What to Do the Night Before the ACT

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When you're facing a big standardized test like ACT in the morning, there are some things you need to do the night before. Besides the typical things like eating correctly, getting enough sleep, and making sure to choose a comfortable outfit for test day, these eight things will help you get ready for the ACT specifically. The ACT is different than every other ​standardized test; the admission ticket is different, the test sections are different, and the procedures are very different, as well. Even if you've taken the SAT and think you know what to expect, err on the side of caution and check this list for the things to do the night before the ACT so you're not caught by surprise on testing day.

Pack Your Bag

Make sure the first thing you put in it is your admission ticket. When you registered for the ACT, you should have printed your admission ticket on the spot. If your ticket is missing or you never printed it, log in to your ACT account and print one immediately, so you're not scrambling for printer paper tomorrow morning. If you registered by mail and haven't received your ticket yet, contact ACT immediately to get your admission ticket -- you will not be admitted without one!

Check Your Photo

If you haven't uploaded a photo to the ACT student website by tonight, then you won't be able to test tomorrow. There are photo upload deadlines, which are usually 4 days prior to the exam. Sometimes, ACT offers free retests for students who failed to upload photos in the right time frame, but it's not guaranteed. Check the photo upload deadlines to make sure you are eligible to test tomorrow.

Check Your ID

Put your acceptable form of ID into your wallet or bag along with your admission ticket. You won't be able to test if you aren't carrying the proper ID. Remember that the name you used to register must match the name on your ID exactly, although you can omit your middle name or initial on the admission ticket. The spelling of the first and last name must be identical, however.

Pack an Acceptable Calculator

There would be nothing worse than showing up for the ACT expecting to use your calculator and finding out it's on the "do not use" list. Be sure to check whether your calculator is an approved one so that if it isn't, you'll have some time to locate one that is.

Decide If You're Taking the Writing Test

If you have decided to take the ACT Plus Writing test and you didn't register for it, you can still take it. Just be sure to tell the test supervisor before the test begins and he or she will arrange to have you take the Writing portion, as long as there are enough staff/materials to accommodate you. You'll be billed the additional fee for the exam afterward.

Forget Standby Testing

Let's say you didn't register for the ACT, but on the night before the ACT, you decide you want to test. Unfortunately, the ACT does not allow walk-in testers like other tests do. If you had made this decision a few days prior, however, you could have still registered as a standby tester and shown up for the exam. If you go this route, you'll have to wait until the next ACT test date.

Listen Carefully to the Weather Reports

If there is severe weather in the area the night before the test, the testing center may close. You don't want to venture out in a hurricane to take your test if it's closed anyway when you show up. If you're unsure, check the ACT student website for updates about test center closings in your area.

Don't Chicken Out

If you decide you don't want to test the night before the ACT, you'll lose your testing money if you don't reschedule. If you do want to take it on another date, you will be able to request a test center change/change of date if you pay the fee. So, show up and give it a shot -- you can always retest if you don't get the score you're aiming for.

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Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "What to Do the Night Before the ACT." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/what-should-you-do-the-night-before-the-act-3211591. Roell, Kelly. (2021, February 16). What to Do the Night Before the ACT. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-should-you-do-the-night-before-the-act-3211591 Roell, Kelly. "What to Do the Night Before the ACT." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-should-you-do-the-night-before-the-act-3211591 (accessed June 8, 2023).