What to Bring to the SAT and What Not to Bring (2023)

What to Bring to the SAT and What Not to Bring (1)

After months of planning and prepping, test day is finally upon you! What exactly do you need to bring to the SAT—and what should you just leave home?

We’ll talk about what to bring to the SAT for certain and some not so obvious things that might come in handy. Make sure your bag is packed and ready to go so you can focus on performing your best—and not on tracking down a pencil sharpener!

What to Bring on SAT Day: The 4 Essentials

First things first: what must you bring to the SAT? Here are the four essentials you cannot afford to forget on test day:

#1: Admission Ticket

You must print out your admission ticket and bring it to the testing center. A paper copy of your ticket is 100% necessary for admission—you can't show it on your cell phone, tablet, etc.

To print it out, log into your College Board account and click on "Print Admission Ticket."

#2: Photo ID

Your photo ID should resemble the picture you uploaded to the College Board website when you registered for the SAT. Below is a list of acceptable and unacceptable forms of ID:

  • Unexpired government-issued IDs (e.g., driver’s license, passport, military ID, national ID, etc.)
  • Current school ID card
  • Student ID Form, if you don’t have any of the other forms; this form must be prepared by the school you currently attend or by a notary if you are home-schooled

Unacceptable IDs include IDs that are expired or damaged or do not match your College Board photo.

Some unacceptable forms of ID include the following:

(Video) What to Bring to the SAT®: The Best Items to Pack for Success!!

  • Credit or debit cards (even ones with photographs)
  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Employee ID cards
  • ChildFind ID cards
  • Other temporary ID cards

#3: At Least Two #2 Pencils and an Eraser

Pens, highlighters, liquid paper, or any other writing utensils are not allowed,not even for the essay (if you're taking the SAT with Essay). Check your erasers to make sure they work well.

#4: An Acceptable Calculator

You'll need to bring your own calculator for the Math Calculator section. Acceptable calculators include graphing and scientific calculators. A basic four-function calculator is also allowed but not recommended. Learn all about the uses and limitations of your calculatorwith our guide.

Unacceptable calculators and devices include the following:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Cell phones
  • Calculators that make noise or use a keyboard-like (QWERTY) keypad, an electrical outlet, or a paper tape

Basically, don’t bring anything that could be disruptive or has communication capabilities.

As long as you have these four items—your admission ticket, your ID, pencils/erasers, and an approved calculator—you should have no trouble being admitted into the SAT.

Now that you know things to bring to the SAT, let’s consider a few other materials that might help you out during the test.

Other Items You Might Want to Bring to the SAT

In addition to the four essentials, what other items can you bring to the SAT? Here are some of our recommendations for things that might come in handy on SAT test day:

  • Extra #2 pencils and a small handheld pencil sharpener. Since time is tight and talking is prohibited, you definitely don’t want to find yourself in the middle of the SAT with nothing to write with! So bring some backup writing utensils and a sharpener.
  • Extra batteries for your calculator, just in case. It’s also a good idea to put in new batteries the day or two before the SAT—and definitely make sure that your calculator works!
  • A drink and snacks for your breaks. These will likely have to stay in your bag, in a locker, or up at the test administrator’s desk and will have to be consumed outside of the testing room. The SAT is a long test; drinks and snacks will help you stay hydrated, energized, and focused.
  • A watch, as long as it doesn’t have any audible alarms or noises. If it'll help you keep track of time, bring one along. If you just find it distracting, though, leave it at home!

These extras and backup materials might prove helpful the day of the SAT. Now, whatshould you definitely not bring on SAT test day?

What to Bring to the SAT and What Not to Bring (2)

What NOT to Bring to the SAT

There are lots of prohibited items when it comes to SAT test day. We’ll list a few below, butyour best bet is to avoid bringing anything that’s not recommended on the above lists:

(Video) What to Bring on Digital SAT Test Day

  • Any other technology besides your calculator, especially anything with communication or recording capabilities. This means no cell phones, laptops, tablets, timers, cameras, or audio recorders. The College Board takes security very seriously, as you can tell from these high-profile cheating scandals.
  • Any other notes,cheat sheets, dictionaries, translators, books, or papers.

