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ACT or American College Testing is a standardized test for college admissions (undergraduate programs) in the US. The test is based on the topics from high school and evaluates student’s college readiness. It is administered by a non-profit with the same name, ACT. Several colleges in the country consider ACT scores along with high school GPA to give admissions to the students.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT has been made test-optional along with SAT. Test-optional means it is not mandatory to have ACT scores while applying to a college. Some colleges have made ACT scores Test-optional permanently, while some others have announced the policy change for only a few years. So, ACT will be back once the circumstances change, and you will need ACT scores to get a seat in at least a few undergraduate programs in the country.

Let’s understand more about ACT by learning how to register for it, how to prepare for the test, and this year’s (2021) test dates.

How to Register for the ACT?

Registering for ACT is a simple process that takes around 30 minutes of your time. You will need to log on to the ACT website, which is www.act.org. There in the header, you have to click on register or sign in. Once you are on the registration page, you have to fill in your high school course details followed by uploading a headshot. Lastly, you have to pay the registration fees. You can pay the fees using a credit card or other payment methods.

How to Prepare for ACT?

ACT has 4 sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. It also has an optional essay section. The duration for the exam is 2 hours, 55 minutes without essay and 3 hours, 40 minutes with essay. To prepare for the ACT, you have to prepare every segment thoroughly and prepare to be evaluated for written, mathematical, verbal, and scientific skills.

You can start your preparations by understanding the format of the test. Follow it by allocating time for the study of each subject. Do not forget to make time for practice tests. If you feel overwhelmed with the curriculum of the test, you can always enroll for ACT test prep with a tutoring platform like eTutorWorld. With this platform, you will get personalized tutoring for ACT along with access to specialized resources and practice sheets.

How to Prepare for the Test Day?

On the test day, set an alarm and wake up early. Avoid a last-minute rush. Make time for breakfast and get dressed in comfortable clothes. Pack your bag one day in advance with all the essentials. For the test, you need to bring your exam ticket, a photo identification, number 2 pencils and erasers, a watch and a calculator. This year, you have to compulsorily bring a mask. Do not forget to pack some snacks to eat during the break.  Some items that you must not bring to the test center are cell phones or other electronic devices such as a digital watch, a tablet, etc.

How to Check your Scores?

ACT scores can be checked on the MYACT account. All the scores are usually available between two to eight weeks after the test. If you take the optional writing test, the overall scores are declared only after writing scores are also available. You can check the ACT website for the test dates and their corresponding reporting timeframes to know your expected dates. Do remember that ACT sends your scores to the recipients you mention in the registration form. This includes your high school and the colleges that you listed in terms of college codes.

ACT Test Dates for 2021

Test Date

Registration Deadline

Registration with Late Fees

April 17, 2021

March 12, 2021

March 26th, 2021

June 12th, 2021

May 7th, 2021

May 21st, 2021

July 17th, 2021

June 18th, 2021

June 25th, 2021


If you feel like you will forget the dates, you can set a reminder on the ACT website. ACT will send you an SMS or an email (as per your preference) before the last date so that you register in time for the test.

ACT test scores can become your key to your dream college. So, if your preferred college asks for ACT scores, you must prepare for the test in high school and appear for it along with your end-of-term exams. This way, you will be able to start college right after you finish school and prepare for your career, without any delays. 

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