year to year. For example, a composite score of 35 today should be equivalent to a 35 in 1995. 

Below is a chart showing ACT percentiles over the past six testing years:

Year 99th %ile 75th %ile 50th %ile 25th %ile 1st %ile
2017 34-36 24 20 16 1-11
2016 34-36 24 20 16 1-10
2015 33-36 24 20 16 1-11
2014 33-36 24 20 16 1-11
2013 33-36 24 20 16 1-11
2012 33-36 24 20 17 1-11

*Note that some scores are estimates if the exact percentile was unavailable.

As you can see, the score you need on the ACT in order to get in a certain percentile hasn't changed much in recent years. You still need around a 33-36 to get in the 99th percentile, and around 24 to get in the 75th percentile. There are some fluctuations, but these are all extremely small.

What this means is that you can easily compare scores from different testing years without issue. For example, if you took the ACT in 2017 and your older brother took it in 2012, you don't have to do any complicated conversions to compare your scores—you can just look at whatever ACT percentile chart is available and use that as a reference.

For more information on old ACT scores and percentiles, check out our guides to scores from 2011 to 2017 and scores from 2008 to 2010.

 

You might not be able to compare apples with oranges, but you can compare old ACT scores with current ones. 

 

What's Next?

For more tips, read this article on sending ACT scores to colleges. Also, learn about ACT college codes and school codes for score reports.

Curious about what a good ACT score is? Check out our guide to how to set an ACT goal score. If you're aiming for a top score, you'll definitely want to learn how to score a perfect 36.

Finally, take a look at this post to learn who uses ACT scores.

 

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.

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Justin Berkman
About the Author

Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.



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