It's a good idea to take the ACT® test for the first time in the fall or early spring of your junior year. Doing this will show you where you are doing well and uncover areas where you can improve.
Advantages to taking the ACT during your junior year:
- You've completed most of the coursework that's reflected on the test.
- You can use test scores to influence the classes you take during your senior year. (For example, if you score low in a particular subject, you will have time to schedule additional coursework to help you learn and improve in that area.)
- Colleges will know your interests and scores and will have time to contact you during the summer before your senior year.
- Many colleges send information about admission, advanced placement, scholarships, and special programs to prospective students during this time.
- You will have information about yourself and the schools you're interested in attending before you go on campus visits, which will help you focus during those visits.
- You will have a chance to retest if you feel your scores didn't accurately reflect your ability—and to get a superscore.
How do I know if I should retake the ACT?
ACT research shows that 57% of students who took the test more than once increased their ACT Composite score.
- Look at the requirements for the colleges you're interested in applying to.
- Does your score meet their expectations?
- Could you increase your chances of getting into a certain program, or could you qualify for a scholarship if you raised your score, even by one point? One point on your ACT test could make the difference in acceptance into college and/or thousands of dollars in scholarships.
- Use your scores on previous tests to continue focusing on the areas that need more instruction.
- If you want to improve your score, consider testing again before you start your senior year. The format of the test, the types of questions on it, and the environment will be fresh in your mind.
- Superscoring combines your best performances on the subject tests from at least two test attempts into one score. Superscores best reflect your abilities and, ultimately, allow you to put your best foot forward.
A version of this article originally appeared on the ACT website.