No matter how diligently you prepare for the big tests, all your effort can come to naught if you drop the ball on test day. Everything you do in the week leading up to the test matters, as does everything you bring–or forget to bring–to the testing center.
College Board provides a helpful Test Day Checklist that becomes even more useful with our expanded recommendations, which we update every year:
- Your Admission Ticket (print at least TWO days before you need it.)
- Acceptable photo ID (pay attention to the rules around acceptable ID.)
- SAT: Your fully charged approved device loaded with Bluebook and your registration
- ACT: Two No. 2 pencils with erasers (mechanical pencils are not allowed, but big erasers are.)
- A drink or snacks for your break (performance foods like fruit, protein, and something sweet)
- An approved calculator (For the ACT, either pack a spare or be ready if your calculator fails.)
- Tissues (Testing seems to elicit all kinds of sniffles, sneezes, and tears.)
- Required medications and medical devices (go ahead and pack a special first aid kit.)
Nice to Have
- A watch without an audible alarm (always wear a watch to a timed test.)
- A bag or backpack (great place to store layers for maximum comfort)
- Extra batteries and backup equipment (you’ll have to ask for permission to access them.)
- Breakfast before you arrive (we all need fuel for focus and willpower.)
What Not to Bring
Basically, don’t bring any prohibited devices, including mobile phones, separate timers, or anything that might make noise during the test. Proctors are encouraged to collect and hold prohibited electronic devices during a test, or alternately to deny admission to anyone who is in possession of a prohibited electronic device.
If you make it through security but your device makes noise or you are seen using it at any time–including during breaks–you may be dismissed immediately, your scores can be canceled, and the device may be confiscated and its contents inspected. Nobody wants that to happen.
Smart test takers put tremendous thought and effort into preparation for test day. Be sure to put at least a little effort into packing for test day as well. Good luck!