To reiterate, if you must bring your cell phone, turn it off well before the test. If it beeps even just once, your proctor will confiscate it and cancel your test immediately.

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What to Bring to the SAT and What Not to Bring (3)

Getting Ready for SAT Test Day: 5 Key Tips

Now that you know exactly what to bring (and not bring) to the SAT, how can you ensure that you are prepared to do your best on the test? Read on to learn how you can have a great SAT test day:

#1: Prepare Ahead of Time

Get all your materials gathered and packed the day before your test. You definitely don’t want to be scrambling in the morning trying to track down pencils and batteries for your calculator. This would cause a whole lot of unnecessary anxiety and could make you late (and therefore ineligible) for the test! So get everything taken care of at least the day before.

#2: Test Your Calculator

Before the SAT, check that your calculator is working properly. Test out the different functions, and put new batteries in it so that it won't have any chance of dying during the test!

#3: Print Out Multiple Copies of Your Admission Ticket

It's a good idea to print out a few copies of your SAT admission ticket, just in case. If you don’t have a printer, you can get this taken care of at school, your local library, or another printing center such as Staples. Remember that you will not be admitted on test day without this ticket.

As mentioned above,don’t wait until the morning of or late the night before the SAT to print out your ticket. It’s a strange and inexplicable rule of printers that they tend to malfunction right before a big test or due date. So print out two or three copies early and save yourself the hassle!

(Video) Test Day Logistics — what to bring to the SAT; the night before; 5th experimental section

#4: Practice Self-Care

Self-care is important in general but especially in the days leading up to the SAT.

The morning of the test, eat a healthy breakfast. Exercising the day before (and in general) might also aid in easing your stress levels and clearing your mind. Don’t underestimate the power of diet and exercise in feeling good and thinking clearly!

#5: Double-Check That You've Got Everything You Need

Finally, make a checklist and double-check your bag one last time before you head to your testing center. After all your preparation, your focus should be wholly on the SAT. By having all these materials taken care of, you'll be poised to perform your best!

What’s Next?

One of the biggest challenges of the SAT is to perform under strict time limits. Learn the best strategies for managing your time on the SAT,and get the rundown ofwhat to expect on test day.

The best test prep is customized to your individual strengths and goals. What SAT scores are you hoping to achieve? Define your target SAT scores by learning what good, bad, and excellent scores look like.

When do SAT scores come out? Learn all about when you can expect your scores.

Your test is coming up, and you don't want to have to take the SAT again. But want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

What to Bring to the SAT and What Not to Bring (4)

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What to Bring to the SAT and What Not to Bring (5)

Rebecca Safier

About the Author

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

(Video) What to Bring to the SAT: TEST DAY🅰️✅🅱️Tips and tricks [2021]

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What should you not bring to the SAT? ›

Don't bring any writing materials or objects besides your #2 pencils, eraser, and approved calculator. The College Board specified that you can't bring: protractors, compasses, rulers, highlighters, colored pens, or colored pencils.

What can I bring to take my SAT? ›

What to Bring on SAT Test Day
  • Face covering.
  • Your up-to-date admission ticket. (You need to print this out.)
  • Acceptable photo ID.
  • Two No. 2 pencils with erasers.
  • An approved calculator.
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors (like EpiPens) are permitted without the need for accommodations.

What to do on the SAT when you don't know the answer? ›

Guess the Answer

If you still can't find the answer, bubble in a guess. Never, ever leave a question blank—you won't be penalized for wrong answers, you just won't gain additional points. It's multiple-choice, so you've got a decent chance at guessing the right answer anyway.

Can you bring more than 2 pencils to the SAT? ›

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.

What is 10 questions wrong on the SAT? ›

If you miss 1-3 questions, you lose 10 points and score a 790. If you miss 10 questions, you can expect a Math section score in the 680-710 range. Missing 20 on this section would result in a score of around 600.

