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Articles / Preparing for College / Checklist for ACT Test Day

April 22, 2021

Checklist for ACT Test Day

Checklist for ACT Test Day

What to Expect on Test Day

Good sleep? Check. Good breakfast? Check.

Review this ACT test day checklist and get ready to test.

Leaving the House

  • Dress comfortably. Some test centers are warmer or cooler on weekends than during the week. Consider dressing in layers, so you'll be comfortable no matter what the room conditions are.
  • Arrive by 8:00 a.m. If you're unsure where your test center is located, do a practice run to see how to get there and what time you'll need to leave. If you arrive earlier than 7:45 a.m., you might have to wait outside until testing staff complete their arrangements.
  • Bring snacks or drinks to consume outside the test room only during the break.

Arriving at the Test Center

  • Don't be late. Report to your assigned test center by the Reporting Time (usually 8:00 a.m.) listed on your ticket. You will NOT be admitted to test if you are late.
  • Bring proper identification. Testing staff will check your photo ID and ticket, admit you to your test room, direct you to a seat, and provide test materials. Be ready to begin testing after all examinees present at 8:00 a.m. are checked in and seated.
  • Testing staff may perform their duties with either an electronic device or paper materials. Both options allow staff to administer the test under the same standard conditions.

During the Test

  • Breaking the seal—once you break the seal on your test booklet, you cannot later request a Test Date Change, even if you do not complete all your tests.
  • A permitted calculator may be used on the mathematics test only. It is your responsibility to know whether your calculator is permitted. Please refer to the ACT Calculator Policy (PDF).
  • Do not engage in any prohibited behavior at the test center. If you do, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. For more details about prohibited behavior at the test center, please see Terms and Conditions (PDF). Note: During your registration process, you agree to the terms and conditions. On test day, you will once again be asked to agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Taking a Break

  • No food or drink in the test room. A short break is scheduled after the first two tests. You will not be allowed to use cell phones or any electronic devices during the break, and you may not eat or drink anything in the test room.
  • If you take the ACT with writing, you will have time before the writing test to relax and sharpen your pencils.

Finishing Up

  • Fifth test? ACT tries out questions to develop future tests. Following the science test, you should expect to take a shorter, multiple-choice test covering one of the previous subject areas. Please try your best on these questions, because your participation can help shape the future of the ACT. The results of the fifth test will not be reflected on your reported scores.
  • When is the test over? Students taking the ACT (no writing) with standard time are normally dismissed about 12:35 p.m.; students taking the ACT with writing are normally dismissed about 1:35 p.m.
  • What if you don't finish? If you do not complete all your tests for any reason, and do not want your scores reported you must tell a member of the testing staff before you leave the test center. If you do not, all tests attempted will be scored.

Looking for more useful tips and information? Explore College & Career Planning Resources from ACT!

Earlier versions of this article originally appeared on the ACT website.

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