ACT Full Fees & Registration: What's the Total Cost of the ACT? (2023)

ACT Full Fees & Registration: What's the Total Cost of the ACT? (1)

Just like many parts of the college application process, taking the ACT (and even using your ACT scores) means an assortment of fees. Here, I'll break down every possible ACT registration cost and score fee.

The good news is that a lot of these fees are unnecessary and avoidable. Read to the end for tips and strategies on saving as much as possible on the ACT.

Registration Costs for the ACT (2022-2023)

Registration charges are unfortunately mandatory if you are planning on taking the ACT. Registration-related fees, or add-ons that can bump up your costs, aren't required of test-takers. These extra services could be useful in special circumstances, even though you'll end up shelling out a few extra bucks.

Here's a chart outlining mandatory registration fees:

Registration—No Writing section$63Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 college choices
Registration—With Writing section $88Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 college choices

And here's a chart outlining optional add-on fees:

Add-on FeesCostDescription
Late Registration$36Fee for registering after the regular deadline.
Standby Testing$63Fee for being placed on a waitlist for a particular test center/date. Refunded if you're denied admission on test day.
Change Fee$42Keep your location, change your test date OR keep your test date, change your location.
International Fees$168.50 (no Writing), $188.50 (with Writing)Cost of taking the ACT for students taking the exam outside the US or Canada.

Score Report & Analysis Costs for the ACT (2022-2023)

After you take the ACT, you'll want to receive, analyze, and send out your scores. This chart outlines all possible post-test services and their costs.

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Viewing scores & score report online$0You can check your score report online at no cost, but you still need to send official score reports to schools.
Score report (first four reports)$0Enter up to four school score report requests at no cost. You can enter this info when you register or when you test.
Score report (fifth and sixth colleges)$16 eachEnter up to two additional school score report requests when you register or when you test for an additional cost (but no additional speed).
Score report (each additional report) $18After the reports you order when you register or on test day, you're charged this fee per additional score report.
Test Information Release (TIR)

$32 (during registration)

$40 (after test)

Receive a copy of your test questions, a list of your answers, and an answer key. You'll also receive your essay prompt, scoring rubric, and scores.

How to Minimize ACT Registration & Reporting Costs

As you can see, ACT registration and reporting costs can add up if you're pressed for time, if you want detailed score reports, or if you're applying to many schools. You can avoid a lot of these fees if you plan ahead.

ACT Full Fees & Registration: What's the Total Cost of the ACT? (2)

Planning ahead can save you hundreds of dollars; your piggy bank will thank you.

Take the Test Early

If you're scrambling to get official score reports to schools before their application deadlines, you might not have a choice but to cross your fingers that the scores get to the schools in time. This might happen if you take the ACT last minute, or if you procrastinate in sending official score reports. Although this is unavoidable in certain circumstances, you'll save yourself unnecessary stress if you take your test earlier rather than later.

It takes about two to three weeks for your multiple choice scores to be posted, and another two weeks for your essay score to be posted. You should budget an additional two weeks at minimum for colleges to actually receive your score reports. Try to schedule your last ACT no later than seven weeks before your scores need to be in.

Register Early

If you miss the normal deadline and have to register late, you'll end up increasing your total registration costs by nearly 50% (if you're taking the test in the US). Registering months in advance won't only save you money—it will also ensure you get the test date you want before al the seats are booked. Having a hard test deadline in mind can also jumpstart your motivation to study; you'll be better able to budget your time.

Take Advantage of Free Score Reports

You can send up to four score reports for free if you specify the schools you'd like to send your scores to early enough. List the four schools as early as registration, and as late as the Monday nine days after the published test date. This will save you up to $68. Learn more about the pros and cons of sending the four free ACT score reports here.

Apply for a Fee Waiver If You're Eligible

Low-income families may find these ACT costs to be especially daunting. In an effort to mitigate this financial burden, the ACT offers fee waivers to certain students. You may qualify if you meet all of the eligibility requirements:

(Video) How to Register for the ACT

  • You're currently enrolled in high school in grade 11 or 12
  • You're a US citizen, or testing in the US, US territories, or Puerto Rico
  • You meet one or more of these requirements:
    • You're enrolled in or eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
    • Your family income falls within guidelines for free or reduced price lunches;
    • Your family receives public assistance
    • You're enrolled in a federal, state, or local program for low income students (e.g. Upward Bound)
    • You live in subsidized housing, foster care, or are homeless
    • You are a ward of the state or an orphan

If you are eligible, you can receive up to four fee waivers total. Each waiver covers registration costs, but does not cover any additional score reports or add-on fees (like late registration or test information release).

You have to apply for a fee waiver through your high school guidance counselor; since this can take time, make sure to apply for a fee waiver well in advance of the test dates you'd like to register for.

