If you are preparing for your SAT test, you probably want to know what to bring to SAT day.
You should always bring a photo ID and your admission ticket with you to your testing center. Once in the room, you will want to have a couple number 2 pencils and an approved calculator. Additionally, having a snack, water, extra batteries, and a watch can come in handy during the test.
We’ve all been there. SAT day is sometimes full of anxiety, but if you know the right things to bring, you’ll set yourself up for success. In this article we’ll provide you with the best SAT test day checklist to help alleviate your stress so you can focus- and breathe- easier
What to Bring to SAT
SAT test day is a day full of anxiety for most students- but it doesn’t have to be if you know what to expect. The first step is knowing what you should and shouldn’t bring to the SAT.
Here’s an easy SAT test day checklist for what you should bring:
- Acceptable photo ID
- Your test admission ticket
- An SAT approved calculator with extra batteries
- No. 2 pencils with a sharpener
- A snack and something to drink (Optional)
- Watch (Optional)
- A bag or backpack (Optional)
- EpiPen (Optional)
- Face Mask (Optional)
Acceptable Photo ID
Your ID is one half of your admission from the check in area to the testing room. To gain admittance inside, your ID must:
- Be a government issued ID
- Be the original, physical form- photocopied or electronic IDs are not allowed
- Feature your full name. Your legal name must match what your admission ticket says
- Have a clear, identifyable photograph of you
Your hard copy photo ID could be your driver’s license, a current school ID, or a passport. If you are taking the test at your school, using your school ID is likely the most convenient option.
Admission Ticket from College Board
You need a physical copy of your admission ticket when you arrive at the site. Print it the night before to avoid any stressful technical errors the morning of the test.
To print your admission ticket, log into your college board account and My SAT portal. To sign up for the exam, you will have had to create an account. Use the same login information from when you signed up.
Once on the website, you’ll find a drop down menu that says, “Print Admission Ticket.” That link will take you to a PDF of your ticket that you can print.
If you show up to the testing center with an electronic copy, they will turn you away.
SAT Approved Calculator
If you want to use a calculator for SAT test day, then you will have to bring your own. The testing center will not supply you with one.
Handheld, battery-operated models are acceptable calculators for the test. You can use a scientific calculator or a graphing calculator- just make sure that it is on the College Board list of approved models. Calculators that utilize a QWERTY keyboard, require a cord, have Bluetooth capabilities, use paper tape, or make noise are not accepted at the test center.
You can only use your calculator during approved sections of the math test. A portion of the test will involve a no-calculator zone. Your test proctor will tell you when you can start using the calculator. The calculator will not be allowed out during the language test.
Pro tip: Don’t use a brand new calculator for the test. You want a familiar one that you can work easily. It’s also a great idea to bring along a backup calculator or some spare batteries in case your calculator crashes during the exam. You will not have access to these items during the test, but you can ask your test administrator for them.
No. 2 Pencils
While we live in a world full of wonderful pencil options, the only approved pencil for the SAT testing room is the good old standard No. 2.
You cannot use mechanical pencils during the SAT test.
It’s a good idea to bring a couple No. 2 pencils with you to the testing room. Taking a pencil sharpener with you is another good idea- but always make sure your pencils are sharpened before the test starts. You do not want to waste time sharpening dull or broken pencils during the exam.
Make sure that your pencils have good, working erasers. Bring a back up eraser to the test as well.
While snacks are completely optional to bring to the SAT, they make a difference. The last thing you’ll want during the long test is a loud, rumbling stomach distracting you.
All test takers will get breaks at every site. You will get a ten minute break after the reading test and an additional five minute break after the writing and no-calculator portion of the math exam. A third break is provided before the essay portion for those that attempt it. During these times, it’s important to refuel.
You might think that sugar or carbs are the best way to go since they will give you a quick and satisfying energy boost- but that’s a bad idea. Sugary snacks result in a sugar crash that will defeat the purpose of refueling yourself for the next portion of the exam.
Instead, opt for healthy snacks. The best snacks will be high in protein and healthy fats, such as Omega 3. Some healthy snack options include:
- Celery with nut butter
- Veggie chips or corn chips with guac
- String cheese or Babybel cheese
- Fruit and nut bars
- Dried fruit
- Trail mix
Be sure to bring water to drink with you as well. Your testing center will likely have a water fountain- but there’s no telling how long the line will be for it. It’s best to bring your water bottle with you to stay properly hydrated.
However, you’ll want to avoid drinking too much water as you won’t get many bathroom breaks. Fighting the urge to pee is distracting during an exam.
A Watch (Optional)
While the proctor will keep track of time for you, it’s good to have a watch for yourself. This is especially helpful if you took practice exams with a watch or could see a clock. There is no guarantee that there will be a clock visible in your testing room.
