Most students are anxious about taking standardized exams such as the SAT, ACT, LSAT, etc. The mere difficulty of such exams is already a burden to the test takers. Yet, another pressure that they must bear is the time constraint for each section of the tests. As such, they cannot use their mobile phones for since they pose another distraction for the test-takers.
Because of this, some students, or their parents, relatives or tutors search for the perfect watch that the test takers may use during practice and/or during the actual test.
Choosing the best watch may be tricky for a test taker. Some students only want a watch to practice their pacing while there are also those who prefer watches that they will be able to use not only for practice but would also be approved to be used in the testing room.
Some could do with a countdown showing how many minutes have passed since they started the test while others prefer a timer that will show the remaining time to complete the test.
Approved Watch Rules For ACT & SAT
For those who would want a watch to bring during the test/s, it is vital to remember the following rules on approved watches:
“Bring a watch to pace yourself, but do not bring a watch with an alarm. If your alarm sounds during testing, you’ll be dismissed and your answers will not be scored.”
“Nice to Have: A watch (without an audible alarm)
What Not to Bring: Any devices, including digital watches, that can be used to record, transmit, receive, or play back audio, photographic, text, or video content (with the exception of CD players used for Language with Listening Subject Tests only)”
Fortunately, there are watches on the market that do meet these specifications that you may bring during the test.
Best Watches For Test Takers:
Casio AE Models 1000 and 2000
These watches are considerably cheap while still looking decent (may be used even on ordinary days). As required, they do not have communications and recording capabilities. Most of all, you can make these watches SILENT.
All instructions are provided in the box. Nonetheless, it is worthy to note that the “MUTE” must have a dark blue background color so that the watch will not make any sound, except for the timer. Setting up the timer will not make any noise when it’s on MUTE but its alarm will certainly sound once the time is up in order to alert the user.
If you prefer to use its timer on test day, make sure that the proctor will approve with its alarm sounding when the time is up; besides, most proctors will not care since the test is done by that point.
If the proctor does not approve of the alarm even if the test is over, then you may still use the stopwatch to guide you during the test. It will not make any noise at all.
Since those watches have stopwatch feature and may be silenced, they are generally allowed in testing rooms that allow digital wristwatches.
Moreover, if one of your requirements for a watch on your testing day is a timer that will not sound and will surely be allowed in the testing room, don’t be discouraged yet. Continue reading along and you might just find the watch that you are looking for.
If you are willing to invest more on watches particularly for the ACT, there are also available watches that have been pre-programmed for the sections of the ACT.
The ACT Pacing Digital Timer
The ACT Pacing Digital Timer and The Test Buddy (for the ACT), mentioned below, are both pre-programmed for the sections of the ACT – English, Math, Reading, Science and Writing.
They both display the elapsed time and the remaining time for each section of the test. Despite having timers, these watches are noise-free and vibration-free thereby complying the test room requirements of the ACT.
The ACT Pacing Digital Timer, in particular, has blinking markers on display that serves as a graphical representation of the test-taker must be in a section.
The Test Buddy
The Test Buddy, on the other hand, shows the students which question they should be at exactly.
These watches, from their name themselves, are made primarily to aid the students during practice and while taking their ACT.
With regards to their functionality, most buyers are well-satisfied. Although there were some negative feedbacks since you cannot adjust the pre-programmed time for each section.
Also, with regards to its look, some say that you will probably never use them outside the testing center because they look “very ugly”.
Other than the actual test day, most teenagers would wear a cooler watch – like one of these here.
Top Score Watch
On the downside, regardless of their functionality, those are only great for the ACT and not for other types of exams.
If you want almost the same features but will also be applicable for other standardized tests, the Digital Timer and Watch by Top Score Watch is a good option.
It has a digital timer pre-programmed for the sections of SAT, ACT, and PSAT/NMSQT. Being noise-free and vibration-free, this watch is also compliant with the testing room requirements of the enumerated tests.
Similar with the ACT Pacing Digital Timer, this watch from Top Score Watch has blinking markers around its timer that serves as a graphical representation of where you should be at in your exam. But of course, aside from that, it also has a digital timer that provides the exact remaining time for each particular section. However, since it is also pre-programmed for sections of various tests, the timers may not be extended nor adjusted.
