ACT Registration (2021 Guide)

Once you’ve decided that the ACT is the right test for you to take, you’ll need to register, choose some test dates for ACT and start your preparation.

Consider the important factors before you register – when and where would you like to take the test? You can explore locations and dates on the ACT website before you complete the ACT registration and book your ACT test.

How Do I Register?

Online registration

To register for the ACT, first, go to the official ACT testing website – – and to the ACT login. You’ll need to start an account and complete all your personal details.

To complete the ACT registration, you will need:

  • About 40 minutes to complete your application
  • Computer with Internet
  • Payment Method or Credit Card
  • Headshot Photo (for identification)
  • High School course details

Note – The ACT does not accept registration applications outside of their registration window. For example, National Test Dates for the 2020-2021 academic year will not be open for registration until late July 2021.

So if you’re on the website too far ahead of time, you won’t be able to register or select a date. It’s important to keep an eye on the registration dates so that you don’t miss out or have to pay late fees.

Once you’ve created an account, you’ll need to choose a date and location to take the ACT. Let’s explore the options.

When can I take the ACT?

ACT Inc schedule 7 opportunities across the academic year to take the ACT, which usually occur every other month. For the last few years, the tests have been conducted in September, October, December, February, April, June, and July.

Occasionally, the ACT will schedule additional dates in other months. The ACT will release a set of National Test Dates that apply to test centers across the US for the next academic year. So on June 14, 2021, there will be thousands of students across the US taking the ACT exam at the same time.

You can choose any of these dates to take the ACT, but make sure you consider the timing of your college application, school graduation, and other major life events. You may also want to take the ACT test more than once and space these exams 1-2 months apart. The college you are applying to will only see your best ACT score and will use this to compare your application to others.

All test date schedules are on Saturdays, and the ACT usually offers test dates for a year in advance. This gives students lots of time to prepare and book into their desired dates. If you’re working on weekends, make sure that you have booked time off to complete the exam.

Where can I complete the ACT?

Woman taking exam

ACT test centers are located all across the US, including the United States, US territories, and Puerto Rico. In California alone, there are 255 testing centers, so you’re bound to find one near you.

Most test centers are high schools, so check to see if your high school is hosting the ACT in the coming months. If not, there may be a neighboring school that is acting as an ACT test center for that test date.

If you are traveling far to the ACT test center, there may be some additional costs involved, like travel or overnight stay. The exam is nearly 3 hours long, and you’ll need to allow extra time for the center to welcome you and get settled into the exam.

If you are living in a very remote area of the US and are more than 75 miles away from all test centers and dates scheduled throughout the entire year, then you may be eligible for Arranged Testing.

Arranged Testing is for special circumstances, and allows the student to complete the test at their school. The ACT will ship testing materials and provides guidelines of how the test should be completed, i.e., with a Testing Supervisor from your school and on a chosen test date.

When is the Registration Deadline?

ACT Inc requires students to register before the exam so that they have all the necessary information to host the ACT in that testing center. Therefore, all ACT test dates have a registration deadline. This is usually one calendar month before the test date.

Most students, however, will register six months to a year in advance of the test date. If you miss the registration deadline, you may still be able to register for the exam but will have to pay some late registration fees.

How much does the ACT cost?

Exam cost

The ACT costs $55 to register and complete. This gives you access to the test on your designated test day, and score reports. This includes score reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 colleges.

If you’re taking the ACT with the essay writing element attached, the cost is higher at $70. This also includes score reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 colleges.

There are some additional charges relating to late registration, test date change, test center change, and additional college reports. Try to be organized so that you won’t be stuck with extra charges.

You can also pay $22 to have a full copy of your test questions, your answers, and the correct answers. This is a great way to understand where you went wrong if you got a surprisingly low score. For most students, completing multiple practice tests before the ACT exam should ensure that you get the score you’re expecting in the real exam.

What happens after I register?

Once you’ve completed your registration, chosen a test date and location, and paid for your registration, you will be able to view and print your admissions ticket. This is an important document that you will need to have to enter the testing center. The photo that you provided in your ACT registration will be printed on the ticket as well so that the test center officials can confirm your identity.

Now you are ready to start preparing for the ACT! Many students will start studying in the six months leading up to the ACT exam, but at any time before your test date, you can start preparing with an online course or practice papers.

Take a look at our Best ACT Prep Courses to find an ACT course that will be good for you and boost your overall score. ACT courses are available online and in-person and cover all the sections of the ACT test. There is a range of courses available for different price packages and quality of resources.

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