Things to Know for the SAT (COVID-19 edition)

Many juniors and seniors will be taking the SAT this year, and it can be a bit intimidating. These are a few things to know before walking into the test room. I promise, it is not that bad.


  1. The test will most likely start and end late.

The form says to be at the testing center by 8:00 am, but the actual test does not start until around 8:30 since everyone can fill out the information on the test booklet first. Proctors are allowed to turn students away if they arrive late and the student will not be able to get a refund. So, it is suggested to get there no later than 7:45 am just to be safe.


  1. Students taking the essay: be prepared for the long haul

Essay takers are not fully finished until around 1:15-1:30 (depending on the test proctor). So, eat an energy filled breakfast, and bring snacks and enough water for the breaks! Also, remember to tell parents of the late ending time- so they do not worry that something is wrong.


  1. Breaks depend on the section of the test

Typically, there are longer breaks for longer sections, and the reverse for shorter sections. There is a 10 minute break after the first reading section, a 2 minute break after the writing and language section as well as the math- no calculator section, and 5-10 minute break after the math- calculator section if the student is taking the essay.


  1. The rule with food

It is suggested to bring snacks to eat during breaks. But students can only eat the food outside the classroom in the pods during the breaks- not during the tests. So, make sure to eat and drink well or to prepare yourself!


  1. Writing utensils allowed

Highlighters are not allowed, and neither are mechanical pencils. Even though it is the same #2 lead, they are still technically banned by the College Board.


  1. Things to have ready the night before:
  • Admission Ticket
  • Photo ID (school IDs and Drivers licenses both work)
  • #2 pencils and an eraser
  • Calculator
  • Water and snacks

Make sure the calculator is fully charged, the correct admission form is ready to go, the water bottle is filled up, the student ID is not lost, and the snacks are delicious to eat. The last thing anyone wants is to be scrambling around the morning of and being late.


  1. Students can opt out of the essay last minute

If a student changed their mind about writing the essay portion, they can opt out the last minute. They just have to tell the proctor, fill out the correct information in the test form, and then they are allowed at the normal allotted time for non-essay takers. However, the student will not be refunded for the essay.


  1. The Corona situation

The only thing different about taking the SAT during corona is that test takers must always wear masks, and it can get a bit stuffy. Social distancing does not change anything because the classrooms are already set up with desks six feet apart because that is already normal testing procedure. So, nothing major changed for the COVID situation, which is good. Be sure to wear a comfortable mask and stay safe!