You’ve been studying relentlessly in preparation for one of the biggest tests of your high school career: the SAT. When test morning finally arrives, make sure you’re prepared by knowing exactly what you should bring with you to the testing center as well as what you should leave at home.
Print Your SAT Admission Ticket
Obviously, you won’t be admitted to the test without your SAT admission ticket. You absolutely must have a printed copy of your admission ticket with you on the morning of the test, so plan accordingly if you don’t have a printer at home. Unlike some concert or event tickets, you won’t be able to show your ticket on your phone or tablet. No testing center will allow you to take the test if you don’t have your ticket printed.
Bring Your Photo ID
Equally as important, you’ll need to bring your photo ID to the testing center. Acceptable forms of ID include the following, which must be unexpired and government issued:
- Driver's license
- Military ID
- National ID
Additionally, you may also bring a school ID from the school you’re currently attending. Credit cards, employee ID cards, birth certificates, social security cards and other forms of electronic documents will not be accepted as identification cards.
Pencils and Erasers
This seems obvious, but be sure to bring at least two #2 wooden pencils and an eraser that works well. No other writing utensils will be allowed. You won't be allowed to use highlighters, pens or liquid paper, even if you’re taking the SAT with the essay portion. Wooden pencils, and only pencils, are allowed on the test, so keep your mechanical pencils at home. The good news is, you’re also permitted to bring a small, handheld pencil sharpener, so you won't have to worry about wearing down those points while writing.
An Approved Calculator
Yes, you’re allowed to use a calculator on the SAT, but it has to be a graphic/scientific calculator from a specific list of SAT-approved calculators. You will not be allowed to share a calculator with another test-taker, and they are not provided at the test center, so make sure you bring your own. Calculators that make noise, use Bluetooth or can access the Internet in any way will not be accepted at the testing center. This includes smart phones, cell phones, tablets or any calculator that comes with a stylus.
In addition, make sure you bring a calculator with which you’re already familiar. Test day is not the time to learn the workings of a brand-new calculator. If you don’t own one, ask to borrow one from a friend well in advance of the test, so that you can practice using it. Finally, bring extra batteries for your calculator, even if you just added fresh batteries this morning.
Snacks and Drinks
The SAT is four hours long. You get two breaks during the test, so you’ll want to make sure you use those breaks to recharge with a healthy snack and some water. They’ll have to stay in your bag in a locker during the test, but you'll definitely want to add snacks to your SAT checklist.
Of course, before you even arrive at the testing center, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast to get you through the first part of the morning. Moreover, consider bringing a pack of chewing gum, as studies show that chewing gum during tests can actually help to improve concentration. Just be sure you don't annoy your fellow test-takers by chewing loudly or cracking bubbles.
Your SAT day test center may not have a visible clock, so bring a watch with you. Make sure audible alarms are turned off on your watch. Please note that smart watches, like the Apple Watch, are considered "wearable devices" and are prohibited in the testing center, so you'll want to make sure you wear a standard digital or mechanical watch.
Finally, you’re going to be sitting for a long time, so make sure you’re dressed in comfortable clothing. Since you never know what the temperature will be like in the testing center, you’ll want to dress in layers, so that you can easily adjust what you’re wearing in case you’re too hot or too cold.
Don't forget about your hair. If you have long hair or bangs that sweep into your line of vision, consider bringing a hair tie or headband so that you’re not constantly pushing your hair out of your face. You don’t need to be runway-ready; you need to be comfortable. This doesn’t mean that you should show up looking like you just rolled out of bed. Combing your hair and putting on comfortable clothes can help you feel more put together, which can prepare your mindset for test-taking.
Jennifer Brozak earned her state teaching certificate in Secondary English and Communications from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Pittsburgh. A former high school English teacher, Jennifer enjoys writing articles about parenting and education and has contributed to Reader's Digest, Mamapedia, Shmoop and more.