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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

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What you need for your ACT/SAT: A Safety Guide

New to the SAT or ACT this year? Here are some tips to ensure your testing day goes smoothly.
Rhys Hals ’23

Ring, ring, ring.

There goes the alarm. It will be loud and annoying, but, unlike some other school days, there will be a reason to get up.

The day of the ACT/SAT examination is different. The exam is approximately three hours and thirty minutes, depending on whether the student has extended time. With extended time, the exams are approximately five hours.


Unfortunately, the longest break is only ten minutes— not much time to eat, so remember to have a hearty breakfast.

For those of us with ADHD or ADD—remember to take prescribed medicine, or else it will be tough to focus during the exam. I forgot mine before the exam and couldn’t answer all of the questions because I got distracted. So, don’t forget.

You will be required to have an acceptable photo ID, up-to-date admissions ticket, a number two pencil, and an approved calculator. Make sure to pack all of these items along with a snack the night before, so that there will be more time for breakfast.

Next, go to the testing site. I recommend scheduling your tests at a local high school, which allows more time to get ready and less time in the car.


Next comes the hard part: the exam. You will be sitting in a room with a few other students. The silence that comes before beginning the exam is deafening.

Tick, tick, tick.

The clock will sound, or the proctor will announce that it’s time to begin. As the proctor begins talking, students will pick up pencils and fill in the appropriate bubbles for name, address, and other demographic information.

Soon, the test will begin. The ACT and SAT are primarily races against time. You will solve problems and fill in bubbles, hoping to fill in every bubble before the time runs out, while still having correct answers.

On the current SAT, there are 154 multiple-choice questions to complete in the time period of three hours, assuming there is no extended time. The sections of the SAT are broken up as follows:

  • Reading: 65 minutes with 52 questions
  • Writing: 35 minutes with 44 questions
  • Math (No Calculator): 25 minutes with 20 questions
  • Math (Calculator): 55 minutes with 38 questions

On the ACT, there are 215 multiple-choice questions to complete in two hours and 55 minutes. The sections of the ACT are broken up as follows:

  • English: 45 minutes with 75 questions
  • Math: 60 minutes with 60 questions
  • Reading: 35 minutes with 40 questions
  • Science: 35 minutes with 40 questions

During the test, the breaks will feel short. Be prepared for a headache.


After leaving the testing site, you will feel a sense of relief as you breathe in fresh air outside.

However, only when you get home will you realize how tired you are after taking a three-hour-long test. I recommend going and taking a long nap because the fatigue will likely last for the rest of the weekend.

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About the Contributor
Bailey Hansen has been a member of the Panther Press for two years. She strives to publish informative articles that express the interest of all Strath Haven students. Additionally, she has participated in multiple journalistic events, constantly improving her writing.
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