How Long Does It Take to Get ACT Scores Back?

Finishing the ACT test is a major achievement for someone who has prepared so much and so hard for it. Right after the test, it will feel like there’s a huge weight that’s been lifted off your back. But the pressure is still on as you wait for the test scores to be released. This is a lot more unnerving, especially as the ACT release date approaches.

Knowing when the scores will be available will help you maintain your composure and plan ahead than fret non-stop. In this post, we will answer your questions about when and how long does it take to get ACT scores?  

When Do ACT Scores Come Out?

Normally, ACT scores are released around two weeks after the test date. To be exact, it is usually ten days after the examination day. Given that ACT tests are always on a Saturday, then the scores’ release date is on the second Tuesday after the test date.

However, keep in mind that the test results may take longer than usual. In other words, a ten-day-period is the earliest possible time for the scores to be released but the schedule can vary by six to eight weeks. That said, it’s always a good idea to stay updated with ACT score release dates, so you will know when to expect your results.

When Exactly Do the Results Come Out?

2019-2020 ACT Score Release Dates

ACT Test Dates Score Release Dates for Multiple Choice Complete Score Release Dates (with essay scores)
September 14, 2019 September 24, 2019 October 8, 2019
October 26, 2019 November 12, 2019 November 26, 2019
December 14, 2019 December 26, 2019 January 9, 2020
February 8, 2020 February 25, 2020 March 10, 2020
April 4, 2020 (canceled) April 14, 2020 (canceled) April 28, 2020 (canceled)
June 13, 2020 June 23, 2020 July 7, 2020
July 18, 2020 July 28, 2020 Aug 11, 2020

The scores for the writing section takes longer to be released because they are evaluated and graded by real humans. There is a strict process that the ACT follows in order to evaluate several write-ups as streamlined as possible.

Note: The April 4, 2020 ACT national test date is canceled due to COVID-19. To know more about the cancellation and rescheduling, you can check ACT’s official announcement (1).

Also, there are no official ACT score release dates for 2020-2021 yet because ACT has not yet confirmed nor announced about it. 

What Time Do ACT Scores Come Out?

The scores are posted on the ACT website by batches. However, the ACT usually posts only once a day at around 1 am Eastern time or 10 pm Pacific Time, 11 pm Mountain Time, and 12 am Central Time. 

Given that the scores are released by batch, there’s a good chance that your score might not come out on the scheduled ACT release date. Make sure to take this into account when you ask how long does it take to get ACT scores back?

When Do ACT Scores Become Available for the Schools?

There are three different types of score reports, one for you, one for your school, and one for the college you’re applying for. As someone who’s applying for college and, in some cases, for scholarships, it’s crucial that you’re aware when your ACT scores are delivered to the schools involved.

Also, the ACT will not send your scores until they are complete. In short, if you have taken the writing portion of the test, your complete score with an essay should be available before your score report will be delivered to the schools. So, how long do ACT scores take to send to your school of choice? It depends on timing and the school’s preference.

Basically, after a week from your score report request, the ACT team will prepare your score report along with the score reports of other students to be sent to a specific school at one time. The colleges involved also set a schedule as to how frequently they receive score reports from the ACT. Usually, some colleges will receive reports once every couple of weeks while others will receive the scores more frequently than once in two weeks.

There are also cases when colleges receive score reports via electronic at least once a day and tend to become more frequent as the college application deadlines get closer. 

If you happen to include a school as part of your four free score reports, then there’s a huge likelihood that the school will receive your score report even before you see it yourself. Still, it boils on the frequency it receives score reports from the ACT.

Now, if all this waiting time is too long for you, especially if you’re rushing for a college application, then you may opt for a priority report for shorter processing time to two working days after your request has been made. Typically, your scores will be sent to the schools three to four business days right after your request has been processed. When a request for score reports is made, it cannot be changed or canceled. 

How Do I Request for Score Reports?

There are three ways on how you can request score reports and they are as follows:

  • Online request – You can simply go to the ACT website and sign in (create if you still don’t have an account). You need to pay for the score report fee through a valid credit card.
  • Via phone – You can order by contacting the number 31-337-1270.
  • Letter of Request – You may send your letter of request to ACT Customer Care — Score Reports at PO Box 451, Iowa City, IA 52243-0451. 

For more details when requesting a score report, you can check ACT’s score report guidelines (2).

How to Find My ACT Scores?

Your scores are confidential, so the only way for you to view them is through your ACT student web account. Asking for your scores through phone, email, or chat via customer service is a waste of time as your scores will never be released over these channels. 

However, if you still don’t have your scores after eight weeks, then we highly suggest you contact them to get an update. This rarely happens, however, so don’t worry too much.

Why Do the Scores Take Two Weeks or So Before These are Released?

The ACT tests are scored automatically, right? So why does it long to get ACT scores?

  • There are hundreds of thousands of test-takers in each ACT test date. So, despite the automation process employed, the ACT team still needs plenty of time to process everything before any results are released.
  • Each answered test is shipped to the scoring headquarters of the ACT and then scanned to calculate the raw score.
  • The writing section is evaluated by two human graders who follow strict guidelines in evaluating an essay.

As you can see, the ACT doesn’t have it easy. Don’t worry. They try to get the results out as soon as possible, however. So the next time you ask, how long do ACT scores take to be released, think back to all the processes involved.  

What Are My Next Steps After I Get My Scores?

The first thing you have to do is to know more about how the ACT calculated your scores (3) and how well you performed in comparison to other test-takers (4). Knowing these details will help you assess your overall performance, so you will know exactly what to do next.

Now, you have two significant options after you evaluate your scores. 

  1.   Retake the test – There is a maximum of three tries for the ACT test, so retaking the test won’t be an issue. However, you must retake if you think that your current ACT score does not meet your target score based on the standard of the college you want to attend. Some students also retake for the sake of practice and when they are not satisfied with the scores they previously obtained.
  2.   Send your scores – If you’re already satisfied with your ACT score based on the school standard, then you can proceed in sending your scores to the colleges you want to apply for.

Finally, we encourage you to take in as much as prep time as possible if you consider retaking the test. Doing so will help you increase your chances of improving your score the next time you retake the test.


Knowing all the essential details about when you will expect your scores will help you plan out your college future smoothly. Of course, you will have your own list of preferred colleges and each of them has different policies and time frames for applications. Understanding the whole process of this entire ACT admissions will help you plan ahead and lessen frustrations along the way.