ACT Testing Amid COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted your life. We’re here to help you navigate the path forward.

3 Things We Want You to Know
 

We’re here to help you.

COVID-19 has disrupted your life. We’re here to help you navigate the path forward.

Class of 2021 Seniors & Family 
Class of 2020 Seniors & Family
Colleges and Universities
Educators, Counselors, & Advocates

We've learned from experience.

We were the only college admissions test to offer spring and summer test dates. We continue to learn from what went well and what didn’t go as planned to improve your experience.

We’re actively listening and responding.

We’re committed to more proactive communication with you and to opening up as much testing capacity as possible, following CDC and local public health guidelines for the safety of students and staff.

Our Continued Promise

Life is all about navigating the bumps in the road, and we’re here to help. Find the information you need, based on your unique experience.  

Class of 2021 Seniors and Family

The COVID-19 pandemic probably has you asking a lot of questions as you look towards your final year of high school and beyond. We know it’s challenging, and we want you to know we’re committed to giving every student the best possible chance to take the ACT. We’re doing everything we can to make that happen and to provide the information and resources you need to test at your best. Below are a few situations you may find yourself in, what we’re doing (or have done) for people in those situations, and what you should do next.       

All students registered for September ACT test dates received an email from ACT on August 26, about the current status of their registration. Now through your test day, ACT will be sending email updates Monday through Friday by 6:00 p.m. CT to notify you if there has been a change in your registration*. Please know that changes in COVID-19 may affect your ability to test on your scheduled test day. We’re committed to helping you navigate your path forward, no matter the bumps in the road, and will send you updates if/when your registration changes.

*Potential changes in your registration include:

  • Your test center closed.
  • Your test center had a reduction in capacity.
  • You were registered at an unlisted test center, which was established only to test specific examinees, and ACT adjusted the roster at their request.


Here’s what you can do if you’re affected by changes in your registration:

  1. You can request a free change through your MyACT account, but if you can’t immediately find capacity for a desired date, stay tuned. ACT is working with centers to identify and create as much capacity as possible.
  2. If you’d prefer, you can also complete a form to request a refund of your test registration fees.

We’re here to help you navigate your path forward and will continue to provide as many testing opportunities as possible while adhering to CDC and local public health guidelines for your safety.

...but I haven't received communications from ACT.

Please follow official updates from ACT when it comes to your test registration. Check your admission ticket in MyACT, as well as test center cancellations. We will email you if your registration changes for any reason.

Congratulations! Be sure to log in to your MyACT account frequently to stay up to speed on the latest availability of your test location. We look forward to seeing you on test day.

We are taking registrations now! Do you have a MyACT account?

  • I’m not sure—That’s OK. Check out this Quick Start Guide to determine if you need to set up a new account, or update or migrate your previous account.

  • Yes—Great! Sign in, then follow the process to register. Please note that you can take one September test and one October test, but you will not be allowed to register for multiple dates in September or October. Can’t find a seat or site that’s close? Please know we are continuing to add more sites and seats to MyACT and encourage you to check back frequently. 

  • No—OK. Create a MyACT account to begin the registration process.

We understand; plans can change. You can cancel or change your ACT test date through MyACT. Sign in, and follow the process to cancel or change your registration.

...learning this fall.  

You may be wondering if you’ll be able to test at your school. Schools that serve as test sites still have the option of giving the ACT test, even if they are closed and doing remote learning for their students. We will be working closely with test sites and communicating the status of test sites for upcoming test dates. 

You can request a refund for fall 2020 test dates and April, June and/or July 2020 test dates.

...test center different than the one I selected. 

We had some cases of this soon after launching MyACT.  We’re sorry for the inconvenience, and have fixed MyACT so it shouldn’t happen in the future. Please let us know if you’re still having trouble with this.

We’re sorry to hear that. What are you having trouble with?

  • I already created a MyACT account and I can’t see my test dates and scores from other tests. This happened for some students if you created a new account instead of migrating from your previous account, or if there was an error in the migration process. Please contact us so we can help.

  • I can’t verify my account to log into MyACT. Have you checked your “junk” or “spam” folders? Sometimes these emails can get stuck there. You can also confirm your email is correct and resend the validation. If you selected to verify via SMS message and you do not receive a message, please select to email the verification as an alternative. Still having trouble? Pleasecontact us so we can help.

  • For other issues, contact us for help. 

Sounds good! Have you tested before fall 2020? 

  • Yes—Great! Log into MyACT to view your scores from previous test dates. If you tested before July 18 and are not seeing your scores, it’s possible you created a new account instead of migrating the information from your old account over to MyACT. Check out our Quick Start Guide for help. 

  • No—OK. Please see our score release windows for fall 2020 test dates to learn when you can expect your scores and how to send them. Multiple-choice scores typically first become available within 2 weeks of the test date and are released throughout an 8-week period. Please note, not all students who tested will receive their scores on the first score release day.

