The plate of modern college-bound high school student is often full to overflowing, with too many academic, extracurricular, and social commitments demanding time. When, exactly, can a student fit in preparation and testing? While high schoolers can, with proper planning, make any test administration work, peak performance really benefits from the chance to focus, which makes summer seem like the perfect time to test. Yet, neither of the two big admissions tests were offered during summer recess until 2017, when SAT introduced what turned out to be a wildly popular August SAT. Now ACT has joined the party with a July test, increasing the number of national ACT test dates from six to seven:
“Students, educators and colleges have told us they would like to see an extra test date prior to early admission and application deadlines, and we have listened. This additional test date will allow students to focus on their coursework while they are in school and prepare for the ACT test during the summer.”
One would imagine that this new test date will be as welcome as a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. In theory, a July ACT shares the same major benefits of the August SAT:
1. You can test before school starts.
2. You can prep before school starts.
Even better, because the July ACT comes just a month after the June one, students who underperformed on that test don’t have to wait until September for a rematch. Maintaining positive momentum is much easier over a few weeks than a few months. Plus, students won’t be distracted by school commitments heading into the exam. No wonder we always promote summer as a perfect time to prep.
However, these benefits won’t mean much to test takers in states or districts where school doesn’t let out until late June. Even worse, this administration–like the infamous February ACT–is not even offered in New York or California. Even if the July ACT is offered in your state, you may have a hard time finding a school willing to host the exam during the sleepy summer break.
The July ACT may not be perfect for every test taker, but any rising junior or senior who has either started prepping in the spring or hopes to finish testing by early fall should strongly consider this administration. Sure, maybe you’ll have to travel out of state, but who doesn’t love a summer road trip?