ACT Test Day

Everything you need to know for the day of the test.

What to Bring on Test Day

You can feel calm and prepared for test day by knowing what you can and cannot bring into the test room with you.

Bring This, Not That

  • Bring acceptable photo identification. You will not be admitted to test if your ID does not meet ACT requirements. 
  • You can bring a traditional watch to pace yourself, but make sure it does not have an alarm. If your alarm sounds during testing, you’ll be dismissed and your answers will not be scored. No watch? No problem. The computer-based ACT® test has an onscreen time to help you pace yourself. Smart watches are not permitted during testing.
  • Bring a permitted calculator to 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). Remember, the computer-based ACT test includes an onscreen calculator you can use, but you are not required to use a calculator.

Don’t bring these into the test room; you can’t use them!

  • Textbooks, foreign language or other dictionaries, scratch paper, notes, or other aids 
  • Highlight pens, colored pens or pencils, or correction fluid/tape 
  • Any electronic device, other than a permitted calculator (this includes your mobile phone, smart watch, fitness band, media player, iPad, headphones, and camera) 
  • Reading material 
  • Tobacco in any form, including e-cigarettes
  • Food or beverages, including water (you will be offered a break outside of the test room) 
  • Prohibited devices

 

Prohibited devices: ACT reminds you that upon registration, you agreed to the Terms and Conditions: Testing Rules and Policies for the ACT (PDF). In particular, we’d like to bring your attention to the prohibited use of cell phones and electronic devices. The prohibited use of devices is in effect from the time you are admitted to your testing room until you are dismissed at the end of the test, including break times. Specifically:

  • You may not handle or access a cell phone or electronic device at any time in the testing room or during break times. 
  • All devices, including cell phones and wearable devices, must be turned off and placed out of sight.
  • If you access your device or if your device activates while in the testing room or during break times, you will be dismissed, your test will not be scored, and your phone or device may be taken away.
     

Acceptable Forms of ID

Only the following forms of identification are acceptable. If it is not on this list, it is not acceptable, and you will not be admitted to test.

 

Current official photo ID

Must be an original, current (valid) ID issued by a city/state/federal government agency or your school.

School ID must be in hard plastic card format. Paper or electronic formats are NOT acceptable.

Your first and last names must match the roster. The photo must be clearly recognizable as you.

ACT Student Identification Form with photo 

You MUST present this ACT Student Identification Form (PDF) with photo if you do not have a current official photo ID as described above.

It must be completed by a school official or notary public; neither may be a relative.

All items must be completed.

 

Unacceptable Forms of ID

You will not be admitted if you present any forms of ID other than those listed as acceptable. The following are examples of unacceptable identification:

  • Birth certificate
  • Credit, charge, bank or check cashing cards, even with photo
  • Diploma
  • Family portrait or graduation picture, even if the name is imprinted on the photo
  • Fishing or hunting license
  • ID issued by an employer
  • ID letter that is not an official ACT identification form
  • Learner's driving permit (if it doesn't include a photo)
  • Temporary/replacement driver's license (if it doesn't include a photo)
  • Organization membership card
  • Passport or other photo ID so old that the person presenting it cannot be identified
  • Personal recognition by anyone, including members of the test center staff, classmates, parents, counselors, and teachers

What to Expect on Test Day

Good sleep? Check. Good breakfast? Check. Review our Test Day Checklist and get ready to test. 


Test Day Checklist

 

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.
  • If you are unsure where your test center is located, do a practice run to see how to get there and what time you will need to leave to arrive on time.
  • If you arrive earlier than the admittance time, 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(s).

Arriving at the Test Center

  • Report to your assigned test center by the Reporting Time listed. You will NOT be admitted to test if you are late.
  • Testing staff will check your photo ID, admit you to your test room, direct you to a seat, and provide a one-time password to use to log in.
  • Be ready to begin testing after all examinees present at test time are checked in and seated.
  • Please note that ACT may visit test centers to conduct enhanced test security procedures including, but not limited to, collecting images of examinees during check-in or other security activities on test day.
     