...at my test center. 

Those are very valid concerns. ACT continues to update its test center policies and procedures based on the latest guidance from local officials and CDC guidelines. The guidelines provided to test centers include both recommendations and requirements. They include (but are not limited to):  

  • Requiring face coverings be worn by students and staff (See FAQs for details)
  • Making hand sanitizer available
  • Placing COVID-19 related signage, including floor signage to maintain six feet distances at key locations such as check-in and seating arrangements  
  • Requiring health screenings and wellness checks on both testing staff and examinees on test day 

As always, if you don't feel well on test day, please stay home! More information and guidance can be found on the CDC website or by contacting your local health department or medical provider. 

 

...the ACT exam. What should I do?

Contact your local healthcare provider or state or local health department who is responsible for contact tracing to disclose that you’ve participated in the ACT exam (provide the exam date and location- city, state and facility name + address). If your local health official determines further notification of possible exposure should occur, they may contact ACT at ACTCOVID19Reporting@act.orgUnrelated email inquiries will not receive a response.

NOTE: Further notification of possible exposure is at the discretion of state or local health officials, and a decision is made based on a variety of factors. Learn more at www.cdc.gov.

We understand that under the current conditions, you may feel more comfortable taking the ACT online. While we aren’t currently offering that option, our hope is to launch online testing in 2021. That said, we’ll continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on test center capacity to prioritize safety and equitable access to testing. Learn more about the COVID-19 precautions ACT is taking at its test centers.

 

...an ACT score. Should I still take it? 

We understand that some students will not have access to the same testing opportunities as others, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why we encourage colleges to make decisions that best support their institutional goals and meet the needs of students like you. However, your test scores may benefit you and help you stand out in a crowded field of applicants. Think of your college application like a jigsaw puzzle. With each piece of information—GPA, extracurricular activities, volunteer hours, test scores, awards—you are giving colleges a complete picture of who you are. If you don’t include an ACT score, you’re removing part of the picture. That’s why we’re providing as many flexible testing options as we can, to help you create a colorful record of your academic achievements. Learn more about why test optional may limit your options.

 

Class of 2020 Seniors and Family

Graduating from high school amid the COVID-19 pandemic was more challenging than you could have ever imagined. Congratulations, and kudos for your persistence! We’ve received thousands of comments and questions from students like you who may have missed out on taking the ACT. Here are some frequently asked questions to shed light on the situation and what you can do.    

...and still haven’t had a chance to take the ACT?

We worked to automatically register class of 2020 seniors who had their ACT test(s) cancelled over the last several months. While we know this prioritization did not help everyone, we have been doing everything we can to help those in the 2020 senior class obtain an ACT score for pending admissions and scholarship applications. In some situations, we were unable to automatically register 2020 seniors for a fall test date. This was most likely to happen if:  

  • You requested a refund from April, June, or July and your registration record was removed from our legacy registration system as we migrated to our new registration site, MyACT.  

  • We couldn’t place you in a seat within 350 miles of your home address. Please note that we are continuing to increase testing space for fall test dates and will update MyACT with new availability as we hear back from our test center coordinators. 

  • There were technical issues with your account information, such as duplicate email addresses for multiple accounts.  

 

Through MyACT you’ll be able to check the latest information about your registration and test center availability. (Don’t have a MyACT account? Create one.) 

 

Unfortunately, no. Your registration could change as ACT and test center staff monitor changes in local COVID-19 conditions and adhere to CDC guidelines. This is why it’s important to have a MyACT account and check it regularly, especially as you get closer to your test date.

We are allowing each student to take one September and one October test. Students cannot register for multiple September and October tests.  

Certain colleges and universities offer on-campus testing, which allows prospective and admitted students to test on the college campus they are/will be attending. College officials administer the test and scores from the administration are typically only valid at that institution. Ask your college if they participate in on-campus testing.

Colleges and Universities

We understand and empathize with colleges turning to momentary test optional policies to make students’ lives easier in this uncertain time. 

COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of the education landscape, and testing is no exception. What hasn’t changed is the fact that the ACT test is built upon 60 years of research, and guided by input from thousands of educators across the entire K-Career ecosystem. 

Scores from the ACT provide valuable college and career insights, a clear path to scholarship opportunities, and the chance to be identified and recruited by colleges.

We understand that some students will not have access to the same testing opportunities as others, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why we encourage colleges to make decisions that best support their institutional goals and meet the needs of the students they serve.