Bonus: Looking for the very best guides to every ACT section? Check out our top guides for every single section of the ACT. Choose the score level you're aiming for:

36 Score Guides: ACT English | ACT Math | ACT Reading | ACT Science | ACT Essay

Choose these guides if you're scoring a 26 or above on a section, and you want to get the highest ACT score possible.

24 Score Guides: ACT English | ACT Math | ACT Reading | ACT Science | ACT Science

Choose these guides if you're scoring below a 24 on a section, and you want to boost your score to at least a 24 level.

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These are the very best guides available on boosting your ACT score, section by section. They're written by Harvard grads and perfect ACT scorers. Don't disappoint yourself - read these guides and improve your score today.

What's Next?

Because the SAT seems pretty similar to the ACT, you might be evaluating whether you should take the SAT, the ACT, or both. Learn more about how to decide which test (or tests) to take here.

Of course, you want to make sure you get the best scores possible on your ACT. Check out our guide to getting the perfect score here.

Not sure when to take the ACT? Get a complete study plan for the ACT to figure out the best date for you.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Francesca Fulciniti

About the Author

Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.

(Video) ACT account creation and test registration

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How many reports for college does the ACT registration fee cover? ›

Free Additional Score Reports

Your fee waiver covers one report to your high school and up to six college choices. After registration, you can request unlimited score reports for free.

How can I take the ACT for free? ›

For both the SAT and the ACT, a student will receive a waiver if their family meets income requirements for the National School Lunch Program, receives public assistance, or lives in public housing. Teens also qualify if they're living in a foster home, homeless, a ward of the state, or an orphan.

How much does it cost to take the ACT or SAT? ›

All about the ACT and SAT
Test Length (allotted section time only)2 hours, 55 minutes 3 hours, 35 minutes (with essay)3 hours 3 hours, 50 minutes (with essay)
Costs$60 $85 (with essay)$55
2 more rows
Sep 15, 2021

How much does it cost to send your ACT to a college? ›

How much does it cost to send ACT scores? As of June 2022, ACT Inc. charges $16 to send a single ACT score report or ACT superscore to one college or scholarship program.

What does total costs of college include? ›

College Costs Vary

Tuition is the price you pay for classes. Along with tuition, you'll probably have to pay some other fees to enroll in and attend a college. Tuition and fees vary from college to college. Other college costs include room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

How many times can a student take the ACT? ›

If you're not satisfied with your scores, you can retake the ACT. ACT Inc., which administers the exam, lets you take the test up to 12 times, though it's best to take it no more than 2-3 times.

What month is the ACT the easiest? ›

Origin of the Myth

But here's the thing: While there were studies done that showed higher scores in one month than another, those months changed year to year. First experts would cry “December is easiest! Take it in December!” and a few years later they'd swear “May is by far easier!”

Can you take ACT online at home? ›

ACT: We will “offer a remote proctoring option for the ACT test in late fall/early winter 2020, allowing students to take the test at their home on a computer, or at other safe and convenient locations. ACT will launch this option as part of its national testing program.

Does the ACT get you scholarships? ›

Your ACT score can play an important role in helping you qualify for scholarships that can fuel your future and help with college costs! ACT test scores are a big factor in merit scholarships and awards, meaning awards based on academic achievement.

Should I take ACT with writing or without? ›

Taking the writing test does not affect your subject area scores or your Composite score. However, without a writing test score, no English Language Arts (ELA) score will be reported.

Do colleges prefer ACT or SAT? ›

Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions decisions and awarding merit-based scholarships. Most colleges do not prefer one test over the other. Neither the SAT or ACT is harder than the other. Different students tend to do better on one test over the other.

How long does the ACT test take? ›

The ACT is 3 hours long (technically 2 hours and 55 minutes). Including breaks, the exam takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete. If you sign up for the optional essay (the ACT Plus Writing), the test clocks in at 3 hours and 40 minutes or just over 4 hours with breaks.

What is the average ACT score for scholarships? ›

At a minimum, an ACT score of 25 should qualify you for lower-level scholarship money. However, as the amount increases, scholarships become more competitive and the score ranges increase. Again, the barest minimum to shoot for is the 20-25 score range.

What ACT score do most colleges want? ›

Schools vary considerably in the kinds of ACT scores they look for in applicants. Less selective institutions tend to accept scores closer to the national average (21), whereas more competitive universities often prefer scores in the 32-36 range.

How long are ACT scores valid? ›

When do SAT/ACT scores expire? SAT and ACT scores both expire after 5 years. Scores must be valid through the start of the term you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a Fall start date, scores must be valid through August of your starting year.

