The ACT and SAT are now each offered 7 times a year, creeping the farthest they ever have into precious school-free summertime. They’re in a fierce battle for your test-taking dollars, and both companies are exploring exactly when and how you want to test. The ACT is even debuting a computer-based version of the test in international markets.
If you’re actively preparing for and taking the ACT and/or SAT, you’re going to want to print these handy charts right now and post them up on the refrigerator.
Prefer to read on-screen? Keep going, and bookmark this page! You’re going to refer back to all these dates at some point in the next few months.
Key ACT Dates for the 2019-20 School Year:
|Registration||Late Registration||Test Date||Scores Released||TIR available?|
Key SAT Dates for the 2019-20 School Year:
|Registration||Late Registration||Test Date||Scores Released||QAS available?|
Registration: On this date – by 11:59pm EST – online registration at the regular sticker price is CLOSES. If you know for sure that you will be testing on a given date, this is the registration deadline to remember to avoid late fees or full test centers.
Yes, full test centers! In a given city or region, there are generally more than one testing center. Some are preferred by students over other centers – in my part of Florida, the preferred ones start on time, having working air conditioning, put students in classrooms (not the gym), etc.. Ask around for advice on which testing center has the best reputation in your area, and register early – good testing centers fill up!
Late registration: For those of you unsure if you’re going to test on a given date, you have until the late registration deadline to make your final decision. There’s a fee (generally $20) added to the test price, and you’ll have fewer testing centers to pick from. On the upside, if you’re waiting for scores to be released from a test you’ve already taken, or you’re waiting to see improvement from your test prep before you register, or that track meet was cancelled after all, the SAT and ACT let you register about only two weeks out from test day. Not bad.
Test date: This is when the madness happens. You wake up early, get to the school by 7:30, maybe 7:45am, and if all goes well you spend the afternoon singing and dancing in your post-test glow, maybe even have a celebratory lunch or dinner. Or maybe you get to nap, finally.
Scores released: I’ll be the first to admit that I’m being hopeful with these dates. These are the dates that it’s first possible (that is, not guaranteed) that you can log in to the Collegeboard’s or Act.org’s website, bite a few nails, say a few prayers, and see those lovely scores.
There’s all kinds of reasons why the scores will not be available by this date, and if you took the essay, that’ll be another few days yet. Add a couple days, too, for these scores to make it to the colleges. But this is definitely the date to obsess over after the post-test glow has worn off and the I JUST WANT TO KNOW HOW IT WENT ALREADY, OKAY? phase settles in.
TIR and QAS: These strange letters mean a whole lot, but also something very simple: if you’re willing to pay for it, you can receive a copy of the test, the answers you bubbled, AND the correct answers. This is an invaluable resource for a student starting out with test prep and who is committed to long-term prep – the test booklet and answers won’t arrive for 3-6 weeks… and sometimes longer… after the test date. I love it when students have these for us to pore over. We can find out what didn’t work on test day. But this service is pointless for someone testing once, or when you’re nearing the end of your test prep days (hooray!). And this service is only available for three (US, national) test dates per year, for each the SAT and ACT.
Read on if you really want to know what all those letters stand for.
They’re the Question-and-Answer Service (QAS) from the Collegeboard, which makes the SAT, and the Test Information Release (TIR) from the ACT. Both can be ordered at the time of online registration or up to several months (five months for the SAT and six for the ACT) after the test date.
Have you already completed the test, and now you want to get these materials in your hot little hands, stat? The ACT is rather finnicky about ordering the TIR after the test date, requiring families to mail (yes, snail mail!) the completed TIR form and a check, while the SAT has acknowledged the digital age and allows families to order the QAS online, even after the test date. The SAT also offers some other letters, the SAS, on test dates when the QAS is not available, but it’s a waste of money – you don’t get a copy of the test booklet (the questions), only your answers and a detailed question type breakdown. Some families and other tutors may find great enlightenment from these materials, so check around before accepting my dismissal as completely valid.
So there you have it – all the important dates in one place.