2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Should I take the ACT as a sophomore?


I'm currently a sophomore and I'm planning to take the ACT in July 2022. I'm going to be graduating high school in 2024. However, I heard that colleges only take ACT scores that are within a certain time period. Should I take the ACT now or should I wait till my Junior year. I'm worried that I won't be able to focus in my Junior year as it is really important.

All kinds of help would be appreciated!

Thank you!


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4 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

I would definitely not take the real ACT as a Sophomore just a practice one because the results could be disappointing. It's true that there are some legitimate geniuses that can walk into a test center and score a 35-36 cold with no studying. But that might be 0.001% of people.

The other reason is that some top schools want you to submit all your test scores not just your highest score or your superscore. So lets say you get a 25 the first time as a sophomore, then took it twice as junor and got a 28, then a 29, then a 31 as a senior but your superscore is a 32. On the common app you have to explain your superscore by divulging when you took the component parts that make up your SS. So you may have to indicate 3-4 test dates. At at some colleges, they just want all the scores. There is no material advantage to submitting 10th grade ACT scores in my opinion.

If you are aware that the ACT is a test which is an assessment of how well you have mastered the English, Reading, Science, and Math concepts taught in core HS subjects that will help determine your success at taking college courses, most 10th graders have not mastered anything yet. For example the ACT math section is actually harder than the SAT math section because there are both pre calculus and statistical math problems. You would only know how to answer them if you have completed Pre-Calc. or covered Stats like in AP Stats. So to get a 35-36 on ACT math, 99% of 10th graders have not completed both those courses.

I do however believe that it's never too early to prep for the ACT and it is wiser to start prepping in 10th grade versus 11th or 12th. I also feel as I stated before that your success in completing various courses and getting As in them will help ensure that you can test well on the ACT besides the practice books. I would recommend that you take Pre-Calc, AP Stats, AP English Lang, and couple AP science classes before you take the ACT because then the material covered in the test will be familiar especially if you are aiming for a 33-36 ACT score.

If all you are aiming for is say a 28-31 score, then mastering some of the more difficult questions may not be worth your time and trouble. It is rather doable to go from a average score of 21 to a 25 with some organized prep. It becomes exponentially difficult to go from a 25 to 30, and then as you prep toward a near perfect score it might take you a full summer of work and practice tests to go from a 33 to 35. So just beware that understanding your own natural ability is going to inform you how far you can go. Some people will never break 25 no matter how much they study and prep for.

Good Luck.

2 years ago

I would recommend preparing for the ACT now and taking a practice test; then you should take the official ACT during your junior year. This strategy will allow you to devote most of your energy to your classes as a junior. Feel free to check out our CollegeVine guides for more tips about studying for the ACT. Hope this helps!

2 years ago


I am a freshman and I graduate 2025, so I don’t know if this answer will be of much help to you, but I took mine for the first time last summer. I have been getting letters from colleges so, I think it is a good way to

a) see how the act is

b) get yourself into the eyes of colleges

Ultimately, it is what is right for you and what you want to do, but I think you’ll be fine either way ( I do recommend taking it earlier than later though!).

2 years ago

Hi! Here are some timeline tips that helped me go from a 1210 (practice test) to a 1520!

I took the SAT for the first time in March of my sophomore year. I practiced from January of sophomore year to March because I knew that the junior year grades were super important. I got a 1480 (800 math and 720 writing) the first time.

This allowed me to use much of my summer between 10th and 11th to prepare to improve my score, while my August 2021 SAT did not go as well as I hoped, the practice during that summer was crucial so that I was well prepared. I took it again October of my junior year before the difficulty really accelerated, especially in the IB diploma program. I was able to secure a 1520 through taking advantage of my sophomore year and the following summer. I highly recommend starting to prepare in sophomore year and that summer just in case things dont go well the first/second time!

Hope this helps :)

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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