What to Expect on Test Day

Before test day, make sure you become familiar with these procedures and rules.

Pandemic Safety Procedures

While many test centers are still requiring masks, your test center may have decided not to if students in your area aren't wearing masks in school during the week. Check your test center's website to see if the mask requirement for the SAT has been waived. Bring a mask on test day, just in case, and wear it as directed by the test center. Remember to also practice social distancing at all times.

Be prepared to answer questions about your health prior to entering the test center. If you feel sick the day of your test, please stay home. Contact customer service for your options. You won’t be charged a change or cancellation fee if you stay home due to illness.

Check your test center's website for any additional or specific entry requirements it may have. If you're traveling to test, it's your responsibility to know and follow any quarantine requirements or travel restrictions in the location where you're testing. At check-in, test centers might require proof that you've followed quarantine requirements, travel restrictions, or both.

Check for Test Center Closings

Monitor test center closings in the days leading up to your test and the day of your test to make sure your test center hasn't changed or closed.

We also recommend that you check directly with the test center, including the test center's website, on the morning of the test.

Doors Open at 7:45 a.m.

All test centers open at 7:45 a.m. Doors close at 8 a.m., unless otherwise noted on your admission ticket. You can’t be admitted once testing has started. If you're late or absent on test day, you can reschedule. We recommend rescheduling as opposed to reregistering—it will cost less. Find out more about changing your registration information.

Make sure you show up with everything you need.

Testing Starts Between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

Your seat is assigned, not chosen by you. Wait to be seated. Here’s what will happen next:

  • The proctor will read all instructions verbatim from a manual and can answer questions only about procedure, not about test questions or content.
  • The proctor will tell you when to start and stop working on each section.
  • You must work within each section of the test only for the time allotted.
  • You may not go back to a section once that section has ended.
  • You may not go ahead to a new section if you finish a section early.
  • Don’t skip sections. Doing so may result in score cancellation, delays, or both.
  • After the test is finished, the proctor will collect and count the test books to make sure all materials have been turned in before dismissing you from the testing room.

Don’t be surprised if your test experience isn’t exactly like that of the student sitting next to you. The sections in your test book might be different.


For most students, there’s one 10-minute and one 5-minute break during the test, the only times you can eat and drink.

  • Keep your ID and admission ticket with you at all times. They’ll be checked every time you enter the testing room.
  • Test books, answer sheets, and calculators must remain on your desk during breaks.
  • You can't use this time to power up devices, like mobile phones—if you do, your scores will be canceled.


You’ll likely be done around noon.


We mention mobile phones and electronics often, and for good reason. Your scores will be canceled if you don’t follow the rules around devices.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Test administration staff reserves the right to collect and hold mobile phones and other prohibited electronic devices during the test administration, including during break periods.
  • If your device makes noise, or if you’re seen using it, or if you attempt to access it at any time, including breaks, you’ll be dismissed immediately, your scores can be canceled, and the device may be confiscated.
  • College Board isn’t responsible for loss or damage to personal items, including electronic devices, while you’re in the test center.