With the stress of preparing for your test, getting there on time, and acing it, it can be easy to overlook what to bring to the ACT. To ensure you have everything you need to write the ACT, this guide will go over what you should and shouldn’t bring on test day!
Your admission ticket: ensure you print a copy of your admission ticket before heading to the test center to avoid any delays
Acceptable photo identification: you will not be admitted to the test center unless you bring a photo ID with you
Optional masks: masks are no longer required at most test centers, but it’s recommended that you still wear one
Number 2 pencils: bring at least two sharpened Number 2 pencils with good erases to write with. You will not be permitted to write with any other materials, including mechanical pencils and pens. You will have the chance to sharpen your pencils during your break if need be
A watch: you can bring a timer, water, or stopwatch to ensure you pace yourself during your test, but it should not have an alarm. Your watch must remain on your desk, visible to staff during the test
A calculator: students should bring two permitted calculators that can be used on the mathematics test only. Bringing two ensures you have a backup in case any technical problems arise.
Snacks: to eat during your breaks
Water: to drink during your breaks
To ensure your photo ID will be accepted, check it against these criteria:
A current (valid and unexpired) government official ID issued by a city/state/federal government agency or your school
A hard, plastic card format. No paper, pictures, or electronic formats will be accepted
Your first and last name on your ID must match the names on your admission ticket
Any electronic device aside from permitted calculators and accepted timing devices
Tobacco in any form
Of course, you will not have access to your cell phones. While you can keep them on you, they must be out of sight, and you must follow these rules:
You cannot handle or access your cell phone at any time during your test or your breaks. You are also prohibited from using smartwatches, fitness bands, or other devices with internet, Wifi, recording, or communication capabilities
All devices must be turned off during the test, and breaks
If you access your device during the test or it activates an alarm, you will be dismissed, your test may not be scored, and your phone may be taken away
Double-check that you’ve turned off any alarms, silenced your phone, and turned it off before you enter the test center. If you can, you should avoid bringing it into the test center completely to prevent any mishaps.
As part of the agreement you sign during the registration process, you acknowledge the test center’s right to cancel your test or scores if you fail to follow any of these regulations.
FAQs: Things to Bring to the ACT
What should a student bring to the ACT test? How much time does the ACT exam require? These are just some of the questions students have. Keep reading to learn all about what to bring to the ACT, and what to expect.
1. Can I Bring a Water Bottle to the ACT?
Yes, you can bring a water bottle to the ACT but will have to leave it in your backpack during the test. You will only be allowed to drink from it during your break(s).
2. Should I Bring Snacks to the ACT?
Considering you’ll need to arrive at your ACT test center by 8:00 am, you’ll likely skip breakfast, either because of nerves or to make sure you get to the center on time. The exam will be three to three-and-a-half hours long, so bringing snacks can prevent your hunger from distracting you during your exam!
3. Can I Bring a Calculator to the ACT?
Yes, you may bring a permitted calculator to the ACT. Computer-based testing centers typically have on-screen calculators that you can use, but you may bring one or two of your own calculators as well.
There are certain calculators you are prohibited from bringing and simple modifications you must make to your calculators if they have certain functions:
Calculators that can hold programs: remove all programs that have computer algebra system functionality
Calculators that make noise: turn off the sound
Calculators with power cords: remove all power/electrical cords
Calculators with an infrared data port: completely cover the infrared data port with duct tape or electrician’s tape
Calculators with paper tape: remove the tape
If you’d like to bring extra batteries for your calculator to avoid any issues, you are permitted to do so.
4. Can I Bring My Cell Phone to the ACT?
While you can bring your cell phone to the ACT as long as it is off, out of sight, and silent, you should avoid bringing it into the test center if you can. You won’t be able to use it during your breaks anyway, so there is no point having it!
5. How Many Breaks Will I Get During the ACT?
You will get one ten-minute break once you’ve completed the English and Math sections of the ACT. If you’re also writing the optional essay, you will receive a five-minute break before the writing section.
6. How Long Does the ACT Test Take?
The ACT takes about 3 hours to complete, including a short break. If you opt for the essay (the ACT Plus Writing), expect it to last around 3 hours and 40 minutes, including breaks.
7. How Many Breaks Are Given During Test?
During the test, you'll have one ten-minute break after the Reading section and another five-minute break after the multiple-choice sections. If your exam starts around 7:45 AM, expect to finish between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM, depending on whether you take the optional essay.
Create a checklist for yourself of what to bring to the ACT and go over it the night before your test. Pick a comfortable outfit, have all of your snacks packed, your pencils sharpened, and your admission ticket printed so you can start your test on the right foot, without any hassle!
Good luck on your exam!
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