What You Can and Cannot Bring to the SAT

By Geraldine Woods, Ron Woldoff

There’s nothing worse than arriving for an exam, and realizing that you’ve forgotten something important, or brought something you should have left at home. Before the SAT, make sure you meet the following guidelines:

  • Admission ticket for the SAT. Don’t leave home without it! If you registered online, print out the ticket. If you registered by mail or phone, check with the College Board a week or so before the test if your ticket still hasn’t arrived. You can’t get in just by swearing that you “have the ticket at home on top of the TV, really.”

  • Photo identification. The SAT accepts drivers’ licenses, school IDs, passports, or other official documents that include your picture. The SAT doesn’t accept Social Security cards or library cards. If you’re not sure what to bring, ask your school counselor or check the College Board website.

  • No. 2 pencils. Don’t guess. Look for the No. 2 on the side of the pencil. Take at least three or four sharpened pencils with you. Be sure the pencils have usable erasers or bring one of those cute pink rubber erasers you used in elementary school.

  • Calculator. Bringing a calculator is optional but recommended. You don’t absolutely need a calculator to take the SAT, but it does help on some questions. A four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator is acceptable. The day before the exam, make sure the batteries in your calculator work. Anything with a keyboard (a mini-computer, in other words), a phone, or an iPad is barred, as are other tablets or any device that uses a stylus to input information. Also banned is anything that needs to be plugged in or that makes noise.

  • Handkerchief or tissues. Experienced test-takers know that absolutely nothing is more annoying than a continuous drip or sniffle. Blow your nose and do the rest of the room — and yourself — a favor!

  • Snacks. Bring some healthy snacks (some trail mix, cheese, or other non-candy items) in your backpack. You can eat them during your rest breaks.

  • Watch. Yes, they still make watches, and no, you can’t use your phone to check the time. Borrow a watch from somebody old enough to own one in case the wall clock is missing, broken, or out of your line of vision. Don’t bring one that beeps because the proctor may take it away if it disturbs other test-takers.

After you arrive at the test center, take out what you need and stow the rest of the stuff in a backpack under your seat.

You’re not allowed to bring a phone, camera, computer, or tablet to the testing room. Nor can you bring scrap paper, books, and other school supplies (rulers, compasses, highlighters, and so on). Leave these items behind. Also, no portable music devices. If your “watch” is one of those new, wearable computers, leave it home!