After all the time and studying that you’ve done for it, now finally comes the nerve-wracking SAT test day. Thankfully, all you need to do is bring a few items with you and be mindful of the College Board’s rules.
Let’s take a look at our SAT checklist on what you should, what you can, and what you shouldn’t bring on test day.
If you’re just starting to look into taking the SAT, then be sure to check out our various SAT prep course options.
Make Sure Your Test Center Is Open
The first thing to do is check to see if your Testing Center will be open.
Sometimes bad weather, power outages, and other unfortunate circumstances can shut down a particular testing center. The best thing to do is check the official College Board website, which will list when specific testing centers are closed.
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.
SAT Checklist – What You NEED To Bring With You
Let’s first look at what you have to bring along on test day.
When it comes to what you’ll need to bring with you, without question, here’s the basic list:
- Your Admission Ticket
- Acceptable Photo ID
- Two No.2 Pencils with erasers
- An approved calculator
- *Epinephrine auto-injectors (if applicable to you)
To access your Admission Ticket, all you’ll need to do is log into your College Board account and print off a hard copy there. It is important that you do this at least the night before your exam because without it, you will not be allowed into the testing center by staff.
On test day, before you are allowed to take the test, staff will compare the information on your Ticket against the ID you provide to make sure they match. If they don’t, then the staff is not required to hold onto your seat if you don’t provide them with acceptable identification.
That point brings us now to what is and is not considered an “acceptable” photo identification. Here’s what the College Board defines as acceptable:
- Be a valid (unexpired) photo ID that is government-issued or issued by your current school. School IDs from the prior school year are valid through December of the current calendar year. (For example, school IDs from 2015-16 can be used through December 31, 2016.)
- Be an original, physical document (not photocopied or electronic).
- Bear your full, legal name exactly as it appears on your Admission Ticket, including the order of the names.
- Bear a recent recognizable photograph that clearly matches both your appearance on test day and the photo on your Admission Ticket.
- Be in good condition, with clearly legible English language text and a clearly visible photograph.
Here are a few “acceptable” examples according to their criteria:
- Government-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID card
- Official school-produced student ID card from the school you currently attend
- Government-issued passport or U.S. Global Entry identification card
- Government-issued military or national identification card
- Talent Search Identification Forms (allowed for eighth grade and below)
- SAT Student ID Form; must be prepared by your current school or a notary, if home-schooled
On the flip side, here are examples of identification that staff will not accept:
- Any document that does not meet the requirements
- Any document that is worn, torn, scuffed, scarred, or otherwise damaged
- An electronic document presented on a device
- Any document that appears tampered with or digitally altered
- Any document that bears a statement such as “not valid as identification”
- Credit or debit card of any kind, even one with a photograph
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Employee ID card
- Missing Child (“ChildFind”) ID card
- Any temporary ID card
The rule on Number 2 pencils with erasers makes perfect sense, as you will be filling out both Scantron bubbles, as well as grid-in questions. However, when it comes to an “acceptable calculator”, the SAT is definitely more stringent.
Here are a few tips to be aware of when selecting the calculator you wish to use, again courtesy of the College Board:
- Bring your own calculator. You aren’t allowed to share one whatsoever.
- Bring a calculator that you’ve already worked with and practiced on extensively. It’s not a bad idea to do a few practice tests with it, so you’re used to working with it under pressure.
- Remember that The Math Test includes some questions where it’s better not to use a calculator, even when you’re allowed to do so. Also, be prepared for the No Calculator questions too.
- Don’t be afraid to do scratch work in your test booklet. It won’t hurt to roughly work out the calculations you need to make before inputting the numbers into your calculator.
- Make sure the calculator is working correctly and contains fresh batteries. The test center will not provide you with either extra batteries or a different calculator if yours fails. If your calculator stops working, then you’ll be forced to finish the test without one.
For more information on specific models, you can use on the SAT, as well as prohibited ones, be sure to check out our SAT Calculator List post.
Bear in mind that the aforementioned items are what you need to bring, in order to be successful on the test (and be allowed to take it in the first place). However, there are other things you can bring along that will be helpful on test day.
SAT Checklist – What You CAN Bring With You And DO Before Taking The Test
Let’s move past what is necessary to bring on test day, and what you can bring to make life easier, along with what to do before arriving at the testing center.
Here is what they are:
- A watch (make sure it doesn’t have an audible alarm)
- Extra batteries and backup equipment. Remember though that you’ll have to ask for permission to access them. Flag down staff for permission because you won’t be allowed to have those items sitting on your desk during the test.
- Bag or backpack to bring your materials along
- Drink or snacks (to enjoy and keep energy up during your break)
- Breakfast (it’s always recommended to have breakfast if possible before going to the test center)
SAT Checklist – What You CANNOT Bring With You On Test Day
Let’s finally look at what you can’t bring with you when taking the SAT.
All in all, as long as you pay attention to the tips above, you should be ok on test day with both the staff and taking the test itself. However, the College Board also has a pretty long list of things you are prohibited from bringing along and using:
- Any devices, including digital watches, that can be used to record, transmit, receive, or playback audio, photographic, text, or video content (with the exception of CD players used for Language with Listening Subject Tests only)
- Audio players/recorders, tablets, laptops, notebooks, Google Glass, or any other personal computing devices
- iPods or other MP3 players
- iPads or other tablet devices
- Laptops, notebooks, PDAs or any other personal computing devices
- Any texting device
- Cameras or any other photographic equipment
- Separate timers of any type
- Protractors, compasses, rulers
- Highlighters, colored pens, colored pencils
- Pamphlets or papers of any kind
- Dictionaries or other books—there are no exceptions, even if English is not your first language
- Food or drinks (except for during breaks), unless approved by the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities.
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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