May 15, 2019

5 Things to Expect on ACT/SAT Test Day

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So the big day is finally here—it’s your ACT or SAT test day! You’ve done everything possible to prepare. Registration is in the rearview mirror, planning is a thing of the past, your study hours are spent. And now it’s “go time.” Congratulations. It’s a big day!

Before you head to the test center to display your brilliance, we want to help you one more time. Here are five things you can expect on ACT and SAT test day . . .

Getting Nervous

Don’t be surprised if you feel a little nervous on test day. After all, you’re human, aren’t you? If you feel some jitters the morning of, don’t panic—it’s natural. Stay focused, trust your preparation, do your best, and lean into what you’ve studied. The nerves go away quickly. You’re going to be great!

Getting Started (On Your Mark)

Doors open at 7:45am and close at 8:00am, so you’ll want to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to check in. The morning of the test, allow yourself space for a healthy breakfast and a stress-free drive to the testing center. We suggest you arrive a few minutes early. If you arrive late, you will not be permitted to take the ACT or SAT test that day.

Upon arrival, you’ll be required to show your admission ticket and a photo ID, so don’t forget to bring those with you. After you present your admission ticket and photo ID, you will be directed to your testing room. It’s almost time to begin!

Getting Settled (Get Set)

Upon entry to your testing room (your new home for the next 3-4 hours), you’ll find your seat and store your backpack, purse, or bag under the desk or in another designated area. You may be wondering, What items should be in my backpack, purse or bag? We’re glad you asked . . .

Must have items: Admission ticket, photo ID, No. 2 pencils (we suggest you bring at least five), an approved calculator (SAT test only).

Other recommended items: A jacket (in case you find yourself in a frosty room), a watch (cannot have an audible alarm), extra batteries for your calculator, a drink and snacks (for breaks only).

Once you and your fellow test-takers are all settled in, your proctor will pass out the testing materials and begin the dutiful task of reading instructions. It won’t be the most riveting prose you’ve ever heard, but stay engaged and pay attention—it’s important stuff.

The entire process (getting seated, placing your things away, test packet distribution, proctor instruction, and filling out your identifying information) should take somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour. Now it’s time for the fun stuff!

Getting Going (Go!)

The preliminaries are over; it’s time for the main event. Both the ACT test and the SAT test are comprised of timed sections. You’ll want to move through each section with purpose, careful not to run out of time.

The SAT test begins with a 65-minute Reading section. The Reading section is followed by a 10-minute break. (Aren’t you glad you brought those snacks?) After this first break, there is a 35-minute Writing and Language section and then a 25-minute Math No Calculator section. After the Math No Calculator section, you are given a second break (this one is only five minutes) before finishing up with a 55-minute Math section (calculators allowed!).

The ACT test is very similar in that there are timed sections and scheduled breaks. It begins with a 45-minute English section, followed by a 60-minute Math section (the ACT does not allow calculators). After the Math section, you will receive a five-minute break. After your break, a 35-minute Reading section will be administered and then a 35-minute Science section.

All told, with either test, you will have been testing for around three hours at this point. If you have chosen not to take the essay section, you have successfully completed your SAT or ACT test. The proctor will collect all the testing material, and you are free to leave. (Fist pumps are permitted, but please, no running in the halls.)

If you elected to take the essay section, you’ll get a short two-minute break before beginning this last section of the test. But after that, you’re all done. Congratulations, you did it! Pat yourself on the back and go join your fist-pumping, essay-wary friends.

Getting Out of There

Completing your ACT or SAT test is a big accomplishment. You can expect to feel a sense of relief that it’s over and a feeling of excitement that you are one step closer to getting into the college or university of your choice. You’ve worked hard, so ask a parent to take you out for dinner to celebrate. You can tell them it’s our idea. We’ve got your back!

It’s not too late to start preparing for your ACT and SAT tests. We can help! More than a million students worldwide trust UWorld with their exam prep because our practice questions, detailed explanations, performance tracking, and score predictors are unparalleled game-changers.

You know that dream score you have in mind for your ACT or SAT test? Check us out, and we’ll make it a reality together.  


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