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ACT Checklist For Test Day

After all the time and studying that you’ve done for the ACT, now comes the nerve-wracking test day. There’s little reason to stress though as all you need to do is bring a few items with you and be mindful of the ACT’s official rules.

Let’s take a look at our ACT checklist on what you should and what you shouldn’t bring on test day.

If you’re just starting to look into taking the ACT, then be sure to check out our various ACT prep course options.


act checklist


Make Sure The Testing Center Is Open

Before test day comes, make sure that the testing center your going to is open; it’s easy to check.

Sometimes unfortunate circumstances like bad weather, power outages, etc. shut down particular testing centers. To make sure that you are not affected in the case of such an emergency, the best thing to do is check the official ACT website. Once there, check out the “Rescheduled Test Centers” page for the latest updates.

If your testing center is clear and open, then you’re good to go. Let’s start to break down then what you’ll absolutely need to bring with you, what would be nice to bring, and what you absolutely CANNOT have on you on test day.


ACT Checklist – What You NEED To Bring With You

Let’s look first at what you have to bring with you, no questions asked.

Here’s what you absolutely have to have with you on test day:

  • Your Printed Ticket
  • Acceptable Photo ID
  • Watch
  • Permitted Calculator
  • Snacks

First, don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your admission ticket; without it, your score release will be delayed and you run the risk of not even being able to get in. If you’ve lost your ticket, don’t stress; you can go online via your ACT web account and print off another copy.

As far as Photo ID goes, there are a couple of options available to you:

  • Current Official Photo ID: It must be an original, valid ID issued by either a government agency or your high school, issued in a hard plastic card format. Also, your first and last names must match the ones on the ticket. The photo must also be clearly recognizable as you.
  • ACT Student Identification Form with photo: If you don’t have a photo ID in the aforementioned format, then you can bring with you a completed ACT Student Identification Form with a photo. The form itself can be downloaded from the ACT website and must be completed by either a school official or public notary. You aren’t allowed to have a relative fill it out for you.


Let’s now look at what kinds of ID are not allowed (get ready, the list is long):

  • ACT ticket alone
  • Birth certificate
  • ChildFind ID card
  • Credit, charge, bank or check cashing cards, even with photo
  • Diploma
  • Family portrait or graduation picture, even if the name is imprinted on the photo
  • Fishing or hunting license
  • ID issued by an employer
  • ID letter that is not an official ACT identification form
  • Learner’s driving permit (if it doesn’t include a photo)
  • Temporary/replacement driver’s license (if it doesn’t include a photo)
  • Organization membership card
  • Passport or other photo ID so old that the person presenting it cannot be identified
  • Personal recognition by anyone, including members of the test center staff, classmates, parents, counselors, and teachers
  • Photo ID of parents
  • Photo with your name embossed or printed on it by a photographer
  • Photocopies or reproductions
  • Photos issued by a business for promotional purposes (e.g., amusement parks)
  • Police report of a stolen wallet or purse
  • Printed, stamped, or photocopied signatures
  • Published photo, including yearbook or newspaper
  • Report card
  • Social Security card
  • Telephone calls to counselors, teachers, or school officials
  • Traffic ticket, even with a physical description and signature
  • Transcript, even with photo
  • Web page with photo

As you can see, the ACT is very stringent about what it will and will not accept, so be sure to pay attention to this list as test center staff will check to make sure you have the right materials in order.

Bring at least two sharpened no.2 pencils with you. Make sure they are sharpened beforehand and have good erasers because you aren’t allowed to use either mechanical pencils or pens. Moreover, if you elect to do the Essay section, then you can only complete it by pencil alone.

When it comes to your watch, the biggest thing to remember is making sure it doesn’t have an alarm. If your watch sounds off an alarm during the test, you will be personally dismissed from the testing center and your scores will not be recorded. However, having a watch with you can help you keep a good pace while working on each section.

Regarding the calculator, you are only allowed to use it on the Math section alone. In theory, you do not have to use one at all, because the questions are designed so that you can answer without one. However, to save time, it’s normally advisable to bring one. But it is your responsibility to make sure it is a permitted unit.

For more information, be sure to check out our “ACT Calculator List” post for a full breakdown on what is and is not permitted to use on test day.


act calculator list

ACT Checklist – What You CAN’T Bring With You

Here’s a breakdown of the items you can’t bring with you on test day at all.

Here’s the list of items you can’t bring because you can’t access them while taking the test:

  • Textbooks, foreign language or other dictionaries, scratch paper, notes, or other aids
  • Highlight pens, colored pens or pencils, or correction fluid/tape
  • Any electronic device, other than a permitted calculator
  • Reading material
  • Tobacco in any form

Digging deeper into the rules, here is what the ACT specifically lists as prohibited devices:

  • You may not handle or access a cell phone or electronic device at any time in the testing room or during break times. This includes smartwatches, fitness bands, and any other devices with recording, internet, or communication capabilities.
  • All devices, including cell phones and wearable devices, must be turned off and placed out of sight.
  • If you access your device or if your device activates while in the testing room or during break times, you will be dismissed, your test will not be scored, and your phone or device may be taken away.



Your Biggest SAT Checklist Item – PREPARATION

Now that we’ve discussed what to bring on test day itself; it’s important to recognize the biggest thing you will need with you – preparation.

Going into that testing center with the confidence that you have taken the time to cover your bases on each test section, taken practice tests, found your problem areas and worked on them, etc. will only help you when the time has come. That’s why at Prep Expert, our various SAT courses are designed to give you that level of confidence on test day.

Our proven strategies, taught by 99th percentile-scoring instructors, have helped students both get into the schools of their dreams and secure lucrative scholarships. The best part? We provide assistance year-round and always stay up-to-date with the latest test updates. If you would like to learn more today, then be sure to check out one of our upcoming classes now or contact us by phone or email to get the answers you need.


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Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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