ACT Testing And Some Things You Need To Know


ACTtesting_BThe next ACT test date is on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. The registration deadline for this exam is Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. Additional testing dates for 2016 are: Oct. 22 and Dec. 10. 2017 test dates are: April 8 and June 10. **There are February test dates, but not in New York. Late registration is available the week following the registration deadline, but late fees apply.

Good sleep? Check.
Good breakfast? Check.
Review the ACT’s Test Day Checklist and get ready to test.

Bring this, not that

  • Bring a printed copy of your ticket to the test center. You will not be admitted to test if you do not have a printed copy of your ticket.
  • Bring acceptable photo identification. You will not be admitted to test if your ID does not meet ACT requirements.
  • Bring sharpened, soft lead No. 2 pencils with good erasers (no mechanical pencils or ink pens). Do not bring any other writing instruments; you will not be allowed to use them. If you are registered for the ACT with writing, your essay must also be completed in pencil.
  • Bring a watch to pace yourself, but do not bring a watch with an alarm. If your alarm sounds during testing, you’ll be dismissed and your answers will not be scored. No watch? No problem. The supervisor in standard time rooms will announce when you have five minutes remaining on each test.
  • Bring a permitted calculator to be used on the mathematics test only. It is your responsibility to know whether your calculator is permitted. Please refer to the ACT Calculator Policy. To make it even easier to figure out, you are not required to use a calculator at all.

Don’t bring these into the test room; you can’t use them

  • Textbooks, foreign language or other dictionaries, scratch paper, notes, or other aids
  • Highlight pens, colored pens or pencils, or correction fluid/tape
  • Any electronic device, other than a permitted calculator (this includes your mobile phone, media player, iPad, headphones and camera)
  • Reading material
  • Tobacco in any form
  • Food or beverages, including water (you will be offered a break outside of the test room)

Acceptable Forms of Identification

Only the following forms of identification are acceptable. If it is not on this list it is not acceptable, and you will not be admitted to test.

  • Current official photo ID
  • Must be an original, current (valid) ID issued by a city/state/federal government agency or your school. Note: School ID must be in hard, plastic card format. Paper or electronic formats are not acceptable.
  • Your first and last names must match the ticket.
  • The photo must be clearly recognizable as you.

You must present an ACT Student Identification Form (download from with photo if you do not have a current official photo ID as described above. It must be completed by a school official or notary public; neither may be a relative.

Leaving the house

  • Dress comfortably. Some test centers are warmer or cooler on weekends than during the week. Consider dressing in layers, so you’ll be comfortable no matter what the room conditions are.
  • If you’re unsure where your test center is located, do a practice run to see how to get there and what time you’ll need to leave to arrive by 8 a.m.
  • If you arrive earlier than 7:45 a.m., you might have to wait outside until testing staff complete their arrangements.
  • Bring snacks or drinks to consume outside the test room only during the break.

ACTtesting_AArriving at the test center

  • Report to your assigned test center by the Reporting Time (usually 8 a.m.) listed on your ticket. You will not be admitted to test if you are late.
  • Testing staff will check your photo ID and ticket, admit you to your test room, direct you to a seat, and provide test materials.
  • Be ready to begin testing after all examinees present at 8:00 a.m. are checked in and seated.
  • ACT may visit test centers to conduct enhanced test security procedures including, but not limited to, collecting images of examinees during check-in or other security activities on test day.

During the test

  • Once you break the seal on your test booklet, you cannot later request a test date change, even if you do not complete all your tests.
  • A permitted calculator may be used on the mathematics test only. It is your responsibility to know whether your calculator is permitted. Please refer to the ACT Calculator Policy.
  • If your calculator has characters one inch high or larger, or a raised display, testing staff may seat you where no others can see the display.
  • Do not engage in any prohibited behavior at the test center. If you do, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. Note: For National and International Testing, you will be asked to sign a statement on the front cover of your test booklet agreeing to this policy.
  • Also remember that cheating hurts everyone. If you see it, report it.

Taking a break

A short break is scheduled after the first two tests. You will not be allowed to use cell phones or any electronic devices during the break, and you may not eat or drink anything in the test room. (If you take the ACT with writing, you will have time before the writing test to relax and sharpen your pencils.)

Finishing up

Students taking the ACT (no writing) with standard time are normally dismissed about 12:15 p.m.; students taking the ACT with writing are normally dismissed about 1:15 p.m.

On some test dates, ACT tries out questions to develop future versions of the tests. You may be asked to take a fifth test, the results of which will not be reflected in your reported scores. The fifth test could be multiple-choice or one for which you will create your own answers. Please try your best on these questions, because your participation can help shape the future of the ACT. If you are in a test room where the fifth test is administered, you will be dismissed at about 12:35 p.m.

If you do not complete all your tests for any reason, tell a member of the testing staff whether or not you want your answer document scored before you leave the test center. If you do not, all tests attempted will be scored.

Good to know

Students who don’t do their own work put honest students at a disadvantage. If you suspect that someone is trying to take unfair advantages or encounter anything else out of the ordinary, please report it to ACT. You can make an anonymous report about test security concerns by using the Test Security Hotline.

Are You Considering Retaking the ACT?

Did you know you can take the ACT test up to 12 times? Many students take the test at least twice, usually once as a junior and again as a senior.

Of the students who took the ACT more than once:

  • 57 percent increased their Composite score
  • 21 percent had no change in their Composite score
  • 22 percent decreased their Composite score

You determine which set of scores is sent to colleges or scholarship programs. ACT will release only the scores from the test date (month and year) and test location (e.g., national, state, school) you designate. You cannot combine scores from different test dates for a new Composite score. All scores from a test date, including writing and multiple choice, will be reported together.

If you are signing up to retake the test, you have the same registration options as someone registering for the first time. You also may be able to register by phone for an additional fee.
Scores cannot be combined across test dates. You must designate an entire test date record as it stands.

Needs to know more? Visit to get more information.


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