Is studying 2 hours a day enough for the SAT? ›

If you're a senior, then you have precious little time left to put in some serious SAT studying, so you'll just have to put all other commitments behind you and focus. An ideal study schedule includes two to three hours of test prep, every day of the week. Remember, this commitment is only for a few months.

Can you bring a water bottle to the SAT? ›

Water Bottle

While you can't bring your water bottle into the testing room, you should still bring one for the break, in case your testing center doesn't have drinking fountains.

Are water bottles allowed at SAT? ›

Food and Drinks.

Although you aren't allowed to consume these during the actual test, you can have them during the breaks. It's essential to stay hydrated and energized while testing, so a healthy snack and some water or an electrolyte drink are great options to bring on test day.

Do I bring a backpack to SAT? ›

A bag should absolutely be brought to the SAT and ACT! This can be a backpack, a purse, or a Ziploc bag. This will allow you to keep your snacks and personal items under your desk during the tests.

Should I guess B or C on the SAT? ›

When the College Board revised the SAT in 2016, they made it more like the ACT, which has never had a guessing penalty. At present, a wrong answer on either test does nothing to your score—it won't hurt it, but it can't help it either.

Is C usually the correct answer? ›

Myth 2: C is the best guess letter and is right more often than any other letter. C or H are right (and wrong) as often as any other answer choice. The only guess letter you don't want to use when you are completely guessing is E or K because they only show up on the math test.

Is C really the most common answer? ›

So, ultimately, guessing C (or any letter!) will give you the correct answer only a statistical 25% of the time (20% on the math section). Which means it's NOT true that choosing C will give you a better rate of success than choosing any other letter for your blind guessing.

Can students use the bathroom during the SAT? ›

The test is timed by section. You'll have breaks during the test when you can leave this room to have a snack or use the restroom. Your proctor will continue by saying: I'll also walk around the room every now and then to make sure everyone is working on the correct section.

Are pens not allowed in SAT? ›

Pens, highlighters, or mechanical or colored pencils. Books or references of any kind except as approved as an English language learner support for in-school administrations. Compasses, rulers, protractors, or cutting devices. Papers of any kind, including scratch paper.

Should I bring a pen to the SAT? ›

You will only be able to complete the test in No. 2 pencil, so don't bother bringing pens or any other types of writing utensil. Make sure that your pencils are sharpened, and have good erasers just in case you make any mistakes. Any errors need to be completely erased—otherwise your score might be affected.

What score is 1 wrong on SAT? ›

You'll get 1 point for each correct answer. There's no penalty for incorrect answers. Next, the College Board converts your raw scores for each SAT section — Math, Reading, and Writing and Language — into scaled test scores, which use a scale of 1-40.

How many questions can I get wrong to get a 1500 SAT? ›

So, start answering the questions which you find easy. To get 1500 SAT, you need to get at least 48 right out of 52 in the Reading section. 41 right out of 44 in the Language section and 55 right out of 58 in the Maths section.

How many questions can I miss on the SAT to get a 1100? ›

For Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, you can skip/answer incorrectly on average 9 questions on the writing portion and 12 questions on the reading portion. For Math, you can skip/answer incorrectly on average 17 questions between the calculator and no-calculator sections.

What is the best age to start preparing for the SAT? ›

Junior school: The 11th grade, also known as a junior school, is the best time when a student can start the preparation for the SAT exam. This is an age perfect to comprehend things precisely and learn things at a good pace.

What SAT score is required for Harvard? ›

Harvard University's SAT scores for admitted students range from 1480 - 1580, with an average score of 1530. Although SAT scores are optional, we recommend that students aim for a good SAT score of at least 1530 to be competitive in the admissions process at Harvard University.

How many hours of sleep should I get for the SAT? ›

You'll want to have at least eight hours of sleep before the exam. If you're someone who tends to need more than eight hours of sleep, then factor that requirement in. If you have a hard time getting to sleep, read before bed, just don't read up on test prep materials.

