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When & How to Register for the ACT

Last updated February 1, 2024

The ACT is a multiple-choice, timed college entrance exam used by many colleges and universities as part of the application process. Depending on the college(s) you're applying to, ACT scores can be a powerful supplement to your college applications! Here's when and how to register for the ACT. 

How to register for the ACT

Register for the exam on the ACT's website. We recommend registering as early as possible, as the number of spots on each date and at each testing location is limited. If you're a high school senior planning on applying to college through early action or early decision, we recommend taking the ACT before December. If you're applying through regular decision, we recommend taking the ACT before January. If you are requesting accommodations for the ACT, we recommend submitting them as soon as possible to ensure everything is processed, including any appeals, by the time you want to take the exam.

What you need to register 

  • Around 40 minutes of time.
  • A computer, phone, or tablet with internet connection.
  • Credit/debit card or other form of payment.
  • General information about your high school courses.
  • One headshot photo for identification purposes.

When to register for the ACT

National exam dates for the United States, U.S. territories, and Puerto Rico are released in September, April, and June for the following academic year. Using the exam dates on the ACT website, find the one that works best for you. If you aren’t ready to register, you can set up a reminder so you don’t miss the deadline! Here's what else you should know about registering: 

  • The regular registration deadline is 36 days before the exam date.
  • If you miss your exam's registration deadline, you can register 1-2 weeks after the deadline date, but for an additional late fee.
  • The registration deadline is at midnight Central Time.
  • If you are unable to test on a Saturday for religious reasons, there may be options available.

A group of four friends walking to class - When & How to Register for the ACT

ACT fee waivers

The ACT offers fee waivers, which allow eligible students to take the exam for free. Students that qualify for fee waivers will also receive access to the ACT's free study and learning resources. Fee waivers are available to 11th and 12th graders in the U.S. or U.S. territories who meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • You are enrolled in a free or reduced-price lunch program at school.
  • You’re enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (such as GEAR UP or Upward Bound).
  • You reside in a foster home, are a ward of the state, or are homeless.
  • Your family receives low-income public assistance or lives in federally subsidized public housing.
  • Your family's total annual income is at or below USDA levels for free or reduced-price lunches.

Not sure if you qualify for a fee waiver? Ask a counselor or educator at your school.

Studying for the ACT? 

Read here about our time management tips for the ACT. 

Have any questions about registering or preparing for the ACT? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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