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Test day: What to expect and what to bring

Read this before you leave for your official SAT!
Congratulations on making it this far. You’re registered, you’ve studied, and you know what you’re in for. Now it’s time to just take the test! (Easy, right?)
Image of a paper and pencil.
What should you expect on Test Day?
Here’s a quick overview of what will happen:
  • Arrival and check in: When you arrive at the test center (with all of the necessary items - see below), you will find the check-in area, where you will present your photo ID and your admission ticket.
  • Settling in: The administrator may assign you a testing room when you check in, or you may be directed to one when the test starts. When you arrive in the room, you and the other students will be given a few minutes to settle in (take out those pencils!) Your test room supervisor will introduce him/herself and offer some general testing guidelines and rules. You will clear your desk and put away everything but your calculator and pencils. You’ll then receive a test book and an answer sheet, and you’ll be asked to provide some basic information on the answer sheet.
  • Taking the test: The test will be administered section by section. Once your test room supervisor gives the go-ahead, you should open your test book and begin. You must only work on the section the supervisor has indicated; do not skip ahead in the test book. The supervisor will let you know when time is up and will also indicate break times. If you finish a section before time is up, you should sit quietly and review your work while you wait until the section time is over.
  • Breaks: You will be given two short breaks. The first one, immediately following the 65-minute Reading Test, will be ten minutes long. The next one will only be five minutes, and it will happen after you have completed the Writing & Language Test and the first section of the Math Test. If you are taking the Essay, you will be given a third break before that section. This break may only be two minutes long
  • After the test: Once you have finished your test and time is called, your test room supervisor will collect your test book and your answer sheet. When the supervisor dismisses the group, you’re free to go - make sure you plan something fun for the afternoon to celebrate taking the SAT!
  • Scores: Your test scores will be available several weeks after the test. You will receive an email when your scores are available and ready to view. You will be able to access your scores online, where you can also order score reports to be sent to colleges. Every time you register for the SAT, you receive four score reports for free up until 9 days after you take the test. To take advantage of this benefit, make sure you select the four schools when you register or no later than 9 days after you take the test. Starting 10 days after you take the test, the usual score report fee is charged.
  • For more information on Test Day, please visit the College Board’s Test Day tips page.
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What you absolutely need to bring to your test
Locate and pack these items the night before so you don’t forget anything on Test Day!
  • Your admission ticket: You must have your Admission Ticket on Test Day. Sign in to My SAT and click "Print Admission Ticket".
  • Photo identification: You must present acceptable photo identification (ID) for admission to the test center. You are responsible for understanding and following the SAT Test-Taker Identification Requirements and Policies.  A valid driver’s license, passport, or ID from your current school is OK; an expired ID is not.  Please be aware that you may be denied entrance to the test center or your scores may be withheld or canceled if you can't present acceptable ID, if the validity of the ID is in question, or if you fail to follow the Identification Requirements and Policies, so double-check before you leave for the test center!
  • Number 2 pencils and a soft eraser: You will take the test on paper and be required to fill in an answer sheet using a pencil – you will use your pencil to cross out wrong choices and to work through math problems. You will use it to write the essay. While some testing sites offer pencils, there is no guarantee that any pencils will be available. You can bring as many as you like, but bring at least two. Mechanical pencils are not allowed.
  • An acceptable calculator: You will be permitted to use a calculator for at least one math portion of the test. Permitted calculators include graphing calculators, scientific calculators, or four-function calculators (not recommended). Calculators that are NOT permitted include laptops or computers, tablets or cell phones, anything that can access the Internet or has wireless, Bluetooth or cellular communications, a calculator with a QWERTY keyboard (like the TI-92 Plus), or any calculator that requires an electrical outlet, makes noise or can record/play. Read the Calculator Policy to understand in more detail which calculators are and are not allowed.
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What you may wish to bring to your test
While not required, these items may help you have a more positive test experience.
  • A watch (without an audible alarm): Test room supervisors will only indicate the time at certain intervals, so you may wish to wear a watch to track your time. The watch cannot have any alarms or data capabilities.
  • Extra batteries: There's nothing worse than settling into the Math Test only to realize your calculator is dead! It’s never a bad idea to have some extra batteries on hand.
  • Water bottle: Your brain needs to be hydrated in order to perform at its best. Drink water during every break. 
  • Healthy snack fuel: You will be at the testing site for at least four hours. And your brain needs fuel to keep pushing through this mental marathon - whether you're feeling hungry or not! During the short breaks (only 5 minutes!), eat a big, healthy snack like an energy bar or mixed nuts. Other good options include your favorite kind of sandwich, yogurt, fresh fruit, granola. Nothing too sweet!
  • Dress in layers: Some testing sites are too hot; some are too cold; very few are just right! Wear a t-shirt or other light top in case it's hot, but bring something warm to throw on in case it's freezing in there!
  • A bag or a backpack: Keeping your personal items organized in your locker is one way to avoid unnecessary stress.
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What you should not bring to your test
Certain electronic items, including those listed below, are prohibited. Before the SAT begins, you will be asked to turn off all devices and put them away –out of sight and out of reach – for the rest of the test. If you are seen using a device at any time during the 4+ hours of the test – including breaks – your scores can be cancelled!
  • Cell phones or smart phones
  • iPods / other MP3/audio players
  • iPads / other tablets
  • Laptops, notebooks,  or other personal computers
  • Pagers or other texting devices
  • Separate timers of any type
  • Cameras or other photographic equipment
  • Any device, including digital or smart watches, capable of recording or transmitting audio, photographic or video content, or capable of viewing or playing back such content.
  • See the Cell Phones and Electronic Devices policy for more information on prohibited devices.

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