When you’re preparing to take the SAT, a pretty common question people ask us is what to bring to the actual test. Thankfully, we have a pretty straightforward answer that will allow you to show up to test day with confidence that you have the things you need to do well on this test.
Still prepping for the SAT? Check out these free official SAT practice tests.
What To Bring to the SAT: The 4 “Must-Haves”
There are only a handful of items that are required to enter and take the SAT successfully. This list does not detail everything allowed into the testing center, but is the minimum of what to bring to the SAT:
1. Admission Ticket
You must present a paper copy of your admission ticket when entering the test center. This can be a print out of your ticket that you can do from home. Although we’re living in a digital world, the SAT testing centers will not allow any digital version to be used for admission. For example, if you pull up your admission ticket on your iPhone or tablet, this will not be accepted.
To print your admission ticket, simply log into your College Board account and click “Print Admission Ticket.”
2. Photo Identification
Some accepted photo ids include driver’s license, passport, military ID, or national ID. Please note that these ids must not be expired. You could also use your current school ID card or a student ID form, which can be found here.
Keep in mind that the photo ID that you present needs to resemble the picture that you uploaded to the College Board website upon registration for the SAT.
This list is pretty exhaustive of what is allowed as a photo ID to enter the SAT test.
Here are some photo ID examples that are not permissible:
- Employee ID card
- Credit or debit card
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Temporary ID card
3. Two #2 Pencils
This is as straightforward as it gets. Nothing else is allowed besides two #2 pencils. No other writing utensils are allowed, even if you are writing the essay. Double check that the pencils have adequate, working erasers or bring another eraser along.
4. Approved SAT Calculator
The SAT has a math calculator section that allows approved calculator use. Acceptable calculators include scientific calculators and some graphing calculators. Consider starting with our list of the best calculators for the SAT that are approved for use.
What to Bring to the SAT: The 5 “Nice-To-Haves”
These are items that are not necessary to be successful on the SAT, but are nice to have as an extra measure or precaution. Here are some of the “nice-to-haves” in what to bring to the SAT:
1. Extra #2 pencils
Two #2 pencils should be enough, but if you feel better bringing some extra sharpened #2 pencils, they are allowed into the testing center and can help put you at ease.
2. Extra calculator battery
A day or two before you bring your SAT calculator into the test, you should put new batteries into the calculator and double-check that it works. But, to be on the safe side, we recommend packing an extra battery for your SAT in case something goes wrong.
3. Snacks & drinks
You can’t bring snacks and drinks with you to your desk while testing, but oftentimes you can leave them in your locker or at the test admin’s desk. You will be able to access these goodies during the breaks to be consumed outside of the testing site. Some good snack ideas include nuts, fruit, and granola. When it comes to beverages, steer clear of anything high in sugar to avoid a crash during the test.
4. A watch
Watches are great for keeping track of the time on the test, but you need to be sure that your watch will not make any noises during the test such as beeps or an alarm.
What You Cannot Bring into the SAT
Try not to bring anything on this list into the SAT or you may be kicked out:
- audio recorders
- cheat sheets
What to Expect on SAT Test Day
Arriving to the Test Center
When you get to the test center, there will be a check-in area. This is where you will need to present an acceptable ID as well as a copy of your admissions ticket.
Related: Is the SAT Hard?
Finding your Seat
When you check in, the administrator will likely assign you a testing room. Once you get to the room, you and the other students can find a seat and will have a few minutes to just settle in. The administrator will introduce him or herself, he/she will read the rules and testing guidelines. Your desk should be cleared off (except for pencils and calculator) and you will receive your testing book and answers sheet. Some basic questions will then be filled out on your answer sheet as directed.
Begin the Test
The SAT is taken section-by-section. You will need to wait until the administrator says to begin the test. You are only able to use this time to work on the section assigned and cannot look ahead into the test booklet or work on other questions.
You will get two breaks during the SAT test. The first break will be after the 65-minute Reading test. This break is only ten minutes in length and can be used to eat your snacks or use the restroom. The second break is after you finished the Writing & Language Test as well as the first section of the Math test. This break is only 5 minutes long. If you are taking the Optional Essay, you will have one more break, but it’s only 2 minutes.
Once You’ve Finished the Test
As time is called for the test, the room supervisor will collect all the SAT test books and answer sheets. You will wait until dismissed and then are free to go and enjoy the rest of your afternoon!
Getting Your Scores
It may take several weeks to receive your test scores. When they are posted online, you will get an email saying that they are ready to view. Once you view your scores, you will have the option to send these score reports to your colleges of choice. This, of course, comes with a cost if you wait until scores are posted. You only have up to 9 days after taking the SAT to select 4 colleges to send your score reports to for free. If you feel you did well on the SAT, you should take advantage of this free service!
Wrapping It Up
Now that you know what to bring to the SAT as well as what you should expect on test day, you can focus on your studies and reaching the highest score possible. If you are looking for more resources and tips, check out our SAT prep page.