Know Before You Go – Night Before and Day of ACT/SAT Tips

Is your ACT or SAT test date coming up? It’s important to know how to prepare, what to expect, and what to bring (and what you shouldn’t bring!). Here are some must-know facts that will relieve some of the stress of taking either of the standardized tests.

What Should You Do the Night Before the ACT or SAT?

The night before the SAT or ACT is no doubt stressful! You’re likely going to want to go over your notes, study guides, and practice tests, but that may actually do more harm than good. Cramming the night before will not benefit you either. You should have already done all your studying so you’re well prepared before your test date. So the night before, take some time and RELAX!

Take the evening for you. Read a book, hang with friends, eat a good meal, and do what you normally do to unwind. Gather the things you’ll need to take the exam in the morning and think about what you’ll have for breakfast. And make sure you get good, restful sleep the night before your standardized tests.

What Should You Bring to Your ACT or SAT?

You will need a few things with you when you sit for either the ACT or SAT.

Bring this:

  • Admission ticket
  • Face mask. The rules surrounding face masks are constantly changing, so be sure to check in with the exam to see if it’s required.
  • One acceptable photo ID which could include
    •  Government issued driver’s license
    • Non-driver ID card
    • School produced student ID card from your current school
    • Government issued passport
  • At least two Number 2 pencils (mechanical pencils and pens are not allowed)
  • Erasers
  • Pencil sharpener
  • An approved calculator (check each test’s website for a list of approved and banned calculators)
  • You may want to bring an extra approved calculator in case something is wrong with yours or the battery dies
  • Prescribed medications needed, including EpiPens
  • Snacks and a drink (note: you can’t have these out during the test; they’re for your break!)
  • A watch
  • Alarms should be turned off

There are a few items that aren’t allowed in the testing area and should be kept at home, left in your vehicle, or turned completely off (not just silenced) in your bag.

Don’t bring this:

  • Recording devices
  • Smart watches
  • Laptops
  • Phones

If you are caught using one of these devices during the exam or an alarm goes off, you will be dismissed from the test area. You should only have your calculator out during appropriate parts of the test.

What to Expect on Your Test Day

Plan to be at your test center 30 minutes prior to the start of the test. When you arrive, you will be asked to produce your admission ticket and photo ID. Once you’re verified, you will be allowed into the exam.

The ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes without writing and 3 hours and 30 minutes with. You will be given a break after the English and Math sections and have an additional break if you opted for the writing portion.

The SAT is 3 hours and 15 minutes long. You will receive a break between the Reading portion and the Writing portion, as well as one between the two portions of the math test. The essay of the SAT has been discontinued.

Preparation for your SAT or ACT exam should never happen the night before. Knowing fully what to expect before heading to your test center can help ensure you’re as ready as you can be!

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