July 9, 2019

SAT test-day Dos

Everyone reacts to the SAT test-day differently. Some test-takers are calm while others can be a nervous wreck.

It doesn’t matter which of these students you are because if you get some basic things wrong on SAT test-day, you will probably end up having a panic attack.

Truth be told nobody recovers from forgetting their SAT admission ticket at home and realizing that 5 minutes before the exam commences.

But why give everything up to chance?

There are a few basic things that all students should make sure they pack in their backpack well before they are supposed to leave for their SAT test center.

SAT admission ticket

It is quite obvious that you would need to carry your SAT admission ticket to the exam hall. But obvious things are also the easiest to forget. One suggestion would be to print out your SAT admission ticket as soon as you receive it and save it in a folder along with your other SAT related documents.

This way, you won’t have to worry about it slipping your mind. A lot of people have printers at home and thus printing out the ticket right before the exam would also be fine in case you forget.

But what if your printer fails on you. Or what if you don’t have a printer. You can’t take the risk of remembering about printing the tickets only when it’s too late.

Having extra copies would cost you not much but will save you a lot of mental stress.

Photo ID

The college board is very specific and clear about the kind of Photo ID they require you to carry to the SAT Test-center. You will not be allowed to enter the exam hall based solely on your admit ticket and must carry a Photo ID that meets the College Board’s requirements.

According to the College Board:

ID documents must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be a valid (unexpired) photo ID that is government-issued or issued by the school that you currently attend. School IDs from the prior school year are valid through December of the current calendar year. (For example, school IDs from 2015-16 can be used through December 31, 2016.)
  • Be an original, physical document (not photocopied or electronic).
  • Bear your full, legal name exactly as it appears on your SAT admission ticket, including the order of the names.
  • Bear a recent recognizable photograph that clearly matches both your appearance on test day and the photo on your SAT admission ticket.
  • Be in good condition, with clearly legible English language text and a clearly visible photograph.



Even if you’re taking the online form of the SAT, you will need some stationary for any rough work that you perform. Thus, carrying at two pencils, a sharpener, and an eraser would be a smart idea.

A calculator

The best part about SAT calculators is that unlike most standardized tests, they do not band Scientific or Graphing calculators.

However, SAT does not allow any calculators that are apps, make sound, or require electrical outlets or such. So basically, don’t take your phone to your exam is what they’re trying to tell you. Taking extra batteries for your calculator will save you the pain if it suddenly decides to die in the middle of your test.

A watch and some snacks

A watch is a handy tool as it can help you keep yourself in check and on schedule throughout the test. But don’t take your smart watch with you. This might have worked in school tests and in 2005, but invigilators will have you remove any devices that could possibly help you cheat at the door.

Taking a snack for your break is also just another optional thing like the watch, hence paired alongside it.

An empty stomach can be much more unnerving that you might think, especially in pressuring situations. Thus, having a snack to really distract yourself during the breaks will give you a good distraction from the stress of the exam.


SAT Test-Day checklist

Now you know what to take along with you for the test, but how should your morning look like on SAT test-day? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Check your belongings

The first thing you should do on waking up should be checking the bag you had prepared with all the aforementioned things. This bag should be prepared the night before the SAT, and the morning should just be a recheck.

Have a hearty meal

An empty stomach will be the most distracting thing you’ve ever felt when giving your SAT. The test is 3 hours long and 3 hours 50 minutes with the essay, going hungry for the entirety of it will make you loose focus, and that’s the last thing you want to do while taking your SAT.

Take a shower

I’m not concerned with your hygiene, but if this point is too absurd for you maybe someone should be.

Anyway, taking a shower is to calm you down before the test. You won’t have long enough before your SAT to take a bubble bath with some Bath and Bodyworks candles, but trust me when I say this, a shower will help calm you down.

Also, the low temperatures of a cold shower increase oxygen intake and heart rate to release blood through the body, making you wide awake and ready for your SAT.

Test your calculator

Something not many students have learnt to do before tests is testing their calculator. Sometimes calculators, especially old ones, tend to miscalculate or have their batteries die down randomly.

For someone already under the pressure of taking the SAT, this is just an added stress which can be avoided by following a simple step of checking the calculator before leaving your house on test-day.


If you’re prepared for the test with all the things that you could possibly nee during it, the chances of you panicking and then maybe even loosing your focus on test will be much lower than if you hadn’t.

While prepping for your SAT, also see our guides:

How to score a perfect 800 on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section on SAT

How to score a perfect 800 on the SAT Math section

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