You’ve taken the practice tests, you’ve put in your 100 hours of studying, you’ve got your goal score in mind, and you’re ready to take the SAT/ACT. Be sure you know how to get to your testing site before the big day, plan to be there no later than 7:45AM. Doors close at 8:00AM. If you’re late you will not be allowed in!
The morning of test day will be stressful in and of itself, so gather your things the night before to avoid a last minute scramble. Plan to bring a small bag for all your belongings.
Here is your packing guide for the SAT/ACT:
- Admission Ticket – Arguably the most important thing to bring with you. Without it, you will not be allowed to take the test. You can print out copies from your MySAT account or ACT web account. Print this out at least a day in advance, not the same morning!
- Photo ID – The second most important thing you’ll need to bring. Without your ID, you won’t be allowed into the testing room.
- Valid forms of identification: an unexpired government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport; paper learner’s permits will not be accepted), an unexpired plastic school ID card, an unexpired military ID, or an official SAT Student ID Form /ACT Student Identification Form (both are required to be completed either by a school office or a notary public).
- Invalid forms of identification: an admissions ticket alone, an ID without a photo, a birth certificate, a social security card, a diploma, a photocopy of a valid ID, an ID that is damaged, an employee ID card, or any temporary ID card.
- Pencils – Once in the testing room, the next most important things to have are pencils. They must be #2 wooden pencils. Mechanical pencils are not allowed. You will want to bring at least two, just in case.
- Sharpener – Since mechanical pencils are banned, you will probably want to bring a sharpener with you. Many testing sites are regular classrooms, so that they have sharpeners. But it’s always better to be prepared!
- Erasers – As the SAT and the ACT answer sheets are graded by machines, it is imperative that you keep your answer sheet neat so the machine knows what to grade. You can do so by erasing unwanted pencil marks with a good eraser.
- Calculator – Calculators are permitted on specific math portions of the SAT and ACT. Testing sites do not have calculators for you to use and they only allow certain types. Double check to make sure yours is acceptable before testing day.
- Acceptable Calculators: graphing calculators, scientific calculators, and four-function calculators (though not recommended).
- Non-Acceptable Calculators: laptops, computers, tablets, phones, calculators with a QWERTY keyboard, noise-making calculators, calculators that need an electrical outlet, or any with wireless/Bluetooth/cellular access.
- Bottle of water – Testing days are long and stressful. Make sure you do your best by staying hydrated by drinking water during breaks. There should be water bubblers at the testing site that you can refill your bottle with during designated breaks. Dehydration can be the cause of headaches, lightheadedness, and dry or irritated eyes. That said, make sure you’re not drinking so much that you need to go to the bathroom during a session.
- Snacks – SAT and ACT testing takes a long time; you could be at a testing site for 4 hours or more. Be sure to bring some brain-friendly foods so both your stomach and brain are in the best shape to help you conquer the day. The best brain foods are energy bars and nuts. Yogurt, a sandwich, or a piece of fruit can also do the trick. Be sure to eat breakfast in the morning!
- Allergy medications – Treat testing day like a field trip: you can never be too careful, so be sure to pack any inhalers or Epipens you might need.
- Watch – Not a requirement, but a watch can help you budget your time more effectively. Make sure if you do bring one that it doesn’t have an alarm. If you do and it goes off during the examination, you’ll be dismissed and your test will not be scored.
- Layers – Depending upon what time of year you take the SAT or ACT, the testing location could be blasting heat, air conditioning, or nothing at all. To make sure you’re as comfortable as possible, wear comfortable clothes that allow you to add or remove a layer at will.
These things will all help you have the most successful day possible. Good luck on the SAT/ACT, and happy testing!
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