What are the hidden costs of college? ›

Here, we go over the most important hidden costs of college you should know.
  • Books and Class Materials. ...
  • Travel and Transportation Costs. ...
  • Lifestyle and Social Costs. ...
  • Food Beyond the Meal Plan. ...
  • Having a Car on Campus. ...
  • Greek Life Dues and Fees. ...
  • Furnishing and Decorating Your Home. ...
  • Professional Attire and New Clothing.

What are the top 3 costs of college? ›

School Expenses
  • Tuition & Fees. College tuition and fees are the greatest costs of attending college. ...
  • Books & Supplies. Look into options for buying used books or renting books. ...
  • Housing/Rent. Most schools offer various options of on-campus housing and dorm rooms. ...
  • Food. ...
  • Transportation. ...
  • Entertainment. ...
  • Other Expenses.

What total expenses include? ›

Total expenses for a given period refer to the sum of all the total gross cash expenditures plus any subsidiary pending, such as operating expenses, incentive fees, interest, and taxes. A company may have considerable total revenues from its income statement.

What month is the hardest ACT? ›

March is the worst! Avoid it like the plague! Don't you dare take October; that's when the smart seniors are sitting. All the jocks take December, that's the surest bet for a high score!

What is the best year for students to take the ACT? ›

It's a good idea to take it 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. There are many advantages to taking the ACT your junior year, plus some very encouraging news about why retesting is so important!

What is the maximum age to take the ACT? ›

People of all ages and grade levels are eligible to take the ACT.

What subject is hardest on ACT? ›

Do You Feel Confident in the Content? Obviously, it's not a good idea to take the ACT® unless you have a good grasp on the content that will be tested. The ACT® Reading and ACT® Science sections are both the hardest and easiest to prepare for.

Is 2 months enough to study for ACT? ›

Two hours a week of studying for two months is a good general goal if you are closer to the test date. If you have four or more months before the test, you could try just an hour a week.

How can I raise my ACT score fast? ›

ACT Tips and Tricks to Reach Your Target Score
  1. Work questions out of order. Spending too much time on the hardest problems means you may rush through the easiest. ...
  2. Choose a “Letter of the Day.” ...
  3. Forget the right answer—find the wrong ones. ...
  4. Know the best way to bubble in. ...
  5. Tailor your strategy to each section of the ACT.

Can you study for the ACT by yourself? ›

It's possible to reach your ACT target score by studying on your own. While some test takers prefer to study independently, others might have to if they don't have the resources to pursue other prep options. Ultimately, effective self-study for the ACT requires you to be extremely disciplined, organized, and motivated.

Can I go to college without ACT? ›

If a college or university is “test optional” it means they do not require you to submit ACT or SAT test scores to be admitted. If you submit your scores to a test optional institution, the scores will be considered.

Is the ACT easier on paper? ›

While the ACT online does all it can to make this easy, it still is tougher than with a paper test, which means that many students won't focus on getting all the easy points first.

What ACT score gets a full ride? ›

Overall, my research so far has been surprising in that there are a few schools that will offer full-tuition scholarships starting in the 22 – 25 ACT range, but most full-ride scholarships require a 28 ACT or higher.

Can 34 on ACT get you scholarships? ›

With a score of 34 on the ACT, you're eligible for merit aid from both your future college or university and from third-party scholarship providers. On top of applying for merit aid, make sure you apply to scholarships for other things, too, including location, life circumstances, future major, passions, and more.

Can I get a full ride with a 32 ACT? ›

For example, a 32 on the ACT may earn a full ride at one school but a partial scholarship at another. Also, different sports will have different opportunities. This means you may have a better chance to fill a certain need at a certain school.

Is the ACT essay hard? ›

You can think of it as getting two different English teachers to give you A+s instead of As on the same essay. It's tough. So don't sweat it if your essay score is a bit lower. Remember it doesn't affect your composite score and is really more of a bonus than anything when it comes to college admissions.

Do colleges prefer ACT with writing? ›

Currently, most schools will view your ACT Writing scores if you send them, but it won't at all be an important part of your application. Currently, six schools specifically state on their website that they recommend taking ACT Writing: Colorado School of Mines (CO) Bethune-Cookman University (FL)

Can ACT writing hurt your score? ›

Your score in the writing section will not affect your scores on the multiple-choice or your Composite score. The writing section is a 40-minute essay test that measures your writing skills—specifically, writing skills taught in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses.

Which colleges do not accept ACT? ›

12 Colleges That Don't Require SAT Or ACT In The US
  • Pitzer College. ...
  • New York University. ...
  • Hampshire College. ...
  • Cornell College. ...
  • University of the People. ...
  • George Washington University. ...
  • Montana State University. ...
  • Colorado College.

