If you are a high school junior or senior planning to take the SAT, you probably have lots of questions: What’s on the test? Should I take practice tests? How else can I study? What is an average score? Where can I find a prep book? These questions, plus the looming changes to the SAT, can distract you from planning for the actual test day. In particular, you should consider what you can bring into the testing room. Many students show up to the test with prohibited items, which can result in them being kicked out of the test, while others forget suggested items (like that graphing calculator for math questions). Here are some tips on what to bring and what to leave at home.
Items to bring to the SAT testing center
Admission ticket and photo ID
Your admission ticket with a valid photo ID are required to take the test. Don’t forget these items at home or you may need to reschedule your exam. You will also likely forfeit your registration fees.
An acceptable photo ID includes a driver’s license, passport, school identification card, etc. However, a social security card, birth certificate, or expired passport will not be accepted. Be sure to print out your admission ticket the day before through The College Board’s website, and keep all necessary materials in a place where you will remember them.
No. 2 pencils and eraser
The SAT answer sheet requires the use of a No. 2 pencil. Be sure to bring two pencils to ensure you are prepared. It is also helpful to have quality erasers that can erase answer choices well.
Approved calculator and extra batteries
While you should be able to answer every question in the math section without a calculator, The College Board recommends you bring a scientific or graphing calculator. However, you must be careful when selecting your calculator. You cannot use a calculator on a laptop or cell phone, a calculator with a QWERTY keyboard, or one that requires tape or an electrical outlet.
You may, however, use a four-function calculator, but it is not recommended. No matter which approved calculator you choose, don’t forget to bring an extra set of new batteries in case your calculator inconveniently dies.
A watch is a great item to have if you wish to keep track of your test progress (your cell phone is not an acceptable timer). Not all testing rooms will have a clock, so it’s a good idea to come prepared. If your watch has an alarm function, ensure it is disabled before the test. Audible alarms will not be allowed or appreciated.
Water and snacks
Being hungry or thirsty can be a huge distraction from your test. During the nearly four-hour test, you will have three five-minute breaks for stretching your legs, eating a snack, or using the restroom. Bring water to drink during your test, but also bring a nutritious snack, such as fruit, cheese, or pretzels to munch on during test breaks.
Items to leave at home on SAT test day
Other than your SAT-approved calculator, leave all other tech items at home. You will not need your cell phone, tablet, camera, or laptop during the test. Worst case scenario: they can get you into trouble. It is best not to bring them at all. If you have to have your cell phone to call your ride after the test or for any other reason, be sure to turn it off and leave it off during the test and breaks, and leave it in an approved spot.
Aides or cheat sheets
You’re allowed to write notes within the SAT booklet, but you cannot bring cheat sheets or study guides into the testing room. If you have written anything on your hands or other visible body parts, even if it is unrelated to the SAT, make sure it is completely washed off so you are not suspected of cheating. You are also prohibited from bringing any book aides, such as a dictionary, thesaurus, or writing guide.
Although your main focus should be studying for the SAT, keep test day technicalities in mind while planning. Following these guidelines for which materials you can bring to the testing center will make the morning less stressful, allowing you to focus on what you need to—the test.