You’ve probably heard of ACT! (the acronym for the American College Testing Program). ACT is a standardized test used in the United States for admission to colleges. You might have even taken it. But what do you do if you get a score from ACT? You might be surprised to know that there are different ways to deal with your ACT score. Here are six different ways to deal with your ACT score.
Finishing the ACT test is a major achievement for someone who has prepared so much and so hard for it. Right after the test, it will feel like there’s a huge weight that’s been lifted off your back. But the pressure is still on as you wait for the test scores to be released. This is a lot more unnerving, especially as the ACT release date approaches.
Knowing when the scores will be available will help you maintain your composure and plan ahead than fret non-stop. In this post, we will answer your questions about when and how long does it take to get ACT scores?
When Do ACT Scores Come Out?
Normally, ACT scores are released around two weeks after the test date. To be exact, it is usually ten days after the examination day. Given that ACT tests are always on a Saturday, then the scores’ release date is on the second Tuesday after the test date.
However, keep in mind that the test results may take longer than usual. In other words, a ten-day-period is the earliest possible time for the scores to be released but the schedule can vary by six to eight weeks. That said, it’s always a good idea to stay updated with ACT score release dates, so you will know when to expect your results.
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.
What Time Do ACT Scores Come Out?
The scores are posted on the ACT website by batches. However, the ACT usually posts only once a day at around 1 am Eastern time or 10 pm Pacific Time, 11 pm Mountain Time, and 12 am Central Time.
Given that the scores are released by batch, there’s a good chance that your score might not come out on the scheduled ACT release date. Make sure to take this into account when you ask how long does it take to get ACT scores back?
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 Do ACT Scores Become Available for the Schools?
There are three different types of score reports, one for you, one for your school, and one for the college you’re applying for. As someone who’s applying for college and, in some cases, for scholarships, it’s crucial that you’re aware when your ACT scores are delivered to the schools involved.
Also, the ACT will not send your scores until they are complete. In short, if you have taken the writing portion of the test, your complete score with an essay should be available before your score report will be delivered to the schools. So, how long do ACT scores take to send to your school of choice? It depends on timing and the school’s preference.
Basically, after a week from your score report request, the ACT team will prepare your score report along with the score reports of other students to be sent to a specific school at one time. The colleges involved also set a schedule as to how frequently they receive score reports from the ACT. Usually, some colleges will receive reports once every couple of weeks while others will receive the scores more frequently than once in two weeks.
There are also cases when colleges receive score reports via electronic at least once a day and tend to become more frequent as the college application deadlines get closer.
If you happen to include a school as part of your four free score reports, then there’s a huge likelihood that the school will receive your score report even before you see it yourself. Still, it boils on the frequency it receives score reports from the ACT.
Now, if all this waiting time is too long for you, especially if you’re rushing for a college application, then you may opt for a priority report for shorter processing time to two working days after your request has been made. Typically, your scores will be sent to the schools three to four business days right after your request has been processed. When a request for score reports is made, it cannot be changed or canceled.
How Do I Request for Score Reports?
There are three ways on how you can request score reports and they are as follows:
- Online request – You can simply go to the ACT website and sign in (create if you still don’t have an account). You need to pay for the score report fee through a valid credit card.
- Via phone – You can order by contacting the number 31-337-1270.
- Letter of Request – You may send your letter of request to ACT Customer Care — Score Reports at PO Box 451, Iowa City, IA 52243-0451.
For more details when requesting a score report, you can check ACT’s score report guidelines
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.
2022-2023 ACT Score Release Schedule
The ACT test dates and score release dates through August 2022 are confirmed. Dates later than those are based on our best estimates until ACT, Inc. confirms them.
|ACT Test Date||Multiple-Choice Scores Release||Complete Scores (w/ Essay) Release|
|Feb 12, 2022||Feb 22, 2022||Mar 6, 2022|
|Apr 2, 2022||Apr 12, 2022||Apr 26, 2022|
|June 11, 2022||June 21, 2022||July 5, 2022|
|July 16, 2022||July 26, 2022||Aug 7, 2022|
|Sept 10, 2022||Sept 20, 2022||Oct 4, 2022|
|Oct 22, 2022||Nov 1, 2022||Nov 15, 2022|
|Dec 10, 2022||Dec 20, 2022||Jan 3, 2022|
|Feb 11, 2023||Feb 21, 2023||March 7, 2023|
|April 1, 2023||April 11, 2023||April 25, 2023|
|June 10, 2023||June 20, 2023||July 4, 2023|
|July 15, 2023||July 25, 2023||Aug 8, 2023|
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.
What Are My Next Steps After I Get My Scores?
The first thing you have to do is to know more about how the ACT calculated your scores (3) and how well you performed in comparison to other test-takers (4). Knowing these details will help you assess your overall performance, so you will know exactly what to do next.
Now, you have two significant options after you evaluate your scores.
- Retake the test – There is a maximum of three tries for the ACT test, so retaking the test won’t be an issue. However, you must retake if you think that your current ACT score does not meet your target score based on the standard of the college you want to attend. Some students also retake for the sake of practice and when they are not satisfied with the scores they previously obtained.
- Send your scores – If you’re already satisfied with your ACT score based on the school standard, then you can proceed in sending your scores to the colleges you want to apply for.
Finally, we encourage you to take in as much as prep time as possible if you consider retaking the test. Doing so will help you increase your chances of improving your score the next time you retake the test.
Knowing all the essential details about when you will expect your scores will help you plan out your college future smoothly. Of course, you will have your own list of preferred colleges and each of them has different policies and time frames for applications. Understanding the whole process of this entire ACT admissions will help you plan ahead and lessen frustrations along the way.