Test scores can aid colleges in this confusing time, offering helpful insights that inform difficult decisions like identifying and choosing among applicants in the crowded field of students presenting similar high school grades.  Additionally, test scores offer clarity against the backdrop of otherwise non-descript transcripts (pass/fail) resulting from COVID-19 school closures. Because of the multiple benefits testing provides to students and the colleges and universities that utilize test scores, we’re providing as many flexible testing options as we can. These include: 

  • Additional fall 2020 test dates  
  • Opportunities for educators and advocates like ACT State Organizations members to offer the ACT via national and unlisted test center administrations at their schools. 
  • “Pop up” sites that will allow ACT to offer up to 10,000 additional seats in areas most affected by COVID-19-related test cancellations this spring, utilizing our existing network of test centers, as well as new test sites at non-traditional centers like hotels, staffed by ACT team members. These sites will test on existing national test dates and may or may not be visible in MyACT for self-service registration. Limiting students’ ability to register for these sites through MyACT will allow ACT to more effectively meet demand by moving students affected by cancellations to open “pop up” sites. 
  • Remote proctoring, coming as early as this winter. 
  • On-campus (residual) testing, which allows colleges to administer the ACT to prospective or admitted students for use at their individual campus. More than 600 colleges have adopted this program, including users in all 50 states.

Educators, Counselors, and Advocates

The past few months have been exceptionally difficult for you. We value your dedication in helping students navigate the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, and we’re committed to helping you prepare them for a successful transition to life after high school—whatever that may look like for them.  

Unfortunately, it’s clear the pandemic will be with us into the fall. This means continued limitations in test center capacity and inevitable cancellations throughout the remainder of our 2020 test dates. To the best of our ability, class of 2020 and 2021 seniors impacted by test day cancellations in April, June, and/or July, have been placed in seats at sites that are currently open. While the test centers students see listed on MyACT are currently open for testing on the date noted, their registrations could change as ACT and test center staff monitor changes in local COVID-19 conditions and adhere to CDC guidelines.  

To plan for these realities, we are doing everything we can to secure additional space for students who will need more options. In addition to the changes we’ve already made to add more capacity (opening up our Sunday testing to all students and adding new test dates in September and October), here are a few more examples of what we’re working on:  

  • “Pop up” sites that will allow ACT to offer up to 10,000 additional seats in areas most affected by COVID-19-related test cancellations this spring, utilizing our existing network of test centers, as well as new test sites at non-traditional centers like hotels, staffed by ACT team members. These sites will test on existing national test dates and may or may not be visible in MyACT for self-service registration. Limiting students’ ability to register for these sites through MyACT will allow ACT to more effectively meet demand by moving students affected by cancellations to open “pop up” sites.  
  • Partnering with commercial testing companies to share their already-existing space within your communities.  
  • Working with state Boards of Regents, colleges, and universities to help them administer “On-Campus Testing” for their students. 
  • Working with school districts to help them become an ACT test site for their students (these are called unlisted test centers and are not available on MyACT).    
  • Working with ACT State Organizations members (our grassroots network of education and workforce advocates) to offer the ACT test at their schools via national and unlisted test center administrations. 

Helpful resources

Use your voice:

Lessons from Summer Testing

Must Secure Additional Space

COVID-19 affected our ability to administer the spring and summer test dates. We postponed the April test date to June, and operated at a limited capacity during our June and July test dates. The demand for testing and the need to earn a score has carried over into fall test registration. 

We know site cancellations and closures are likely and have contingency plans in place for “pop up” sites in affected areas. 

Proactive Communication is Key

Our operational teams performed a massive manual outreach campaign to thousands of test coordinators to better understand which sites were open and prepared to administer the test in a COVID-19 environment in line with local public health and CDC guidelines. Conditions changed quickly in certain locations where the virus was surging and last-minute closures and cancellations did occur. 

We will continue to proactively communicate with test centers and inform students of changes as quickly as possible. 

Supporting Seniors with Sites & Seats

We were able to provide makeup tests in certain locations for those impacted by last-minute cancellations, automatically registered thousands of impacted class of 2020 and 2021 seniors for fall test dates, and have added additional test dates to our regular national testing schedule this fall. 

Seats and sites continue to be added to the MyACT registration site as we work with local test centers to add capacity across the nation.  

What We're Doing

Acknowledging COVID-19 Realities

We’re working to accommodate the demand for testing and better serve you throughout the process. Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that seat and site capacity is subject to change, due to the changing nature of COVID-19.

Ramping Up Capacity & Support

Our operations team has been working to add seats and sites to fall test dates, and improve the communication process for notifying students of cancellations and closures. We’re also adding more call center staff to answer phones and emails and get you the help you need. 

Addressing Summer Testing Limitations

To the best of our ability, class of 2020 and 2021 seniors—impacted by summer test date cancellations and closures—have been placed in seats at sites that are currently open for the fall. Some of these students could not be automatically registered for fall test dates but we are doing everything we can to secure additional space for students who will need more options. 

COVID-19 Blog

We’re working to provide you with as much information as possible during this uncertain time. Take a look at our blogs related to testing, learning and navigating the new normal amid COVID-19.  

FAQs

Still have questions? Find answers to all of your questions about the ACT test and test day here