Not sure what to bring to the SAT test date? Like any standardized test, the SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) has a fair number of rules and regulations for students on test day, including a list of permissible and prohibited items. It’s important to review what is required to bring to the SAT, what is allowed and what you’ll need to leave at home. In this blog, we’ll go over a checklist of items you’ll need to bring with you, items you may want to bring to the SAT and items you’re not able to bring with you, as well as what to expect for your SAT test day!

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What to Bring to the SAT: A Checklist for Test Day Mandatory Items to Bring to the SAT Optional Items to Bring to the SAT Prohibited Items to Bring to the SAT Tips for Preparing for Your SAT Day What to Expect on SAT Day? FAQs

What to Bring to the SAT: A Checklist for Test Day

 What should you bring on your SAT test date? How do you prepare for the day of your exam, and what are the things you should consider before taking the test?

 Taking the SAT is a challenge, and the lead up to test day can cause some anxiety in students as they prepare themselves. You might not be sure what to bring to the SAT, what is allowed or not allowed and what tools you can take with you to help you ace your test. Fortunately, we have a checklist of items you need to be aware of as you prepare for the SAT, and we’ll go over each one by one.

Next, we’ll cover the checklist of items you are required to bring to the SAT, items you should bring with you to help with your test and items that are prohibited and should be left at home.

Mandatory Items to Bring to the SAT

But first, your focus should be on the compulsory items to bring to the SAT. Wondering what items are mandatory to bring before you qualify for the test? Check below:

1. SAT Admission Ticket 

To show that you are registered for the test, you need your SAT admission ticket. You won’t be able to get into the testing room without it, so don’t forget it! You’ll need to print out your SAT admission ticket at home and bring it with you to the testing center on your test date. Be sure to check just before your test that your testing center hasn’t changed. If it has, you’ll need to reprint an updated admission ticket and bring it with you.

2. Two No. 2 Pencils with Erasers 

Writing an important test like SAT without the correct writing tools is unwise. You cannot afford to go to the test venue without the correct writing tools, so your priority should be making sure you have at least two No. 2 pencils with erasers. This is the approved tool by the College Board, which administers the SAT. No. 2 pencils are the only writing tool you’ll be allowed for a paper SAT exam, so don’t bring any ink pens or other type of pencils!

3. Approved Calculator 

Tools like calculators have always been helpful during tests and exams, and fortunately the SAT is one of such tests that allows the use of a calculator for some of the mathematics section of the test. You can also bring a backup calculator and some extra batteries in case your calculator runs out during your test. Note that you’ll need to keep your batteries or extra calculator stored off your desk in the test hall, and you’ll need to ask permission to use them from a test administrator during the test.

Are you wondering what calculator you can bring to your SAT? Check approved calculators to be sure yours will be permitted on test day.

4. Valid Photo ID 

 The College Board has provided approved forms of photo ID you can bring with you to your exam. All you need to do is bring any of these photo identification forms when you are coming for the SAT to confirm your identity. If you do not have one of the approved forms of photo ID, you may not be allowed into the exam room.

Remember that your ID needs to be valid, not expired or outdated, needs to include a photograph of you and your full name, and must be the original. Photos or photocopies of appropriate ID will NOT be considered valid.

Here are a few examples of valid ID for the SAT:

  • Government issued driver's license or non-driver ID card
  • Official school-produced student ID card from the school you currently attend
  • Government issued passport or U.S. Global Entry identification card
  • Government issued military or national identification card
  • SAT Student ID Form: must be prepared by the school you currently attend or a notary, if homeschooled

 Optional Items to Bring to the SAT

There are other items you can choose to bring to the SAT based on preference or that are “nice to haves”. You won’t be deprived of writing the test or sent home for not bringing these items, but it never hurts to bring them. The following are optional items to bring to a standardized test: 

1. Analog Watch 

Monitoring the time while you write a standardized test will keep you on track and help you manage your time best. It can be the saving grace you need to touch on every question or finish in time. So, of course, bringing a watch to the hall is always a great idea! The College Board doesn’t allow smartphones or smartwatches so you will have to settle for a wristwatch. As long as it fulfills the purpose of keeping up with time, you are good! 

