ACT Test Day

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

What to Bring on Test Day

Prepare for test day by knowing what to bring and what to leave at home! 

Bring This, Not That

Bring:

Admission Ticket
Print a copy of your admission ticket to bring to the test center. If you forget your ticket on test day, your scores may be delayed.

If you have lost your ticket, you can print another through your MyACT account

Acceptable Photo identification 
Acceptable photo identification is required to be admitted to the test center. You will not be admitted to test if your ID does not meet ACT requirements.

Mask
ACT is requiring all examinees to bring and wear masks or other cloth face covering (both referred to as “masks”) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. You will be prohibited from entering the testing facility without a mask.

Number 2 pencil 
Bring sharpened, No. 2 pencils with good erasers (no mechanical pencils or ink pens). Do not bring any other writing instruments; you will not be allowed to use them. 

Watch
You may bring a watch to pace yourself, but do not bring a watch with an alarm. During testing your watch must be removed and placed on your desk face up. If your alarm sounds during testing, you’ll be dismissed and your answers will not be scored. 

Calculator 
Bring a permitted calculator to be used on the mathematics test only. You are not required to use a calculator at all, but if you do, it
is your responsibility to know whether your calculator is permitted.

Snacks
to eat outside the test center on break.

Don't bring any of these; you can't access them:

  • Textbooks, foreign language or other dictionaries, scratch paper, notes, or other aids
  • Highlighter pens, colored pens or pencils, or correction fluid/tape
  • Any electronic device, other than a permitted calculator
  • Reading material
  • Tobacco in any form

 

Prohibited 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. This includes smart watches, fitness bands, and any other devices with recording, internet, or communication capabilities.
  • All devices, including cell phones and wearable devices, must be turned off and placed out of sight.
  • If you access your device or it activates 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.

 

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.

Bring a permitted calculator to be used on the mathematics test only. It is your responsibility to know whether your calculator is permitted.

CAS Calculator FAQs

 

Acceptable Forms of ID

Current official photo ID

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

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

Your first and last names must match the ticket. 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.

This document must be fully completed by a school official or notary public; neither may be a relative.

Unacceptable Forms of ID

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

  • ACT ticket alone
  • Birth certificate
  • ChildFind ID card
  • 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
  • LA Wallet
  • Learner's driving permit (if it doesn't include a photo)
  • Police report of a stolen wallet or purse
  • Printed, stamped, or photocopied signatures
  • Published photo, including yearbook or newspaper
  • Report card
  • Social Security card
  • Telephone calls to counselors, teachers, or school officials
  • Traffic ticket, even with a physical description and signature
  • Transcript, even with photo
  • Web page with photo

ACT Test Descriptions

The full ACT consists of four multiple-choice sections—in English, mathematics, reading, and science—with an optional writing section.

Test Number of Questions Minutes Per Test
English 75 45
Mathematics 60 60
Reading 40 35
Science 40 35
Writing (optional) 1 essay 40

Your scores will be based only on the number of questions that you answer correctly; there is no penalty for guessing. Try to answer every question within the time allowed for each section.

 

What to Expect on Test Day

Going to the Test Center

  • Dress comfortably. Consider dressing in layers, so you'll be comfortable.
  • Arrive by 8:00 am.
    • 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 possible, travel to the test center on a non-test day to plan your travel time.
  • You must arrive on time to be admitted to test. Your testing time is located on your admission ticket. You will NOT be admitted to test if you are late. Testing staff will check your photo ID during check in. Be ready to begin testing after all on-time examinees are checked in.
  • Please note that ACT may visit test centers to conduct enhanced test security procedures.Testing staff may use an electronic device or paper materials to administer the test. 

During the Test

  • Once you break the seal on your test booklet, you cannot 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. 
    • During your registration process, you will agree to the ACT Terms and Conditions, which contains detailed information about prohibited behavior. On test day, you will once again be asked to agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Taking a Break 

  • A short break is scheduled after the second test. Using cell phones or any electronic devices during the break is prohibited. You may eat or drink outside the test room during the break.
  • If you take the ACT with writing, you will have time before the writing test to relax and sharpen your pencils.

Finishing Up 

  • After the science test you should expect to take a shorter, multiple-choice test covering one of the previous subject areas. The results of the fifth test help develop future test questions and will not be reflected on your scores, so please try your best.
  • 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. 
  • If you 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, your test will be scored. 

Additional Reminders

  • 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.
  • Also remember that cheating hurts everyone. If you see it, report it.

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.

Rescheduled Test Centers

Occasionally, a test center must cancel a test administration due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. When this occurs, the test will be rescheduled for a future date. Visit Rescheduled Test Centers to find out if your test center has been rescheduled and for more information about procedures.

Testing Amid COVID

ACT sends out communications to examinees when a change at their test center impacts their registration and is sent when ACT makes the change to the registration.

...but I haven't received communications from ACT.

If you believe that your test center is closed, and it is not available on our test center cancellations page, please direct test center staff to contact ACT immediately.

CDC policy currently aligns with ACT’s standard operational procedures.

Examinees are currently required to bring and wear masks and are welcome to bring their own personal hand sanitizer, and other PPE.

You will be prohibited from entering the testing facility without a face covering. No personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided by the test center.

No specific type of mask is required, however, because some types of masks are not recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, they will not be allowed.

Visit the CDC website for more information about correct mask usage.

You are required to bring your own mask. If you forget to bring one, you will be prohibited from entering the testing facility.

You are always required to wear your mask while in the facility, but there are limited exceptions.

For example, if your test center’s check-in process is inside, you will be asked to briefly remove your mask to verify your identity. You may also briefly remove your mask to consume food or a drink during the break.

Exceptions will be granted for those who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability. On the day of the test, please alert staff at the test center of your need for an exception. You do not need to call ACT prior to the test event.

Yes. Examinees will be asked the following health and wellness questions during check-in. If the examinee does not pass the screening question, they will not be admitted, and may make a test date change at no cost. 

If you don’t feel well, please stay home!

If you did not test, you can go into your MyACT account and make a test date change. If you are unable to make the change through your account, please contact ACT.

...the ACT exam. What should I do?

Contact your local healthcare provider or state or local health department who is responsible for contact tracing to disclose that you’ve participated in the ACT exam (provide the exam date and location- city, state and facility name + address). If your local health official determines further notification of possible exposure should occur, they may contact ACT at ACTCOVID19Reporting@act.org. Unrelated email inquiries will not receive a response.

NOTE: Further notification of possible exposure is at the discretion of state or local health officials, and a decision is made based on a variety of factors. Learn more at www.cdc.gov.

...to take the ACT exam. Am I able to reschedule at no cost?

Yes. You can log into your MyACT account and make a test change at no fee.

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.  

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).

Report Cheating

Cheating hurts everyone– if you see it, report it through the Test Security Hotline.

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.  

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 upload or otherwise submit (via ACT website, mobile device, or mail) a recognizable head-and-shoulders photo of themselves when registering for the ACT  
  • In addition to submitting a photo, students must provide ACT with their gender and identify the name of the high school they attend. ACT will use this information to help match the examinee’s identity throughout the testing process. 
  • The student's photo is printed on the examinee roster that testing staff use to check in students on test day.  
  • The photo prints on the student's ticket. In addition to their ticket, students bring and present an acceptable photo ID on test day. 
  • On test day, test center staff match the name and photo on the student’s ticket, 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 booklet and answer sheet which they have submitted. 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.  
  • After tests have been scored, the student’s photo will be printed on the score report that is automatically sent to the high school attended by the student. Score integrity can then be reinforced by the people who know the students best—the teachers and counselors at their schools.  
  • 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.   

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)