An ACT Guide for Parents and Students
Juniors: Still need to take the ACT but worried you’re running out of time? Fear not! You now have more chances than ever to wrap up your test prep before senior year, even with the school year coming to a close. This year will mark the first administration of the July ACT, which will be held on July 14.
Following the College Board’s addition of the new August SAT test date last summer, the ACT revealed in 2017 that they would be adding a July sitting starting in 2018. With finals, AP exams, and wrapping up the school year, many students don’t have enough time to properly dedicate to their test prep. As such, the ACT found that adding a new summertime test date would allow students to focus on finishing the school year successfully, and then dedicate their efforts to their ACT prep in order to get the best scores possible.
Students taking the ACT now have seven chances to sit for the exam. Although the SAT also has seven administrations, students cannot sit for Subject Tests (which are required for admission at many colleges) and the SAT I in the same administration, limiting their opportunities to maximize their scores on both exams. With the addition of an ACT test date and the obstacle of prioritizing when to take Subject Tests vs. the SAT, students may be further inclined to take the ACT due to the number of opportunities they have to sit and master the exam.
Since there are no testing sites in NY, CA, or internationally for the July ACT, students and parents should be proactive in registering as soon as possible, because seats may be gone faster than usual. The registration deadline is on June 15th (with the late registration window open from June 16th to the 22nd) and students can expect to receive their scores between July 24th and August 27th, well in advance of any college application deadlines. For more information of the July ACT, you can visit the ACT’s website.
How does this affect high school juniors?
In previous years, current juniors/rising seniors who wanted to improve their ACT scores before early action applications were due had two options to retake the exam during their senior year: September (the safer option) and October (which cut very close to November 1st deadlines). With the addition of the July exam, rising seniors can now try to close this chapter of their high school careers before the school year begins.
Wrapping up testing in July may mean having more time for social activities and extracurriculars early in the school year! Since this is your last year in high school, you probably will want to make memories with your friends instead of remembering the rules of SOHCAHTOA or how to use a semicolon. Of course, if you have heavily involved summer plans such as pre-college programs, internships, or immersion trips that overlap late June and July, you should likely explore the September or October options instead.
How does this affect younger students?
Now that the July ACT is an established test date, this could impact the testing trends in years to come. Instead of using the fall or winter for their first test date, some ambitious rising juniors may aim to get a head start with their testing and sit in July as their first sitting. Prepping for their first ACT in July and then aiming for the September exam could keep these younger students engaged with their academics and put them ahead for the school year – not only by getting their standardized testing out of the way but also in terms of being fresh and prepared for what’s to come once school begins.
Since summertime testing is still quite new, there is not much data or experience to support what results may look like or the popularity of the July test date. However, if we base our predictions on the popularity of last year’s August SAT, then students should aim to sign up as soon as possible. Again, the registration deadline for the July ACT is on June 15th (with the late registration window open from June 16th to the 22nd) and students can expect to receive their scores between July 24th and August 27th.