Limits on ACT Retesting

Official ACT Policies on Retakes

ACT policies stipulate that no student may take the ACT more than 12 times, and any cancelled test registrations count toward this total. Additionally, it is not permissible for a student to take the ACT more than once on a single day. In some cases, ACT will make exceptions and allow a 13th test, such as for students who were required to take the ACT by their school district or students who first took the exam when they were under the age of 13. Test-takers requesting exceptions to this policy must complete an electronic form on the ACT website, which should include the student's name, birthdate, address, desired test date, and the reason for the exception (students who submit these requests must previously have taken the ACT at least 10 times).

Required Waiting Period for ACT Retakes

There is a minimum waiting period of 60 days for students wishing to retake the ACT. Scores for any subsequent ACT exam taken within this 60-day period will be automatically cancelled by the organization, and there will be no refund of the registration fee.

Reasons for Limits on Retakes

ACT limits exam retakes primarily for reasons of test security. Allowing a single person access to the exam many times increases the possibility of various types of cheating, such as memorizing test questions and answer options for later distribution or taking the test on behalf of someone else. Identity fraud is common in some countries and is not always easy to detect, and these policies are therefore necessary to ensure the highest possible validity of the ACT assessment.

Penalties for Violations of Retake and Waiting Period Policies

Score cancellation and forfeiture of registration fees are the main enforcement mechanisms for ACT policies on retesting and the associated waiting period. While a student may manage to register for the ACT more than 12 times and/or within the waiting period, those test scores will not be reported, and the fees will not be returned. Extreme cases involving fraud or other criminal activity may be referred to the relevant authorities for prosecution.

Validity Period for ACT Scores and Retesting

ACT scores, unlike many standardized tests, do not have an official expiration date and they are technically valid indefinitely. The organization retains registration records for five years and test scores permanently. If it has been more than five years since a student took the ACT, however, most informed individuals recommend retesting. Academic skills can easily atrophy if someone has been away from school for an extended period of time. Conversely, some ACT-relevant abilities might improve via experience in the workplace or in managing day-to-day life. Students should be aware that all previous test attempts count toward the official lifetime limit of 12 ACT administrations, which does include any cancelled registrations or scores.

ACT Retesting Costs and Procedures for Retaking the ACT

The registration fees for ACT retesting are the same as the fees for initial test attempts (base fee of $50.50 or $67.00 with the Writing test, plus all additional services and surcharges). The regular methods of ACT registration (online and standard mail) are available for test retakes, but if a student has previously registered online, he or she will already have an account and the process will be more easily completed. Additionally, there is a phone registration option for re-registration only (which has a fee of $15.00).

The New ACT Writing Test Scoring System and Retaking the ACT

ACT recently instituted a new scoring system for the ACT Writing test, and this method of assessment has been in place for all test administrations since September of 2016. The old Writing test scale of 1-36 was replaced by a system that reports four domain scores of 2-12 each as well as an average (also 2-12). Students who took the ACT before September of 2016 will probably not need to retest on the sole basis of the scoring system change as long as they are satisfied with their original Writing scores. ACT has published concordance tables that enable comparison of old ACT Writing scores with the current scoring system. For example, a new Writing test score of 7 (the approximate average for all test-takers) corresponds to a score of about 18 on the old scale of 1-36.

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