ACT® Guide for International Students

If you are an international student planning to study in the US, then taking the ACT® can help you stand out from the other applicants during college admissions. This internationally recognized aptitude test assesses students’ knowledge and preparedness for college-level coursework. In this guide, we will discuss the ACT international test dates, registration process, fee waivers, policies, accommodations, and more.

Is ACT Important for International Students?

Yes! ACT, being a standardized test, is widely recognized by colleges in the US and many other countries and can be advantageous to students' college applications. Here are a few reasons why taking the ACT is important for international students:

To demonstrate English proficiency

The ACT includes English, Reading, and Writing tests to evaluate the English language skills of students. This is especially helpful for non-native English speakers to demonstrate their language proficiency.

To define academic success

The ACT assesses skills in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science and is a strong predictor of academic success. A good score can show colleges how well you will perform in your chosen field of study.

To fulfill college admission requirements

Many four-year colleges require applicants to take the ACT as part of their admissions process. Your application may not be accepted without submitting your ACT test scores.

Is ACT Hard for International Students?

How hard the test is will depend on the student's education, how familiar they are with standardized tests, and how well they have prepared. But ACT may be seen as especially hard for international students for two main reasons:

  • Command on English Language:
    Every section of the ACT requires reading passages or comprehending word problems, so it is important for a student to be proficient in grammar and syntax. Understanding difficult vocabulary and interpreting information from the given text may be difficult for non-native English speakers.
  • Broad Syllabus:
    Most of the ACT questions emphasize on the topics that students learn in high school. However, some concepts and high level texts on the test that are beyond your high school knowledge may become challenging.

Remember, with the right preparation, every challenge can be overcome. Read our ACT study guide for all the exam tips and to make an effective study plan.

Let us help with your test prep and make the hardest questions easier to answer.
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ACT International Registration, Fee and Test Dates

If you have decided to take the ACT, the next question usually is, “How do international students apply for the ACT?” The answer is simple! You can register for your ACT test through the ACT official website in just 30 minutes by following these simple steps:

  1. Create your MyACT account
  2. Select a test date and location
  3. Fill out the application form with all the required information
  4. Pay the test fee

But before you start the registration process, make sure you have the following things handy to avoid any last-minute hustle:

  • Computer with internet access
  • Credit card or other online payment methods
  • High school course details

ACT international test dates and deadlines

Remember, it is very important to keep track of the ACT international test dates and deadlines since missing a deadline will cause late fees or prevent you from taking the test. To make registration easy, we have put together below all the important information related to the ACT international test dates.

Test Date Registration Deadline Late Fee Required Photo Upload Deadline
10-11 February, 2023 13 January 27 January 3 February
14-15 April, 2023 17 March 31 March 7 April
9-10 June, 2023 12 May 26 May 2 June
14-15 July, 2023 16 June 30 June 7 July

ACT international registration and scores service fees

The ACT test registration fees, with and without the writing section, are $196.50 and $171.50 respectively. With your test registration (for both with and without writing), you will be able to request one free score report for yourself and four free score reports for the colleges of your choice. Here is a list of a few additional ACT international fees that you might require to pay:

Service Fee Details
Test option change $25 To add or remove the Writing test.
Late registration $36 To register or change the test date during the late registration period.
Change fee $42 To change the test date or the test center.
Score reports to 5th and 6th college choices $16 To order reports before the test date. This is refundable on a written request if you do not take the test.
Additional Score Reports $18 To order additional score reports after registration.
Did you know? The ACT also offers International Subject Tests in the North African and Middle East regions to determine students’ understanding of concepts in ELA, Math Science, and US History and check their readiness for post-secondary courses.

How to get an ACT fee waiver for international students?

International students are eligible for an ACT fee waiver only if they take the test in the US, US territories, or Puerto Rico. US citizens or foreign nationals taking the test in countries other than the US are not eligible to get fee waivers.

