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What to Expect on Test Day

SAT® test day procedures

Every test center follows standardized procedures so that students know what to expect on when they arrive to take the SAT. Students should know the following procedures.


  • Arrive at the test center no later than 7:45 a.m., unless the Admission Ticket says otherwise. Admission to the center begins at that time.
  • The doors to the testing rooms close at about 8:00 a.m.
  • Testing starts between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. Once testing has begun, latecomers cannot be admitted.
  • There are three five-minute breaks. You can consume snacks and drinks during the breaks.

In the testing room

  • Your ID and Admission Ticket will be checked whenever you enter the testing room. Keep your ID and Admission Ticket with you at all times in the center.
  • Wait to be seated—your seat is assigned, not chosen by you.
  • Test books, answer sheets, and calculators must remain on your desk during breaks.

The test administration staff reserves the right to collect and hold cell phones and other prohibited electronic devices during the test administration, including during break periods.

If your device makes noise, or you are seen using it or you attempt to access it at any time, including breaks, you will be dismissed immediately, your scores can be canceled, and the device may be confiscated. The College Board is not responsible for loss or damage to personal items, including electronic devices, while you are in the test center. Please go here to for complete coverage of cell phone and electronic device policy.

Taking the test

  • Your test book may have a different order of sections than those of the students sitting next to you. For example, your second section may have mathematics questions, while your neighbors' books may have writing or critical reading questions.
  • The test supervisor reads all instructions verbatim from a testing room manual and can answer only questions about procedure, not about test questions or content.
  • The test supervisor will tell you when to start and stop each section:
    • You must work within each section of the test only for the time allotted.
    • You may not to go back to a section once that section has ended.
    • You may not go ahead to a new section if you finish a section early.
    • Do not skip sections. Doing so may result in score cancellation, delays, or both.
  • After the test is finished, the test supervisor collects and counts the test books to make sure all materials have been turned in before dismissing you from the testing room.

If you need to cancel your scores

You can cancel your scores for any reason on test day or up through the Wednesday after test day. Cancellations must be in writing and include your signature.

Customized Entry Pages

Related Materials

Go to the SAT Downloads and Materials Ordering page to view and print these and other related materials:

  • The Paper Registration Guide for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests
  • This Is Your SAT
  • SAT Program Student Brochure, U.S. edition
  • SAT Program Student Brochure, International edition
  • SAT Code List, U.S. version
  • SAT Code List, International version
  • Counselor's Guide to SAT Program Fee Waivers

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