In order to be successful on the ACT come test day, you need to have all the right tools when you walk into the test center. Bringing the right tools can be just as important as preparing for the ACT exam. For your convenience, I have prepared a comprehensive checklist that will help you make sure that you have everything you need on the big day.

Photo ID & admission ticket

In order to take the exam, you must bring an acceptable form of photo ID along with your admission ticket. If you forget one or both of them, the testing administration will likely not allow you to take the exam. The recommended form of photo ID is your driver’s license or school ID. You can print your admission ticket by logging into your account on the ACT website (

Pencils and erasers

Make sure you bring at least two pencils to get through the exam. It is recommended that you bring several of them in case one of them breaks or gets too dull. You do not want to waste time during the exam sharpening your pencil. However, you can bring a small hand sharpener in case your test room does not have a sharpener for you to use during the breaks. All pencils must be a soft lead No. 2 pencil, since that is the only kind that the scantron will read. It is important that you bring an additional eraser with you. When you erase a lot, your pencil eraser can break or become full of graphite. As a result, an additional eraser could prove helpful when erasing myriad bubbles without ruining your answer sheet.


During the math section of the ACT, you are allowed to use a calculator. However, it must be an ACT approved calculator. Using a non-approved calculator can be grounds for removal from the test center and dismissal of your scores. I recommend that you use a TI-84, as it is acceptable for numerous standardized tests. Sometimes, calculators can malfunction or run out of batteries during the exam. Accordingly, you should bring extra batteries or a backup calculator just in case. Make sure that you store these extra materials under the desk while you take the exam and let your proctor know that you might be switching calculators. This is done so that the proctor can approve the backup calculator.


Be sure to wear layers on test day. You can never be certain of the temperature within your particular test center. Accordingly, dress in layers so that you can remove clothes if it gets too warm, or simply keep your multiple clothing layers on if it is a chilly environment.


Bring an analog watch with you when you take the exam. While some testing rooms do have clocks, it is not guaranteed. Even if your room has a clock, it might be out of view from your particular desk. If you do not own a watch, I recommend borrowing one from a family member or a friend. Helpful tip: use an analog watch and set the hands to 12:00 at the beginning of each section. This will allow you to know exactly how much time you have used without doing any extra math!

Food and drink

The test takes more than four hours to complete. As such, it is highly likely that you will get hungry over the course of the exam. A high-energy snack (i.e. granola bars or protein bars) is an essential piece of your toolkit. You should also bring a bottle of water to make sure that you are hydrated. There is nothing more distracting than taking a test when you are hungry and/or thirsty.