What ACT score do you need for Ivy League? ›

Generally speaking, you need a minimum ACT score of 31 to get into an Ivy League School. The minimum score is 32 at a few of these schools, including Harvard and Yale. The minimum SAT score to get into an Ivy League school ranges from 690 to 730 for the reading section and from 700 to 730 for the math section.

Is it easier to raise SAT or ACT score? ›

Both of these tests are equally difficult, so regardless of your personal strengths, you can do well on both of them with the right resources and strategies.

Can you use a calculator on the ACT? ›

Examinees are encouraged to use a familiar calculator, but all problems may be solved without a calculator. Calculators may only be used on the mathematics test, including ACT WorkKeys Applied Math. Sharing calculators during the test is not permitted.

How long should you study for ACT test? ›

It is recommended to study for at least 10 hours so you are prepared. It is also better to keep your studying within one to six months before the test: Less than one month, the material doesn't have time to sink in.

What do I need to bring to ACT? ›

  1. Admission Ticket. Print a copy of your admission ticket to bring to the test center. ...
  2. Acceptable Photo identification. Acceptable photo identification is required to be admitted to the test center. ...
  3. Mask. ...
  4. Number 2 pencil. ...
  5. Watch or Other Timing Device. ...
  6. Calculator. ...
  7. Snacks.

How many score reports to colleges can be sent every time you register for the weekend SAT? ›

Each time you register to take the SAT on a weekend, you can send four score reports for free. You can designate your score recipients at the time you register or any time until you take the test. You also have until nine days after the test to use your free score reports.

Do you need to send official ACT score reports to colleges? ›

Colleges cannot get your ACT scores unless you request that ACT send them. This means that you need to specifically ask that ACT send your scores to a specific college. The schools cannot request the scores directly from ACT, and no one but you can ask that they be sent.

Can college See how many times you took the ACT? ›

Colleges do not have access to your test history unless you submitted all your test scores to that particular college. When you take an SAT/ACT test, you get a composite test score. It is up to you whether to pre-send those test scores to a college or send them the test score after you know what you got on them.

Why does ACT registration ask about grades? ›

You'll also be asked to fill out details on your classes, grades, and extracurricular activities. ACT gathers this information for its own research. In exchange for your data, ACT will provide you with a section of your score report called “College and Career Planning.”

How long does it take for ACT to send test scores to colleges? ›

Usually, ACT scores are reported to MyACT in around 10 days but can take up to eight weeks. Writing scores take an additional two weeks to report. If you took the ACT outside of the US or Canada, expect delays of up to 2 weeks. It takes about two weeks for scores to be sent after you've requested them.

How many colleges can you send your scores to for free? ›

Students need not pay any additional amount for sending the score to four colleges. The fee is adjusted with the registration fee. If you are sending the score for free, you will not have the option to choose which scores you wish to send if you have appeared in SAT in recent times.

How much does it cost to send ACT scores? ›

Send score reports to colleges after you take the ACT

If you wait to send your ACT score reports to colleges after you've taken the test and received your scores, it will cost you $16 per college. These score reports are typically sent a week after you submit your request, if your score is already available.

How long does the ACT take? ›

The ACT is 3 hours long (technically 2 hours and 55 minutes). Including breaks, the exam takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete. If you sign up for the optional essay (the ACT Plus Writing), the test clocks in at 3 hours and 40 minutes or just over 4 hours with breaks.

What is a good ACT score to submit to colleges? ›

In general, a good ACT score is any score in or above the 75th percentile — at least a 24. Students should aim to hit or exceed the middle 50% of ACT scores at their chosen colleges. The ACT Writing section is optional and uses a separate scoring scale.

How many times do most people take the ACT? ›

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.

Do colleges look more at GPA or ACT? ›

Although college admissions officers often say that they give much more weight to a student's GPA, even they will admit that your ACT score is of considerable importance. Here's what they won't tell you: your ACT is often more important than your high school grades!

Do colleges take your highest ACT score or most recent? ›

Colleges that superscore the ACT will look at your highest individual test scores and calculate a new, composite score across all your test dates. Your ACT Superscore is the average of your highest Math, Science, Reading and English test scores.

What documents are required for ACT? ›

All that is required is a credit card/voucher, academic documents, digital headshots, and an email address.
  • Create a MyACT account on
  • Sign in to the MyACT account and fill out the application form.
  • Pick a test session.
  • Select the desired date and the option (with or without writing)
Jan 3, 2023

What do you need for ACT registration? ›

Requirements for ACT Registration
  • Computer/laptop with internet connection.
  • High school course details.
  • Credit/Debit card.

What 5 things do you need to register online for ACT? ›

What do you need to register for the ACT?
  • Personal information including name, contact information, date of birth, and social security number.
  • Testing preferences include where you will take the test, the colleges you have picked to receive your score report, and whether you will take the test with the Writing section.


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