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What to Expect on Test Day

Test day procedures for SAT Subject Tests

Every test center follows standardized procedures so that students know what to expect on test day. 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 about 8:00 a.m.
  • Testing starts between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. Once testing has begun, latecomers cannot be admitted.
  • You are given two five-minute breaks, and you can consume snacks and drinks at these times.

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 tests

  • The test book includes all the Subject Tests that can be given on that day.
  • If you are taking the Language Test in November, it will be the first test of the day. You must be registered for a Language with Listening Test and cannot switch to a Listening Test on test day.
  • The test supervisor reads all instructions verbatim from a testing manual. He or she can only answer questions about procedure, not about test questions or content.
  • The test supervisor will tell you when to start and stop each test.
    • You must work within each test only for the time allotted.
    • You may not to go back to a previous test once that test has ended.
    • You may not go ahead to a new test if you finish a test early.
  • After each hour of testing, the supervisor collects test books and answer sheets from students who are finished testing for the day. If you are taking another test, sit quietly until testing resumes.

Malfunctioning equipment

Subject Tests in Mathematics and Language with Listening Tests require calculators or CD players. If your equipment malfunctions during the test, you can decide to continue testing or to cancel the one test.

  • You must report the malfunction immediately to the test supervisor.
  • If you have backup equipment, ask the supervisor for permission to switch to it.

Cancelling because of equipment failure

If you cannot switch to working equipment, and want to cancel, notify the supervisor. The supervisor will give you an SAT® Request to Cancel Test Scores form.

  • Fill in your information, including registration number.
  • Check the box marked Subject Tests Equipment Failure.

You will still receive scores for other Subject Tests taken the same day.

Changing Subject Tests on test day

You can take a different test from the one you signed up for as long as you don't try to switch to a different Language with Listening Test. If you decide to take fewer tests than you signed up for, simply turn in your answer sheet before the next test begins. Once you start answering a test, you can't decide not to take it and will have to cancel all tests taken that day to avoid having it scored. You can also add a test on test day, and you will receive the bill for the test fee.

Some students may not be able to switch Subject Tests on test day if required materials are not available.

If you need to cancel your scores

You can cancel your scores (this links to the student area of this website) 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:

  • Guidelines for the Release of Data
  • Score Reporting Options for High Schools
  • Electronic Data Layout for High Schools
  • Score Reporting Options for Higher Ed Institutions
  • Electronic Data Layout for Higher Ed Institutions

Coming in Spring 2016: The Redesigned SAT

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