SAT Test Day Checklist

Your hard work preparing for the SAT won’t matter if you aren’t prepared for the logistics of SAT test day. Read on to learn how to spend your time the night before the SAT, what to bring to the SAT, and what happens the morning of the SAT. 

The Night Before SAT Test Day

First and foremost, try to stay in and go to sleep early the night before the SAT. Give your body time to get adequate rest so that you will awake refreshed and ready to conquer the exam. Before you go to bed, set out what you will wear and the materials you plan to take. 
Make sure that your alarm is set to wake you up at least an hour and a half before you need to leave your home for the exam. You want to allow yourself plenty of time to hear your alarm, get dressed, pack your bag, and eat a big breakfast. Also, if you are unfamiliar with the testing location, look up the directions beforehand. Visualizing your route and knowing how long it will take to get there will help you pace yourself and alleviate potential stressors. Plan ahead so you know how you’ll be getting to the testing center: will a parent drive you? Will you drive yourself? Will you take public transportation? Will you carpool with a friend? Knowing this ahead of time and confirming the night before the SAT will make the morning of the SAT smoother and less stressful.

Your SAT Test Day Checklist

Here’s what to bring to the SAT:
  • Your SAT Admission Ticket

    Get it by logging onto your CollegeBoard account, and be sure to print your ticket out.

  • Valid Photo ID

    Bring your original IDnot a photocopyand make sure it hasn’t expired. Check out the CollegeBoard’s list of requirements for photo IDs for more info. 

  • Two No. 2 pencils with erasers

    Mechanical pencils and pens aren’t allowed on the SAT, even on the essay section. Using the wrong writing utensil on the multiple-choice sections can affect how your scantron is read and lower your score. Make sure the erasers on your No. 2 pencils are clean and new, so you don’t smudge when you erase, and that your pencils are both sharpened.

  • An approved calculator

    Check out the CollegeBoard’s calculator policy for information about what calculators are considered acceptable to use on the SAT. Make sure you put in fresh batteries before the test.

  • A watch without an audible alarm (optional)

    The SAT is a strategy driven test. Each section is timed, so it is important that you pace yourself so you have time to cover each question.
    Although the test proctor will be giving you the time periodically on the board, you shouldn’t rely on them to update as often as you’ll want to know the time! Thus, it’s helpful to wear a watch so you can track your own speed without having to ask for the time. A word of caution—avoid using smart watches, because they could be considered a violation of academic integrity. Instead, get a cheap, easy-to-read digital watch with basic time features.

  • A drink or snack for the break (optional)

    Even if you eat a substantial breakfast, you may wish you had a snack during the break. Staying full and hydrated will help you be attentive during the test. 

  • Extra batteries and/or backup calculator and watch (optional)

    Even if only to give yourself peace of mind, having backup equipment is a good idea. You’ll need to ask for permission to access these items during the test; they cannot be on your desk.

Do not bring your cell phone to the SAT. Students can be kicked out of SAT administrations because they’re caught using their phoneseven if not to cheator because a phone alarm accidentally goes off. Leave your phone at home, not in your backpack under your desk. 
See the CollegeBoard website for more information about what to bring and what not to bring to the SAT. 

SAT Test Day Schedule

Even though test doors open at 7:45 AM, try to get there at least 30 minutes earlier. You can expect a long line of students coming to take the same exam as you are. It gives you an upper hand to be one of the first people in the line. You will be assigned your room first and will have more time to sit and relax before the testing begins. You do not want to be one of the people on the back of line who has to worry about getting a room assignment before the test bell rings. You can also use that extra waiting time to use the bathroom so you don’t need to go outside of the designated breaks.

SAT Breaks

You are allowed to take bathroom breaks beyond the designated break times. However, it would benefit you to not take one. A bathroom break during a timed section can take away the time you have to understand and answer questions. If you do need to take a break, try to do so after you complete the section. You want to make sure you’re maximizing your time and using every minute to answer the questions correctly. This can all be avoided by getting there early enough so that you can use the restroom before the exam begins.
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