Is there a dress code for SAT? ›

Wear pants and a shirt that are loose, soft, and comfortable. Bring a jacket, too, in case it's chilly at the testing center.

Can you drink coffee during the SAT? ›

If you normally drink coffee or tea before school, it's okay to have your usual amount before the test. However, if it's not a normal part of your routine, don't try it out on test day. Caffeine can affect people differently, and you don't want to risk feeling sick or jittery.

Can I bring a pencil sharpener to the SAT? ›

Only your pencil, eraser, sharpeners, and SAT-approved calculators are allowed.

What time does SAT end? ›

So, the short answer: The SAT starts between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and typically ends around 12:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m., depending on whether you're writing the essay.

Can you have food during the SAT? ›

Breaks. For most students, there's one 10-minute and one 5-minute break during the test, the only times you can eat and drink.

Can you wear a hoodie in SAT? ›

Whether you're taking the test in the spring or fall, stick with simple, no-frills choice. If it's cool outside, go with sweatpants, a hoodie, and sneakers. If it's warmer, a loose pair of shorts and a soft tee shirt are the way to go.

Is there a clock in the SAT room? ›

So tip #1 – don't bring anything that could beep. The test rooms are supposed to have a clock, but you never know if it's going to work or if it's going to be in an awkward location where you have to turn around to look at it. Tip #2 – wear a watch (back to tip #1 – a silent watch will do the trick).

Where do I put my phone during SAT? ›

Your phone must be completely powered off and put away at the center. If your phone makes any noise, or you are seen using it at any time (including breaks), you may be dismissed immediately, your scores may be canceled, and the device may be confiscated.

Is 1150 a bad SAT score? ›

The average national SAT score is between 1050 and 1100 every year (on purpose), putting an 1150 at an above-average 67th percentile — that's a score to be proud of! It means that you scored higher than 67% of all other test takers.

What is the hardest section of the SAT? ›

Is the SAT Reading or Math section harder? It generally depends on a person and their subject skills, but most people find the SAT Math — No Calculator section more challenging.

Does GPA or SAT matter more? ›

There are several reasons that the SAT is considered a more valuable admissions tool than your GPA. The most obvious is that the SAT is a standardized test. While your GPA compares you to the rest of your school, your SAT score compares you to the rest of the country.

What is the most common answer on a test? ›

In true-false tests, true (T) answers are more common than false (F): according to Poundstone's analysis, on an average, 56% answers are T and 44% F. It's not hard to see why.

Is C the most common answer in multiple-choice? ›

Most people (and tutors) tell students that, if they have no idea on a question, to just guess answer choice “C” — the middle answer on most multiple choice tests.

Is it better to leave SAT questions blank? ›

Students will be awarded points for each correct answer with no points taken away for any incorrect ones. This is why never leaving an answer blank on your test is so important. You can only gain by taking a stab at the question. If you leave it blank, you will most certainly get it wrong.

Which C is the hardest? ›

C++ C++ is considered to be one of the most powerful, fastest, and toughest programming languages.

Which letter is most common on SAT? ›

Every answer choice on the SAT will have a statistically even distribution of 1 in 4 for each answer choice letter, A, B, C, or D. In other words? There is no most common answer on the SAT. Ultimately, guessing C (or any letter!) will give you the correct answer only a statistical 25% of the time.

What is the most common answer in multiple-choice? ›

True or False

The “True” or “False” questions are some of the most commonly used multiple-choice questions. It includes the stem (question or statement) and two answer options – True and False.

Can SAT detect cheating? ›

Even if you did actually cheat, the College Board and ACT won't tell colleges you're a cheater or ban you from retesting. If you're caught at the testing center, your test will be confiscated, and your score will be canceled if you finished your test. You'll be forced to take a paid retest.

Should I shower before my SAT? ›

Make sure you take a shower.

You want to be clean, fresh, and happy when you walk into your exam. Countless studies have shown that people who shower in the morning are more productive, more alert, happier, and less stressed. Even if you don't usually shower in the morning, you do today.

