by Catherine Tierney
This weekend and next weekend, hundreds of thousands of high school students will take the SAT or ACT. The December test is one of the most popular test dates. For many juniors, this is their first stab at the official test. For many seniors, this is the last test they will take before submitting their final college applications.
Most students prepare for these tests for months. If you’ve taken practice tests, reviewed all the math and English rules, and settled on a strategy for each section, you are ready to achieve your highest score yet! To make test day as stress-free as possible, there are a few things to take care of before you head to the testing center.
In the week leading up to the test
- Visit your testing center. Some students test at their high school. Many others test elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with your test site, it is a good idea to visit it before the morning of your test. Make sure you know where the parking lot is and how to enter the building. You don’t want to worry about getting lost or turned around in the hours leading up to your test.
- Print your admissions ticket. Don’t wait until the night before to do this! Believe it or not, you won’t be let it without it, even if your printer breaks.
- Locate your ID. Both the SAT and ACT require a photo ID to enter the test site. They will accept a government-issued ID like a drivers license or passport, but also a school ID. The school ID must be a hard plastic format, not paper or electronic.
- Buy extra batteries. Test centers do not supply extra batteries. Bring an extra set even if you are sure that your calculator has enough battery. Some students even bring an extra calculator. This might be overkill, but if you have an extra one, it’s not a bad idea.
The morning of the test
- Leave with at least a half hour to spare. It is always good to leave earlier than you think. Leave time to account for road closures, slow traffic or car trouble. Better safe than sorry.
- Turn off the sound on your watch. We suggest bringing a digital watch so you can pace yourself through the test. However, if your watch beeps, you will be thrown out of the testing center. Make sure that any sound features are turned completely off.
Bring snacks. Both the SAT and ACT have a break. While you cannot eat inside the testing room, you can eat or drink outside in the hallway. Make sure you have a bottle of water and a portable snack like a granola or protein