ACT Administration Procedures and Policies
For many high school students in the United States, ACT test dates are arranged by their school district or state education agencies. These students take the ACT at their high schools on a regularly scheduled school day, and the registration process is handled by school officials. In these cases, students simply show up for school at the normal time, and testing will begin immediately (photo identification is usually unnecessary, because test proctors will be the students' normal teachers). Students testing under these circumstances must make sure that they arrive at school on time on the day of the test. Once the test booklets have been handed out, admission will be refused to all late-arriving test-takers.
Students who attend high schools that don't hold their own test administrations must register for one of the national or international test dates (there are seven dates in the U.S., its territories, and Canada and five dates internationally). Most students register online via the ACT website, but standard mail registration is also available, and certain types of students must register by mail (such as children under 13). Test-takers who intend to pursue mail registration should request a mail packet by filling out the appropriate form on the ACT website. ACT photo and identification policies apply to all students taking the test on a national or international date.
To complete the registration process, students must either upload or send a recent photograph, which should have a full-face view in portrait format (scans of driver's licenses or other identification documents are generally not permitted due to poor image quality). The submitted photo will be included on the test-taker's admission ticket, which must be presented along with an acceptable form of photo identification for admission to the test center. Acceptable photo identification documents must be current and issued either by governments or schools (e.g. driver's license or school ID). Students who lack these documents may request an ACT Student Identification, which is obtained by having a school official or notary public fill out the appropriate form. Examples of identification and photographs that will not be accepted by ACT include birth certificates, employer IDs, Social Security cards, credit cards, pictures that show additional individuals, and published photographs.
ACT limits all students to no more than 12 test attempts, including any cancelled test dates or scores. There is a mandatory 60-day waiting period before retesting will be allowed. Students who miss their scheduled test date for any reason must register for a new test date and pay a new registration fee in addition to a test change fee, although they may be eligible for refunds of any optional services purchased. While taking the test, students may not use electronic devices (other than approved types of calculators), books, or scratch paper, and they may not verbally or non-verbally communicate with other test-takers. Violations of testing policies are punished by cancellation of scores and forfeiture of all registration fees.
The amount of time it takes to receive ACT scores depends on when the test was taken and the type of score. Scores are usually available to students for online viewing between two and eight weeks after the date of the test, except for the October administration, which takes at least three weeks (all score reporting windows are listed on the ACT website). Multiple-choice section scores are reported first, and writing scores will generally appear approximately two weeks later. ACT will not disclose scores via email, phone, or fax. Students who designate colleges to receive score reports at registration can assume that they will be mailed within a similar timeframe, although ACT has no control over those institutions' internal distribution procedures.
ACT offers certain types of accommodations for test-takers with disabilities and for students in need of English language support. The need for these accommodations should be indicated during the normal online registration process, which will automatically generate an email with further instructions. The request process is completed by school officials, to whom this email should be forwarded. Some accommodations (such as wheelchair accessibility or large-print text) can be provided during the national or international testing dates, while others (such as multi-day testing or use of electronic media) require a special administration of the exam. Special administrations take place during an approximately three-week window following a regularly scheduled test date.