2. Drink and Snack 

Bringing drinks and snacks to an exam hall is not something everyone would want to do. But if you are the type who gets easily uncomfortable from hunger, you might want to come into the hall with something to snack on, since the SAT is a long test! How long is the SAT? It’s a 3-hour test, so if you need a pick-me-up partway through, a water bottle or easy snack is a good thing to bring with you, and it is permitted.

3. Bag or backpack 

With the list of mandatory items, you need to bring for the SAT, and the optional items you would like to take along, it doesn’t make sense to come to the test center without a bag. With a bag, you can keep these items with you during your test. You’ll have to keep your bag or backpack stowed under your seat while you’re writing your test.

Prohibited Items – Things to Leave at Home When You Write SAT

To promote orderliness, and shun malpractice, there are items the College Board has prohibited for people who come for your SAT. Some of these items are: 

  • Mobile phones, smartwatches, fitness trackers, or other wearable technology (simple digital non-smartwatches or analog watches are acceptable)
  • Audio players or recorders, tablets, laptops, notebooks, Bluetooth devices (such as wireless earbuds/headphones), or any other personal computing devices
  • Separate timers of any type
  • Cameras or any other photographic equipment
  • Pens, highlighters, or mechanical or colored pencils
  • Books or references of any kind except as approved as an English language learner support for in-school administrations
  • Compasses, rulers, protractors, or cutting devices
  • Papers of any kind, including scratch paper
  • Earplugs
  • Unacceptable calculators that have computer-style (QWERTY) keyboards, use paper tape, make noise, or use a power cord
  • Weapons or firearms

Note that all of these items are not allowed in the SAT test hall, and you risk having your scores cancelled if you use them at any point during your test, even during breaks. If you bring an electronic device, such as a phone or a smartwatch, and it disrupts the testing conditions in any way (i.e. makes noise, an alarm goes off) or you are seen using it, the exam administrators may confiscate and inspect your device, and your scores may be nullified.

If you have a phone or watch on you that is prohibited, you’ll need to leave it outside the test hall and be sure to silence it to avoid disrupting other students taking the SAT with you.

Tips for Preparing for Your SAT Day

Here’s a few tips for how to pack your bag and ensure you have everything you need on the date of your test! 

What to Expect on SAT Day? 

All test-takers go to the exam hall with the hope that they will pass the test and make the list of the successful ones. Apart from this, which we can term the ultimate expectation, these are the other things you can expect to see when you go for SAT: 



1. What should I bring to the SAT?

There are only a few required items you can bring to the SAT. These include No. 2 pencils, a valid photo ID, your SAT admission ticket and an approved calculator. You can check the College Board website for full details.

2. What am I not allowed to bring to the SAT?

The list of prohibited items for the SAT include smartphones, smartwatches, recording or photographic equipment, unapproved calculators, scrap paper, highlighters and markers, and earplugs. Check the College Board website for full details on prohibited items.

3. Can I bring snacks or a water bottle to the SAT?

Yes, you can bring a drink or snack with you to your SAT test date, but keep in mind you’ll only be allowed to eat and drink during the timed breaks.

4. Can I bring a backpack to the SAT?

Yes; backpacks or bags with the permitted items can be brought to the SAT with you. You’ll just need to stow your bag or backpack under your seat during the exam and can access it only with permission or during breaks.

5. How many pencils can you bring to the SAT?

You can bring as many pencils as you like, provided they are No. 2, and not mechanical pencils. Bring at least two with you!

6. Can you bring your own device to the SAT?

College Board has started implementing a digital SAT option, meaning you can write the exam on your own laptop instead of with pen and paper. For the digital SAT, you can use your personal laptop, provided you install the proper software and complete the pre-test setup required.

7. What should I expect on SAT test day?

Expect to arrive a few minutes early to allow for setup and settling in. Your seat will be assigned, and the exam proctor will read through the instructions and explanation of the test before answering any questions about test procedure. You’ll also be given two breaks during the test (one 10-minute break and one 5-minute break). Once the exam time is up, you’ll give all your test materials to the exam proctor and be dismissed.

8. Can I bring more than one calculator to the SAT?

Yes, you’re allowed to bring a backup calculator and some extra batteries in case your primary calculator fails. You’ll need to request permission from the exam proctor to change batteries or calculator during the test.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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