During the Test

  • Once you begin testing, either by receiving a one-time password to log in via computer, or by breaking 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).
  • If your calculator has characters one inch high or larger, or a raised display, testing staff may seat you where no others can see the display.
  • 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: For Non-US Testing, you will be asked to agree to a statement concerning ACT test policies before taking the test.
  • Also remember that cheating hurts everyone. If you see it, report it. Discussing test content—including on social media—is not permitted.


Taking a Break 

  • A 15-minute 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 five minutes before the writing test to take a short break.


Finishing Up 

  • Students taking the ACT (no writing) with standard time are normally dismissed a little more than three hours after the test time; students taking the ACT with writing are normally dismissed a little less than four hours after the test time. 
  • If you do not complete all your tests for any reason, tell a member of the testing staff whether or not you want your test scored before you leave the test center. If you do not, all tests attempted will be scored.

 

ACT Test Security  

You’ve worked hard to prepare for the ACT, and that’s a big deal. We’re also working hard to ensure everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate their academic achievement.  

Security Measures

We regularly review preventive measures to ensure every reasonable effort is made to deter and detect potential compromises to test security, while still enabling the greatest possible access for students. Our security measures include:  

  • Students must provide ACT with their gender and identify the name of the school they attend. ACT will use this information to help match the examinee’s identity throughout the testing process. 
  • Students bring and present an acceptable photo ID on test day. 
  • On test day, test center staff match the test center roster and the student’s photo ID to the student who arrives to take the test before granting the student admission. 
  • Both before and after testing, students provide written affirmation that they are the person whose name appears on the test which they have submitted–either via computer or paper-and-pencil. They also acknowledge that assuming anyone else’s identity to take the test may be a violation of law and be subject to legal penalty. 
  • ACT may visit test centers to conduct additional test security measures on test day, such as collecting images of examinees during check-in and/or other security activities. 
  • To deter attempts to circumvent these procedures, students (including those who hope to test on a standby basis) will be required to register their intent to test and will not be allowed to make any test center or test date changes on the day of the test.

This list above is a sampling of our test security protocol. ACT also uses many other additional security measures to ensure security, but it is our policy not to comment on other effective methods used.
 

Prohibited Behavior at the Test Center

To ensure fairness for all examinees, avoid disturbances in the testing room, and protect the security of the test materials, certain behaviors are prohibited at the test center. You will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored if you are found engaging in any of these behaviors. For more information view the Prohibited Behavior at the Test Center section of the Terms and Conditions (PDF).


Calculator Policy

The ACT calculator policy is designed to ensure fairness for all examinees, avoid disturbances in the testing room, and protect the security of the test materials. For more information view the latest Calculator Policy (PDF). (Keep in mind: the computer-based ACT test includes an onscreen calculator, if you want to use it.)
 

Test Security Hotline

Cheating hurts everyone– if you see it, report it.

Students who don't do their own work put honest students at a disadvantage. Whether it's using a cheat sheet, copying someone else's work, or sending another person to take the test, we all feel cheated when someone tries to game the system.

All examinees deserve the chance to show what he or she has learned. ACT has designed its testing procedures to give you and other honest students an equal opportunity to demonstrate your own academic achievement on a fair and equal playing field.

If you suspect that someone is trying to take unfair advantages or encounter anything else out of the ordinary, please report it to ACT. You can make an anonymous report about test security concerns by using the Test Security Hotline.

Keep the ACT fair. Report cheating and comply with all testing rules.

Why We Do This  

Our test security procedures are designed to ensure that examinees have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their academic achievement and skills, that examinees who do their own work are not unfairly disadvantaged by examinees who do not, and that scores reported for each examinee are valid. 


Related Information

Can Scores be Cancelled?

Terms and Conditions - Compromises/Disruptions in the Testing Process (PDF)

Unexpected Changes

Missed Your Test Date?

Once you have submitted your registration to ACT, by any method, it cannot be canceled. For more information see Registration Changes.

 

 

Test Center Feedback

ACT welcomes feedback about your test day experience. Fill out the Test Center Feedback Form no later than 2 weeks after your test date.