To qualify for the fee waivers, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be currently enrolled in Grade 11 or 12.
  • Be part of a federal free or reduced-price lunch program.
  • Be a part of financially disadvantaged programs like Upward Bound or GEAR UP.
  • Be a state ward, homeless or living in a foster home.
  • Be living in federally subsidized housing with family.
  • Has family income less than the levels set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
Viewing how two independent clauses are joined by a comma on the ACT
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ACT International Policies and Accommodations

It is very important for students to strictly follow all the rules and guidelines set by the ACT for taking the test. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of scores and dismissal from the testing center.

The following testing policies must be acknowledged by students:

  1. Discussing or sharing questions, answers or any resource at any point during the test, breaks or after the test while you are at the test center is not allowed.
  2. Using calculators during any test other than the math test or sharing calculators with anyone is prohibited.
  3. Using electronic devices, including phones, laptops, smart wearables, and unapproved calculators, is restricted.
  4. Fixing errors and looking back at a section once the allotted time is up is not allowed. You are also not allowed to look ahead at a section.
  5. Looking at someone else’s test sheet, giving or receiving assistance, or indulging in any form of unfair practice is strictly prohibited.

Before taking your ACT test, read our blog on what to bring on the ACT test day to know all the dos and don’ts so that nothing catches you by surprise once you enter the test center.

ACT international test accommodations

Similar to US students, international students also have the option to take the ACT test with accommodations. Accommodations are special provisions that ACT provides to students with documented disabilities, allowing them to take the test with some modifications. All requests for accommodations for your preferred test date must be made through the Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) system before the late registration deadline. Based on your required accommodation, you will be placed in one of the following:

  1. International Testing:
    This is for accommodation requests that can be administered at a test center (eg. one and one-half time). Students who qualify for international testing will see “Accommodations” written on their admission ticket.
  2. Special Testing:
    This is for accommodation requests that cannot be administered at a test center and require special arrangements to be made (eg. multiple-day testing). Students who qualify for special testing students will see “Special Testing” written on their admission ticket.

Note that the special testing is offered during the following designated two-week testing window:

Test Date Testing Window
10-11 February 2023 10 February – 26 February
14-15 April 2023 14 April – 30 April
9-10 June 2023 9 June – 25 June
14-15 July 2023 14 July – 30 July

Read our page on ACT Test Policies and Accommodations for more information on testing policies and the consequences of violating them, calculator policies, and the various types of accommodations available for taking the ACT.

How International Students Can Prepare for the ACT

Now that you know everything about the ACT test and why it is important for international students, the next step is to start preparing for your test. Here are a few tips to help you begin:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the test structure:
    To score well on the test, first, it is very important to understand the ACT format, topics and concepts, and scoring pattern. Once you know what you will see on the test, you will find it easy to prepare for it.
  2. Make sure to follow a study plan:
    To study effectively, you need to make a study plan in order to balance your test preparation. It is crucial to dedicate enough time to each subject to cover all the topics and do revisions whenever necessary.
  3. Practice with quality prep courses:
    Practice is the key to success. It will help you understand your strengths and improve on your weak points. Try UWorld’s ACT practice test to prepare with thousands of exam-like questions and achieve your dream score!
Our active-learning method helps you master each section of the ACT®.
Viewing how two independent clauses are joined by a comma on the ACT
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Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs)

An above-average ACT score for a particular year is generally considered good. Remember that a score that fulfills the prerequisites for the college of your choice is a good score.
Unfortunately, the ACT releases no information about international ranks and averages. However, students looking for the international average score should base it on US ranks. The average national ACT score for the year 2022 was 19.8.
The score required for getting a scholarship may vary depending on which scholarship program you are applying for. To get all the information, it is suggested that you read the policies of the scholarship program you want to apply for.
A high GPA and a strong ACT result both contribute towards a full scholarship. You might be eligible for a scholarship if you meet all the requirements.
Foreign-born and international students can get a ACT fee waiver only if they take the test in the US, US territories, or Puerto Rico and meet all the other eligibility requirements.

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