You can take the ACT up to 12 times, and many students end up taking the test between 2-3 times before applying to college. Most colleges are neutral about multiple scores. Many students, in fact, make score improvements by retaking the ACT.
Give yourself time to improve before you begin filling out applications. Bring intense focus to each test, and try not to take the test more than 3 times, if possible.
Top Tips to Prep for the ACT
- Study with regular hours. Regularity is going to help you to make consistent improvements on your scores, and consistency is key. Block out regular time on your calendar to study, and stick to it.
- Set a clearly-defined goal. Students tend to achieve what they believe they can score. Students should set a clearly-defined goal: do you want a 29 for scholarship money? A 35 to get into an Ivy League school? Identify what score matters to you, and then set it as the target to hit.
- Get honest about where you are now. If you’re scoring a 25 on your practice test, you’re likely to receive a similar score on test day. If this is the score you want–wonderful! If it’s not close to your desired score, then it’s important to set goals and make study plans that will help you get there.
- Take a Kaplan class. Our classes offer consistency and structure. Expert teachers will lead you through Kaplan strategies and materials. We’ve devised best practices for our students, and we’re excited to share these findings with you. Classes come with strategy, homework, books, and online materials to keep you going between scheduled class times.
- Invest in Kaplan tutoring. The quickest way to make score increases is to have 1-on-1 feedback on your work. It’s important to understand exactly where you’re struggling, and getting tips and feedback will stop you from making the same mistakes over and over again. Our most successful score increases come from students who have opted for tutoring.
- Sign up for the official test. Understand that you will have an official date by which you must test, and work effectively towards that date. We recommend that you take the official test about 2-4 weeks after your Kaplan class ends for optimal results.
AFTER YOU TAKE THE ACT:
Evaluate your results. How did it go? The ACT is scored out of 36 potential points. If you’ve hit your goal score, then you’re all set! If you didn’t, read on:
It’s okay if you don’t get the result you want, but some important factors need to be taken into consideration before you take the test again.
- What areas did you do well in? You’re likely to have a topic or two that makes you shine, or that shows a greater aptitude than other areas of the test.
- Which areas are holding you back? We often have areas of weakness. Some weaknesses can lower scores significantly.
- How you did on the test is not a reflection of your intelligence. It’s a reflection of your ability to take a particular test the way the ACT wants you to.
BEFORE RETAKING THE ACT
- Consider tutoring. Our students excel with the help of our expert tutors; we see enormous gains made on student scores with the help of tutoring. If you have a specific area of the test where you’re struggling, request to work more on this particular section.
- Confirm your timeline. Make sure you give yourself ample time to succeed by studying in a timely manner. Pick out a test date, and work backwards; how many hours a week should you put in to study?
- Regain confidence with small, measurable goals. You can do this! Set small benchmarks that will lead you to success on test day. Challenge yourself to score one point higher on each section during a practice test. Complete all the homework assigned in each topic. See if you can guess the right answer when reviewing the practice test. Set goal to study for two hours each day. Try to score 2 points higher than your last practice test. If you need to increase your score, expect to do so little by little. It won’t happen overnight, and small, measurable goals will get you there.
- Retake the test. Colleges care about your ACT score, so get the score that will help you get accepted to your dream college. You got this–and Kaplan is here to help every step of the way.
The 12-test limit doesn’t apply to State and District testing required by your school district or to testing taken through academic talent search organizations. If you’ve hit your testing limit and you feel you should be granted an exception in order to test again, submit a Retest Exception Request Form.
Beginning in September 2020, students have have the option to retake specific sections of the ACT rather than retaking the entire test. Students will be able to then use their “ACT Superscore” to apply to colleges. ACT will calculate your Superscore by taking your best performance from each section of the test, regardless of whether the scores were from the same test administration. Retests will be available in digital format only. Students will be able to retest for up to three sections on any retest date, with a maximum retest limit of seven times per year and no lifetime limit. With the new digital administration, students may receive a retest score report as soon as two days after testing.
Does your target school Superscore ACT?
Keep in mind, though, that not all colleges accept ACT Superscores; retesting on a specific section won’t help your score if the schools to which you’re applying don’t accept Superscores. Search for your target schools’ college admissions websites, where you will be able to find out if the school Superscores ACT.
Students’ ACT Superscores become available after each of their ACT retakes. If you have taken the ACT multiple times since September of 2016, you are eligible for an ACT Superscore. Students can request their ACT Superscores directly from their myACT account.