Taking the SAT/ACT? Don't Forget These 5 Items on Test Day

test prep

Sometimes, you may spend so much time worrying about an exam that you forget to think about what you'll need on test day. For exams like the ACT and SAT, certain items won't just help you do your best, some are required to enter the testing room! Read on to learn about the items you won't want to forget on test day.

Test Day Preparation

You've spent a lot of time preparing for the ''big test.'' Whether it's the ACT or SAT, you've expended a lot of mental energy studying and worrying about your performance. Then test day arrives. You show up at the testing site early and walk in. When you're stopped at the door, you realize that you've forgotten your ID. As a result, you're turned away and cannot take the exam.

This might sound like the start of a nightmare, but don't let it become a reality! If you know what items to bring on test day, you'll be ready to give that exam your very best effort.

What to Bring to the Test

When assembling these five key items, keep in mind that failing to plan is a way of planning to fail. Make sure the items are ready the night before and in your bag, or in a key place, waiting for you to pick them up before you leave. Some of the essential items on this list are paired items. If you forget one, the other is pretty useless, so think of them as one indispensable package.

backpack containing test day items not to forget, apple, and pencils

A few of these items are easy to forget because most of us are used to depending on our phones. Need your ticket for something? It's probably in your email. Need to check the time or use a calculator? There's an app for that, too. However, cell phones are not permitted during a test, or even during a break, so plan accordingly!

Item #1: Admission Ticket & ID

You'll need a printed admission ticket and a valid photo ID to gain entrance into the testing center. It's a good idea to print out multiple copies of your admission ticket so you know that you have a backup.

The ACT and SAT websites have information about acceptable forms of identification. Additionally, the requirements stipulate that your photo ID should actually look like you, so make sure that your passport doesn't include a picture taken when you were six years old.

Item #2: Pencils & Erasers

The SAT and ACT both require #2 pencils. Be sure that you have several of each and that they are sharpened. Erasers will also come in handy. Keep in mind that even writing portions, like the ACT writing test and SAT writing section, require completion in pencil.

pencil filling in exam bubbles on a test form

Item #3: Calculator & Batteries

Use of a calculator is allowed in the math portions of the SAT and ACT. Be sure to read up on the ACT calculator policy and the SAT calculator policy.

An approved calculator won't do you any good if the batteries are dead, so don't forget to make sure that your device is in good working order. Better yet, change the batteries the night before the test or bring extras on test day.

Item #4: Wristwatch

If you want to keep track of the time, you'll need to bring a watch. You'll have no way of knowing if the test room will have a visible clock, and even though the test supervisor will announce when five minutes of test time remain, a wristwatch can help you pace yourself.

While you don't want to forget a watch, you also don't want to forget to turn off any noise alerts - a beeping watch can cause you to be dismissed from the test. Also, keep in mind that watches with communication abilities, like smart watches, are not permitted in the testing room.

teacher walking around classroom during exam looking at watch

Item #5: Comfort Items

While a bottle or two of water and a snack are not required, they can help to keep you energized and refreshed. While eating and drinking during the test is not permitted, you can do so during the break. Make sure that the snacks are healthy to avoid a sugar crash during the next part of your exam!

Additionally, pack a sweater or light jacket and dress in layers. A test room in winter might be unbearably hot, while a sweltering day outside can lead to a frigid test room.

What Not to Bring to the Test

Don't let your all of your preparation and studying be undone by bringing prohibited items into the test room. In addition to leaving your cell phone at home or locked in the trunk of your car, don't bring any textbooks or reading materials, headphones or laptops into the testing room.

Need help preparing for an upcoming exam? Check out Study.com's ACT, SAT and other test prep courses, including practice and study guides for subject tests!

By Michelle Garrigan-Durant
March 2018
test prep test readiness

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