You are so close to the top of this mountain!
You’re mere steps away from getting your best possible SAT score.
Make sure you have all the correct tools as you approach the summit of this particular college admissions peak. Standardized tests are one of the best resources to help you get into the school of your dreams and earn merit aid to help you with tuition.
Here are the absolute must-dos to prepare for the SAT on Friday night before and Saturday morning of testing, in order to put your best foot forward.
Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep before your exam.
Pack your bag the night before with all of the things you’ll need in the morning.
Eat a nutritious, filling breakfast before your exam.
Wake up earlier than usual to ensure you’re not adding stress to your day by running late.
Double-check one final time - before you walk out the door - that you have your admission ticket and ID to get in.
Read on for the complete list of both what you need and what you are allowed to have.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The list below applies to the current version of the SAT. This will change in a couple of years when the SAT transitions to being entirely digital, but for now, this is the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding being prepared for the SAT. To learn more about the upcoming digital format for anyone who will be testing in 2024 or beyond (though international students will be testing digitally starting in spring 2023 and the PSAT will be digital in fall 2023), go to this article.
The List Of What To Bring To The SAT
You will be allowed to have a bag with the things you need, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to reach into it without permission while the test is going on.
Here’s what your bag needs to be packed with:
A face covering
Your admission ticket (if you need to re-print it or make sure your testing location hasn’t changed, you can do so by logging into your college board account here)
ID (valid and original, they won’t accept a copy of an ID)
A silent watch (but nothing with an internet connection or an alarm that will go off - a smartwatch or anything that makes noise can get you dismissed and your test disqualified!)
Clothing layers (there’s no predicting what the temperature will be in your testing room, so be ready to adjust if necessary)
A calculator (scroll down for calculator rules)
Extra batteries for the calculator (just be aware, though, that you will have to ask for permission to access them during the test; don’t give the proctors an excuse to mistakenly think you might be cheating)
3 sharpened, non-mechanical, No. 2 pencils
A good eraser
Healthy snacks for the break (nothing with too much sugar - you don’t want your energy to crash before the test is done)
Dark chocolate for the break (good for the brain, good for an emotional boost - this test is a mental marathon!)
Bottled water for the break
What Calculators Are Allowed On The SAT
There is only one portion of the SAT when you may use a calculator, and it is both conveniently and unsurprisingly labeled “Math Test - Calculator.”
As part of your prep, be sure to practice in advance doing SAT math problems with the calculator you’re going to use (you don’t want to waste precious time during the test fighting with an unfamiliar tool) and look at the College Board’s calculator policy for the most up-to-date information regarding which calculators are allowed right now.
Otherwise, you additionally have three SAT sections to get through without a calculator:
Math Test - No Calculator
Writing and Language Test
For a more detailed breakdown of these different sections, please refer to this article that goes through exactly what is on the SAT.
What About After The SAT?
Once it’s over, do your best to relax. Let it go.
You can always take the SAT again if you really need to - but there’s nothing more you can do now and no SAT-related decisions you need to make until you get your scores back.
Go here for the list of release dates to know when you can expect to get your SAT scores back.
If it turns out that your score was truly abysmal, check out our online SAT prep course offerings to raise your score for the next round - including an option that can get you ready in as fast as four hours, for anyone who is pressed for time.
(Also if you’re wondering if your score was abysmal or not, here’s a quick guide to understanding what makes a good SAT score.)
If you need any help going over your testing results or advice regarding what to do next, our sister site March Consulting is an unparalleled resource for all things related to finding, getting into, and paying for your dream college education.
By the way, if you were looking for what to bring to the ACT instead, you can find that here.
If you still have an additional question that wasn’t covered above, we are an easy, quick email away, and we’d love to hear from you!