ACT Test Day

How long will I be at the ACT testing center?

Students are required to be seated within the testing center by 8 a.m. You should plan to arrive 20-30 minutes early. Latecomers are NOT accommodated! Once each student is registered and seated, the exam will begin. Individual testing rooms may differ slightly from others within the same building. Students are typically dismissed between 12 and 12:15. If you are taking the optional Writing exam, plan to be at the testing center until 1 p.m.

What do I have to bring to the ACT testing center?

  • Your test center admission ticket. You can print this from the ACT website if you are registered with a student account. If you did not register online, you would have received the ticket through the mail.
  • Acceptable identification. (see below)
  • Sharpened soft lead No. 2 pencils with good erasers. NO mechanical pencils, pens, or highlighters.
  • A wristwatch with which to pace yourself. Cell phones will not be permitted. The supervisor will announce when there are five minutes remaining to each portion of the test.
  • A permitted calculator. (see below for more information on acceptable calculators)
  • Snacks or drinks to consume during the test are acceptable.

The following items are prohibited:

  • books, dictionaries, scrap paper, or other aids
  • highlighters, pens, colored pencils, or correction fluid/tape
  • any electronic device other than a permitted calculator (iPad, laptop, cell phone, phaser, iPod, etc.)
  • reading material
  • tobacco or alcohol
  • guns, bombs, cats

What is considered acceptable identification?

  • Current (valid) official photo ID: Must be issued by your school or city/state/federal government (such as driver’s license or passport) on which both your name and photo appear
  • Letter of identification issued from your school
  • High school transcript with photo issued from your school
  • Notarized statement from school
  • Recent published individual photo

What is considered an acceptable calculator?

Permitted Calculators
You may use any four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator, unless it has features described in the Prohibited Calculators list. For models on the Calculators Permitted with Modification list, you will be required to modify some of the calculator’s features.

Prohibited Calculators
The following types of calculators are prohibited:

  • calculators with built-in computer algebra systems including:
    • Texas Instruments: All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92 and the TI-Nspire CAS (TI-Nspire non-CAS is permitted.)
    • Hewlett-Packard: HP 48GII and all model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G
    • Casio: Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad 300 and ClassPad 330, and all model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G
  • handheld, tablet, or laptop computers, including PDAs
  • electronic writing pads or pen-input devices
  • calculators built into cell phones or any other electronic communication devices
  • calculators with a typewriter keypad

Calculators Permitted with Modification
The following types of calculators are permitted, but only after they are modified as noted:

  • calculators with paper tape — Remove the tape.
  • calculators that make noise — Turn off the sound.
  • calculators with an infrared data port — completely cover the infrared data port with heavy opaque material such as duct tape or electrician’s tape (includes Hewlett-Packard HP 38G series, HP 39G series, and HP 48G).
  • calculators that have power cords — Remove all power/electrical cords.

Can I choose where to sit?

You will be assigned a place to sit by the test administrator. However, if you have a special request or consideration, you can let the test administrator know and they will generally try to accommodate your need within reason.

What if I need to leave the room?

You will be given a break between the Mathematics and Reading section, and before the optional Writing section. If you must leave the room at a time other than this, you must let the test administrator know. You will be asked to leave everything at your desk except for your identification. The test administrator has the right to deny your request for a break at his/her discretion.

Can I be dismissed from the ACT testing site?

Yes, if you break any of the rules or instructions given by the test administrator. Also, any evidence or suspicion of cheating will be dealt with severely and will result in a voided test and dismissal without refunding of fees.

What should I wear?

You should wear comfortable clothing. Dress in layers in case you become too warm or cold during the exam.

What should I do the morning of the exam?

Be sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before. Last minute cramming will not do any good at that point! Being well-rested will be much more important. You should have a moderate breakfast and drink water. However, you should avoid eating or drinking anything that might make you need to use the restroom too frequently during the test. What you eat can affect your brain and therefore your performance on the ACT. Read this page on what to eat before an exam to find out which food can help and which cause harm.

I have test anxiety. What can I do?

There are many things that people can do to calm themselves before a test. Take deep breaths and picture yourself being a success! If you have properly prepared for the exam, there is nothing to worry about. You can also arrive at the testing center extra early and bring all of the required documents so that everything will go smoothly. Consult this list of tips on fighting test anxiety.

Many people may do light and relaxing physical activities before the exam, such as taking a walk or doing some yoga. Other students may pray or meditate in order to center themselves.

Although the ACT is an important test, it is still just a test. The worst thing that could happen is that you have to re-take the exam… but again, if you follow our tips, this will not be a problem!

Ask a Question