How Many Times Can You Take the ACT?

What's the ACT test limit?
April 26, 2024
3 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

The ACT is a central part of many college applications. Curious about how many times you can take the ACT and if retaking it is a good idea? Read on!

How Many Times Can You Take the ACT Test?

The American College Test (ACT) is a key part of many college applications. Preparing well in advance, and planning how many times you want to write it, is the best way to minimize the stress that can arise on test day! You might be wondering: can I retake the ACT? The answer is yes!

So, how many times can you take the ACT? You can take the ACT up to twelve times, and many students plan to take it two or three times between their junior and senior years. The test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36 and divided into four sections; Math, English, Reading and Science. 

While goal ACT scores are personal, it is important to understand what score you need to achieve to be admitted to the schools you are applying to. While most colleges do not provide minimal ACT score requirements, Ivy League schools like Yale look for ACT scores between 33-35. Currently, the average ACT score is 20.6.

What is important is that you set a goal that is both feasible and will make you a competitive applicant for the schools on your college list. Every school is different, so make sure you do your research. 

Whether you are applying to the Ivy League or not, planning to take the ACT more than once is a fantastic way to get the best score possible.

Reasons To Retake the ACT

Below we’ll explain the various reasons why it’s  generally a good idea to take the ACT more than once. 

Better Understanding of the Test Environment

No matter how many practice tests you take, you will not know how you perform under the pressure of test day until you experience it. This does not mean that you shouldn’t study for the first time you take the ACT; you might get your dream score the first time, so don’t slack on studying. 

Identifying Areas for Improvement 

When you get your first score back, you may find that you performed worse in a certain area than you expected. Resitting the test gives you the chance to adjust your study plan to tackle areas where you want to improve. Understanding your ACT score properly is a key way to help you identify where you need to improve. 

Clarifying Your Goals

Having a clear goal in mind when going into your first ACT exam is extremely important, but you may find that your goal is unrealistic after getting your score back. 

While this can feel discouraging, it is also important for clarifying and setting realistic goals. If you take the ACT and your score is ten points below what you need, it is a good idea to add schools to your college list that will admit you on the score you already have. 

Improving Your Chance for Scholarships

Various schools offer merit-based scholarships, meaning recipients are chosen based on a combination of their SAT, ACT and GPA

While elite Ivy League schools do not offer merit scholarships, many great schools do! Georgia State University, for example, is known for its generous merit scholarship programs, including the Presidential Scholarship, which covers tuition, fees and cost of living. 

Increasing Your Confidence

All the factors above combine to create one great advantage for retaking the ACT; a boost in confidence! Nothing can prepare you better for test day than having a test under your belt, and believing in your own abilities is just as important to ACT prep as studying. 

It is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t write the ACT simply for practice. The ACT is an investment of your time and money. Each time you write the test, you have to pay the $63 fee. This means you need to take each test seriously and study as hard as you can. Create a comprehensive study plan so that if you rewrite the test, you can easily tweak the plan to fit your needs.

FAQs: Retaking the ACT

How many times can you ACT? Is retaking the ACT a good idea? Check out these FAQs below. 

1. Does It Hurt to Take the ACT Multiple Times?

It doesn't hurt to take the ACT multiple times. In fact, planning on taking it more than once is a good idea! However, if you have retaken it more than three times and find you are getting the same result, it may be time to consider if taking it another time will actually be useful. This might also be a sign that it's time to employ an ACT tutor!

2. Can You Take the ACT More Than 12 times?

No, you can take the ACT only 12 times. Taking the ACT more than five times is likely a sign you need to change your approach or focus on other areas of your application to stand out. 

While your ACT score is important, you stand out as an applicant through a variety of factors. Your application is your chance to show admissions officers who you are and why you are the right candidate for their school, and you do this through more than just test scores. 

3. How Many Times Can You Take the ACT a Year?

The ACT is administered seven times a year, once each month, between February and October. Technically you could sit it every time, although writing an ACT once a month for seven months straight is likely not a recipe for success.

4. Is Retaking the ACT Worth It?

Planning on writing the ACT two to three times is certainly worth it. You have a great opportunity to improve your score and your chances of winning scholarships. To avoid getting stuck in the stressful loop of constantly rewriting, decide how many times you will write it before you even write the first time. 

5. Can Colleges See How Many Times You Have Taken the ACT?

As is the case with the SAT, colleges only see the ACT score you choose to send them. However, you can not pick and choose between sections on different tests. 

This means you cannot send your result from the math section from your first attempt and the result from the science section from your second. You must send the composite score of one test.

Improving Your ACT Score With Quad

Taking the ACT can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Setting clear goals and developing a study plan can help it feel less overwhelming. You can take the ACT up to twelve times, and you should plan to take it at least twice. 

Whether you want extra help studying or are looking to improve your score, Quad Education can help. Quad employs 99th percentile tutors that have helped students increase their ACT scores by an average of six points!

Quad tutors will help you identify the areas you need to work on, and help develop a step-by-step plan to get you there. Personalized plans created by tutors who actually know you will help set you on the right path on your journey to ACT success!

Success on the ACT looks different for everyone. Set clear goals and realistic expectations, and you will be set to begin your ACT journey!

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