EduReviewerBlogWhat Should I Bring to the ACT and What I Should NOT?
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What Should I Bring to the ACT and What I Should NOT?

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In this article, you can discover what are the essential things that you need for an ACT test. But also what are the things you thought you needed, but in fact, should be left at home.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

What to bring to ACT test day is definitely an important question. The ACT exam lasts almost 4 hours and requires serious prep time. So, forgetting something or bringing something that can bar your entry is a bad idea. To help you with this conundrum we will go over what to bring to the ACT test.

Moreover, we will also list all the things you shouldn’t have on your person or things that could result in your removal from the test. If you want read ACT Tutoring Cost: A Complete Guide navigate to this article.

What Should I Bring to the ACT Test?

If you ever wondered – what do I need to bring to the ACT test, here is a detailed list.

Your Admission Ticket

You will need an ACT admission ticket and the only acceptable form is a paper copy. Meaning you cannot show an image of the ticket that is on your phone. Therefore, you need to log onto your ACT account, print the ACT admissions ticket, and bring it with you on the ACT test day.  This item should be on the top of your what to bring ACT list. Magoosh ACT prep is a leading online prep program for the ACT test. Magoosh has been ranked in the top 3 of all ACT prep providers by customer reviews. Check ACT reviews for more!

Acceptable Photo ID

They will ask for your ID before allowing you to take an exam. In order for the photo to be deemed acceptable it needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Clear image
  • The image needs to resemble the one you uploaded during the application process
  • It needs to be your official school ID/driver’s license/passport

In case you don’t have a school ID, passport, or driver’s license, you can use a filled-out ACT Identification Letter Form.

Don’t try to use the following as a substitution for ID:

  • Birth certificate
  • Employee ID
  • Credit cards
  • Social security card
  • Learner’s permit

An Approved Calculator

Many students wonder if you can bring a calculator to ACT, or what calculator to bring to ACT. This is actually a very good question, as not all calculators are permitted. To that end, here is a detailed calculator policy for the exam.

Basically, you are only allowed to use a regular or basic calculator. Trying to use one with a QWERTY keypad, or the one that is on a phone or tablet device is not allowed. The same goes for some of the other advanced models. There are some exceptions to this rule, provided that the calculator has been modified to comply with ACT regulations.

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2 Pencils with Erasers

The test includes a lot of writing and multiple-choice questions. So, if you were wondering how many pencils to bring to ACT, two number 2 pencils should be enough. Additionally, you should also bring some erasers. Magoosh has been ranked in the top 3 of all ACT prep providers by customer reviews. Check ACT reviews for more!

Extra Batteries and Backup Equipment

You can bring some extra batteries for the calculator, and a pen sharpener. Remember that your time per question is limited. Meaning it would be wise to have a set of fresh batteries in the calculator before the test starts.

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As a result, you are not going to lose precious time by replacing them while the clock is ticking. You can also bring a jacket or sweater just in case it gets cold.

Also read: ACT vs SAT guide

A Watch that Doesn’t Have an Alarm

Another item on your ACT test list is definitely a watch. This way you can monitor how much time you have left during each section of the test. Just don’t take a watch that has an alarm or other distracting features.

Food and Drinks for the Break (Snacks/Water)

There is some debate on what to bring on ACT test day in terms of foods and drinks. You are not allowed to eat or drink during the test, but there will be two breaks. One is a 10-minute break after the math exam, and the other one is a 5-minute break before the essay writing. The second break only applies to those who choose to do the essay writing part of the exam of the course.

If you wonder how long is ACT, you should get the facts from our article.

You should bring some fresh water and an energizing snack that you can eat quickly during the break. So, for those who wanted to know, can you bring snacks to ACT or can you bring water to ACT, the answer is yes. That being said, you just can’t consume either while in the exam room.

What NOT to Bring

Now that we have covered what to bring for ACT test, let’s go over the things you shouldn’t have on you.

Any Electronic Device

Anything, apart from the calculator should not be on your what to bring ACT test day list. Devices that allow you to communicate or record what’s happening are prohibited. Many students ask – can I bring phone to ACT? The answer is obviously no.

Notebooks Cheat Sheets Scratch Paper Books

Cheating is not allowed on any exam, and ACT is no different. Bringing an extra notebook, or a sheet of paper is just going to look suspicious. Just to be sure, empty your pockets, in order to avoid uncomfortable situations when you enter the exam room.

Color Pens, Highlighters Colored Pencils

If your tests are in a different color than the rest, it will look like you are signaling one of the evaluators. Therefore, you should stick to a standard pencil and eraser.


Dictionaries are not allowed for a good reason. There are parts of the exam designed to check your comprehension and usage of the English language. Having a dictionary would be a form of cheating. This is another reason why the answer to can you bring phone to ACT is no. You would be able to go online and check the meaning of certain words.

Protractors, Compasses, or Rulers

You are not going to need these items on the test and you cannot carry them around with you. So, if you see any of these on what a student should bring to the ACT test lists online or anywhere else, it’s a lie. Clearly, you can’t bring rulers, protractors, or compasses.

A Few Tips for ACT Test

We have fully covered what can you bring to ACT test, and what you cannot bring. Now we can go over some practical tips to help you ace this exam.

The Morning of the Test

Get up early in order to get ready and arrive on time. You should be there at least an hour earlier. Many students who are not morning people ask can you bring coffee to ACT. You obviously can bring it but you cannot sip coffee during the exam.

Eat an Energized Breakfast

Don’t go to the test hungry, but don’t overeat as well. In both cases, you will have a hard time focusing on the questions. In other words, eat something light and energetic, and bring an additional snack if you feel you’ll get hungry soon.

Make the Most of Your Break

You will have a 10-minute break so make the most of it. Therefore, go to the bathroom if you need to, and drink some water. You might also want to sharpen your pencil before the start of the next exam.


The best way to prepare for the exam is to use ACT resources. These include practice tests that give you a good overview of what to expect. To that end, you might want to bring these if you need to practice some more before you enter the test room. This also poses another question – can you bring backpack to ACT test? The answer is yes, as you will need a bag to put your food and water in.

If you are having a hard time with the practice tests that are available, you should consider asking for help. Professional tutors can help you get ready for the ACT and achieve better scores.

This roughly covers what is to bring to ACT and what to avoid. Hopefully, the tips in the article are going to help you get ready for the exam. If you want best ACT prep courses online you could look here.


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