Having a watch also helps you to pace yourself. You can see if you’ve spent too much time on a problem and should move on, or whether you can spare a few more minutes solving it.
Smart watches are prohibited. Instead, wear a simple digital or analog watch into the exam room. You should avoid watches that regularly make noise. Those will not only distract you but also your fellow examinees.
A Bag or Backpack (Optional)
Carrying around and keeping track of your personal items can add to the stress of the day. However, you are allowed to bring a backpack or bag to help you carry things.
You will not be able to access it during the exam. Not all testing rooms will allow the bag near you during the test either, but you can retrieve it during your break times.
Epinephrine Auto-Injector (Optional)
If you require an Epinephrine auto-injector, such as an EpiPen, you can bring it with you.
You will need to keep it in a clear, plastic bag and store it under your desk during testing.
Face Mask (Optional)
In this post-covid world, it seems mandates are always shifting and changing. There is always a new strain of covid/omicron. If cases are high in your area, some testing sites may require face masks.
You want to ensure your focus remains on the test, and not on the coughing test takers surrounding you. If you are worried and want to be safe- or feel ill and don’t want to pass any germs on, wearing a face mask can help you feel more secure and comfortable.
What Not to Bring to the SAT Test
Unapproved Stationary Items
Aside from the acceptable forms of entrance such as your ID and admissions ticket, you should not bring any paper with you. Leave all of your notes and reference sheets at home. Do not bring your own scratch paper, the testing center will provide it for you.
Do not bring highlighters, pens, mechanical pencils, or colored pencils with you on SAT test day.
Rulers and cutting devices, such as scissors, should also be left at home.
Here is a list of prohibited devices that you should not bring on SAT test day:
- Audio players
- Any Bluetooth devices
- Fitness tracker
- A smart watch
If your electronic devices make any sounds, or you are seen using any, the proctor will dismiss you from the exam. You won’t receive any test scores and you’ll have to sign up for another time to take the test.
You also cannot take separate timers for your test, such as a stopwatch or hourglass, but you are allowed to bring a regular watch.
Should I Take My Cell Phone on SAT Test Day?
You can bring your cell phone to the SAT, but you cannot use it during the time period. Staff administering the test will collect all devices and hold them for the duration of the exam- including break periods.
The decision is totally up to you. The testing centers are not responsible for cell phones that get lost.
If you want to take it with you to contact a ride after the test is over, make sure that you power it off. Keep it stored in your bag for the entirety of the time or give it to the proctor.
Preparing for SAT Test Day
Do not study the night before your test day. While this may sound counterproductive, trying to cram information can lead to burnout.
Studying the night before usually stresses test takers out. It can make you feel underprepared and overwork your brain, which results in difficulty focusing during the test.
Instead, trust that you have prepared yourself to the best of your ability and rest your brain.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for SAT success. A full night’s rest can set you up with an alert mind and sharp focus.
Try to go to bed early or at the same time as you usually do.
To make getting into bed easier, double check that you have everything you need for the test day. Make sure your bag is all packed and ready to go. Making an SAT checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything can help ease your anxiety for a full night’s sleep.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Wake up early enough that you can enjoy a good breakfast. You will want it to include delicious healthy fats and proteins- such as eggs or toast with nut butters.
The right breakfast will keep you focused and your stomach happy during the exam.
Follow Your Regular Routine
One of the best ways to curb anxiety is by keeping things normal. To help with your jitters before the test, follow your same routine. If you walk your pet every morning or drink a latte, do it. Don’t adjust anything as long as you can get to the testing site on time.
Laying out your outfit the night before can help remove additional stress from you the morning of the exam.
The exam will take three hours- so you will want a comfortable outfit. Wear loose fitting clothes that make you feel at ease and confident.
Bring a jacket or sweater testing rooms can have cold temperatures.
Leave Early to be On Time
You want to provide yourself enough time to get to the testing site without any problems.
The doors will close fifteen minutes before the exam. If you show up after that time, they will turn you away. So the best way not to be late is to be early.
Aim to show up no later than 7:40 am if your test starts at 8 am. Remember to calculate in extra time for traffic and other road delays.
What is Available at the Test Center?
Every test center will differ in what they have available. Some test centers will have pencils they can provide to students, but most will not.
You can always expect to find a water fountain of sorts at every test center. Though there is no guarantee that it will work.
Every testing center will provide you with the exams, an answer sheet, and scratch paper. The proctor will explain the exam process to you and give you basic information before you start.
We hope this article about what to bring to SAT day has helped alleviate some of your pre-SAT jitters. Keep your admissions ticket and hard copy school ID on you at all times during on the test date.
Remember that proper preparation is the first step to success. Stay healthy and focused by choosing good snacks and getting the right amount of sleep the night before.