What should I do 24 hours before the SAT? ›

Try to take your mind off of the test by watching a movie, eating a good meal, or reading a book—whatever you do to help you relax and distract yourself from anxiety. Do go to bed at your normal time or earlier. Getting a good night's sleep will help you do well on the test.

What was Mark Zuckerberg SAT score? ›

Mark Zuckerberg.

The founder of Facebook scored the perfect 1600 on the SAT and attended Harvard University. There's no surprise there on the score or prestigious university!

What should I bring on SAT day? ›

What to Bring on SAT Test Day
  • Face covering.
  • Your up-to-date admission ticket. (You need to print this out.)
  • Acceptable photo ID.
  • Two No. 2 pencils with erasers.
  • An approved calculator.
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors (like EpiPens) are permitted without the need for accommodations.

Do you have to have wooden pencils for the SAT? ›

#2 Pencil: Mechanical pencils are not allowed, so bring several trusty wooden #2 pencils. *Perfect scorer tip: I like to sharpen my pencils to different levels so I can have a very sharp one for my essay as well as a more dull one for bubbling in multiple choice answers.

Do you get paper on the SAT? ›

Starting in fall 2023, all students taking the PSAT-related assessments will take the digital tests. SAT School Day and SAT weekend administrations in the U.S. will still be paper and pencil. Starting in spring 2024, all students will take the full SAT Suite of Assessments digitally.

Should you take the essay on the SAT? ›

Even though the SAT essay is completely optional now, you should absolutely consider taking it anyway! There are a few reasons for this. The most important one is that some colleges and universities still do require you to take the essay portion to apply.

Should I chew gum during the SAT? ›

Chew Gum. Just like listening to music, chewing gum has been found to boost your brainpower. It increases reaction times and helps with your studying. Keep a pack next to you while you're working through your next study hour for the SAT or ACT.

Can I bring my backpack to the SAT? ›

A bag should absolutely be brought to the SAT and ACT! This can be a backpack, a purse, or a Ziploc bag. This will allow you to keep your snacks and personal items under your desk during the tests.

What is the lucky color to wear for exams? ›

For good vibrations: Wear and be surrounded with bright colours, especially bright green, pink and yellow. All shades of red are also good.

What is the best color to wear for exams? ›

Blue represents intelligence, trustworthiness, calmness, logic, communication, efficiency, and thought. With so much symbolism, blue can be used in a multitude of beneficial ways. Wear blue on test days for a psychological boost.

Should I drink caffeine before the SAT? ›

If you normally drink coffee or tea before school, it's okay to have your usual amount before the test. However, if it's not a normal part of your routine, don't try it out on test day. Caffeine can affect people differently, and you don't want to risk feeling sick or jittery.

What time should I wake up for SAT? ›

Wake up 2 hours before your test.

It takes the human brain over 90 minutes to “boot up” completely, so make sure you're fully awake before taking the SAT or ACT. Set your alarms and have your parents wake you up as well.

What should I eat the morning of the SAT? ›

These protein-rich foods can lead to greater mental alertness. Healthy food choices on exam day include eggs, nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Good breakfast combinations might be whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, eggs and toast with jam, porridge, oatmeal, or sugar-free muesli.

What if I am sick on SAT test day? ›

If you feel sick the day of your test, please stay home. Contact Customer Service by the end of test day for a full refund. You won't be charged a change or cancellation fee if you stay home due to illness. Check your test center's website for any additional or specific entry requirements it may have.

Can I wear leggings to SAT? ›

When it comes to the SAT and ACT, it's best to strike a gentle balance: Try comfy bottoms like leggings or yoga pants and a solid-colored T-shirt with a sweater over it. Dress in layers to avoid getting too hot or too cold, and wear basic pieces so they don't get in your way as you tackle your exam.

Should I bring a snack to the SAT? ›

Snacks and water are not absolutely required to take the SAT, but can be a smart choice given how long the test takes. Students should bring snacks that are filled with protein to keep them satiated and full of energy.


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