Free ACT Retake Opportunities Available for All Tennessee High School Seniors

Tuesday, October 03, 2023 | 02:36pm


Retake Opportunity Boosts ACT Scores

Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education highlighted the free ACT retake opportunity for public high school seniors in Tennessee to boost their scores on the ACT college entrance exam.  

Tennessee leads the nation in ACT access, offering public high school students the opportunity to take the ACT two times for free during normal school hours. Public school students test once in the spring of their junior year, and then have an opportunity to retake the ACT in the fall of their senior year during normal school hours. In Fall 2022, on average, 75% of students who participated in the ACT senior retake improved their superscore. 

  “The fall ACT senior retake offers the opportunity for students to boost their scores to qualify for additional scholarship funding and improve their chances to pursue postsecondary education,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “We encourage Tennessee students to take advantage of this free opportunity to achieve their goals and be prepared for college and postsecondary success.” 

 Districts across the state will be able to offer the free fall ACT retake opportunities during one of the following windows: 

  • October 3-5, 2023 
  • October 10-12, 2023
  • October 17-19, 2023
  • October 24-26, 2023
  • October 31-November 2, 2023
  • November 7-9, 2023

Since 2018, the General Assembly has provided funding for the ACT Senior Retake in every budget, with nearly 84,000 students having earned the necessary score to qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship. This totals over $550M to support future postsecondary opportunities for students across the state. 

Aligned with the department’s Best for All strategic plan, the ACT provides essential data and context for state and district leaders on student readiness for postsecondary opportunities. Students who score a 21 or higher on the ACT also meet criteria for Ready Graduate, the state’s indicator to reward schools and districts whose high school graduates demonstrate postsecondary readiness.  

“We are thankful for state funding that will provide seniors across the state the opportunity to retake the ACT free of charge. Taking the ACT exam can provide students with a standardized measure of their academic abilities and readiness for college,” said Richard VanHuss, Director of Schools, Elizabethton City Schools. “Since many colleges and universities use ACT scores as a factor in their admissions process, performing well on the exam can increase students' chances of being accepted into their desired institutions, while also helping them qualify for scholarships and financial assistance.”

“Data has shown students have an increased composite score on the ACT with each additional opportunity to take the test,” said Dr. Jean Luna-Vedder, Director of Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools. “I appreciate the department’s commitment to providing this ACT retake to potentially lead to more scholarship dollars, less remedial courses, and additional pathways for students to pursue the postsecondary institution and career of their choice.”

“The state-provided ACT retake opportunity at no cost gives students a chance to raise their ACT scores which will increase scholarship awards,” said Dr. Tim Parrott, Director of Schools, Anderson County Schools. “A 2-point increase can be $2,000 a year in additional funding times 4 years. $8,000 is a lot to be excited about!”

“As we continue to highlight awareness of the importance of ACT to post-secondary opportunities, the ACT Senior Retake program is a major benefit to all students,” said Dr. Christy Smith, Director of Schools, Hardeman County Schools. “It expands the opportunity for seniors to have a second chance at improving their score, which could significantly impact their post-secondary options.” 

In 2022, the department earned the inaugural ACT State Equity and Access Champion Award, which celebrates and honors the state’s commitment to postsecondary access by enabling more students to achieve their goals and dreams.

The ACT is a comprehensive college entrance exam covering a wide range of subjects that assesses students' readiness for college. As the first state to provide this retake opportunity, the retake allows students to access more options for postsecondary education and financial aid, including the Tennessee HOPE scholarship.

To learn more about the state’s college readiness testing program, including the ACT and SAT, visit the department’s College Readiness Testing webpage. For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, email