New ACT (& SAT) Dates: What They Mean For You!

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So, there are new test dates for the SAT and ACT. And believe me, this will change how you organize your junior and senior years, prep-wise. Last week, I focused on the SAT, and this week I'm here to talk to you about how this changes your planning if you're choosing the ACT. First, let's review the changes.

Here are the new dates.

New SAT Dates 2017-2018

SAT Test Dates 2017-18 Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Estimated Score Release Date
August 26, 20171 July 28, 2017 August 15, 2017 September 14, 2017
October 7, 2017 September 8, 2017 September 27, 2017 October 27, 2017
November 4, 20172 October 5, 2017 October 25, 2017 November 23, 2017
December 2, 2017 November 2, 2017 November 21, 2017 December 21, 2017
March 10, 20183 February 9, 2018 February 28, 2018 March 29, 2018
May 5, 2018 April 6, 2018 April 25, 2018 May 24, 2018
June 2, 20182 May 3, 2018 May 23, 2018 June 21, 2018

1 US only. NOT scheduled internationally.

2 In the US, both the SAT I AND Subject Tests are scheduled on these dates. Outside the US, only the Subject Tests are scheduled.

3 Regular SAT only. NO Subject Tests, either in the US or internationally.

New ACT Dates 2017-2018

ACT Test Dates 2017-18 Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Estimated Score Release Date
September 9, 2017 August 4, 2017 August 18, 2017 September 19, 2017
October 28, 2017 September 22, 2017 October 6, 2017 November 7, 2017
December 9, 2017 November 3, 2017 November 17, 2017 December 19, 2017
February 10, 20181 January 12, 2018 January 19, 2018 February 20, 2018
April 14, 2018 March 9, 2018 March 23, 2018 April 24, 2018
June 9, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 18, 2018 June 19, 2018
July 14, 20181 June 15, 2018 June 22, 2018 July 24, 2018

1 February and July test dates are NOT scheduled in NY State or internationally.


For those US ACT test-takers out there, do you notice some changes? I sure did!

The ACT has ADDED a July test date! Rejoice!

 (Sorry, but if you’re an international student, this doesn’t change much for you…unfortunately, the new July test date is US-only.)


So, when should you take your first ACT?

In general, standardized tests are graded on a bell curve, meaning that you’re in direct competition with the other students who sit for the same test date that you do…it’s not just a matter of how many questions your correctly answered. If you’ve ever gotten 36 out of 40 questions right on a Science section and received a score of 34—then took a different practice test, got the same number of questions right, and only got a 30—you know what I’m talking about!

Now, this bell curve thing can be good or bad—you just have to make sure you pick the right test sitting where you think you’ll be the big fish in the pond!

So let’s think for a minute: when should you, as a junior, take your first ACT so that your “competition” isn’t as fierce?

If you said “2nd semester” or “spring semester,” you’d be right! After all, all the seniors will have finished taking their ACTs in the fall, so you wouldn’t be in direct competition with folks who are older and (sometimes) wiser than you.

In general, February is a great first test date to aim for. If you live in NY State, however, you’ll have to cross the border to New Jersey or Connecticut, as there are no scheduled February ACT locations in NY State! Or wait until April.


When should you schedule any retakes of the ACT?

So, this one all depends on you and your college wish list! See, depending on which schools you’re lusting after, you might have to take SAT II Subject Tests in addition to the ACT.

If you also have to take SAT II Subject Tests, this new July ACT test date is your saving grace! You can focus on your Subject Tests in May and June, and then get back on the ACT “horse” for July, September, October, or even December! You have your pick!

If you do NOT have to take SAT II Subject Tests, this new July ACT test date is still a blessing. If you need to retake after April, you could do June, and keep the ball rolling through to July. OR take a break. You have so much flexibility with this new test date that you can successfully schedule your ACTs around your other priorities—finals, internships, summer programs, vacations, sports seasons, etc. Just make your plan and STICK TO IT!


It's still a lot of choices.

I get it. Believe me. And this is general advice. If you want a personalized plan, tailored to you—your strengths, needs, goals, and schedule—think about booking an Ace the Test Game Plan. I'll bring all this expertise to bear on making the plan that works for you and your family—and you won't have to become an expert on test-date strategy in order to get the maximum possible competitive edge.