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!


  • Admission ticket
  • Acceptable photo identification
  • Watch
  • Approved calculator
  • Snacks

Admission ticket
Print a copy of your admission ticket to bring to the test center. Your admission ticket has important information including reporting location.

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.

You may bring a watch to pace yourself, but do not bring a smartwatch or 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 test will not be scored. The computer-based ACT® test has an onscreen timer to help you pace yourself.

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

You can only eat snacks outside the test room during break. Keep these under your desk and don’t access them during the test.


Don't bring:

  • 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

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.

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.

This document must be fully completed by a school official or notary public; neither may be a relative. Note: A notary public may not be available in your country.

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:

  • 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


ACT Test Descriptions

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

TestNumber of QuestionsMinutes per Test
Writing (optional)1 essay40

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 the time noted on the admission ticket.
  • 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.

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).
  • 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. 


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 test 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).

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)