Nevertheless, this watch has been recommended not only by students or test-takers but even parents and tutors themselves. Parents have seen how their children have improved after having this watch – seeing them less anxious about the time they have and being able to focus more on the exam. Tutors, on the other hand, can easily determine which sections their students are having a hard time. As such, they can focus their practice on sections where they need to improve their pacing.
More so, most customers who bought this watch find it decent-looking that may still be worn even outside the testing room and on ordinary days (Nope, it does not have any other color, if you’re wondering). However, based on some reviews, you might find the watch bracelet to be designed for people with a bigger wrist. Therefore, if your wrist is quite slimmer or smaller, you might need to add a hole on the bracelet to better fit you.
Bonus: Each watch comes packaged with two (2) pencils and an eraser!
Nevertheless, as a general rule, whichever watch you may opt to purchase, it is best to inform the proctor ahead of time that you will be wearing such type of watch. This way, you will be able to avoid being pulled out of the testing room while taking your test or any other such scenario that may take some of your precious time on the test.
The Silent Testing Timer
If you want a watch only for your practice and does not mind not having one during the actual test, you may also consider The Silent Testing Timer.
Unlike the watches shown above, this one is NOT a wristwatch. No, it cannot be worn on your wrist, just to be clear.
This desktop timer provides a countdown, showing the time you have left for your test. These features will be able to help you practice your pacing accordingly and will still be able to give you an idea as to how fast or slow you should be able to answer the questions for each section. Also, since it is a SILENT timer, you will still be able to replicate the testing room experience – away from your gadgets and nothing but silence.
Although it claims that it is ‘great for test day’, the ACT policy is already clear that it does not allow desktop timers and only wristwatches (digital/analog, as long as it is not a smartwatch) are allowed in the testing room.
The LSAT policy, on the other hand, has also made it clear that only analog watches are allowed during the test. For other tests, perhaps as mentioned above, it will be best to consult your proctor if this timer is allowed before bringing it inside the testing room.
However, if you have made your mind that you will not be bringing a watch/timer during the actual test, it would help that after internalizing your pacing with this timer, try also to practice without an actual timer to make sure that you will not mess up when you don’t have a timer on the actual test.
Well, I hope by this point you have found the perfect watch for you, or for your child or student. It is indeed quite tricky to find the watch that would fit the specifications/requirements of different test-takers. This article is an attempt to provide you the options that were deemed good and helpful enough during the practice and/or test proper.
Each watch has its own pros and cons but I sure do hope that you found at least one that’s best for you.
Again, it’s best to inform your proctor of the watch that you will bring/wear BEFORE the exam in order to avoid any scenario that may lessen your precious time during the test.
Related Video: What To Bring On Test Day:
Here’s a quick video from “Super Tutor TV” on Youtube going over on what to bring to the test (in addition to one of the watches we mentioned).
Interestingly, the first thing she mentions is a watch and confirms as we said above that it shouldn’t have any alarms and no smartwatches! Check out the video for other top tips:
Test Taking Advice with Timer:
Lastly, one unsolicited advice, whether you’d bring a watch in the testing room or not, it is best to PRACTICE – not only your time but the whole package of taking the exam. Get the feel of the testing room – away from your gadgets, with only your pen/pencil with you and whatever else is allowed inside your testing room, and of course, a mock test. There are free online ACT practice tests and even services such as the Princeton Review that Guarantees a 1400+ score can be achieved in 2 months.
This way, you will not be too anxious during the testing day when you will be required to focus only on the test for a particular amount of time. You will be prepared with the silence, of not being able to check your mobile phone and its notifications, of not standing up and walking too much when you have to think and other mannerisms that you may not know that you have. It is also best NOT to rely too much on your watch but to internalize your pacing – knowing how much time you can spend on each test question without having to constantly check your watch. This ‘internalizing’, of course, will still take time and that is why you have to practice.
DO NOT PROCRASTINATE on practicing for your exam. You have to make your mind familiar with reading, thinking and analyzing so that you won’t have to take so much time doing those over just one item. Yet, don’t be too hard on yourself. At the start of your practice, you may find yourself being unable to finish the test within the limited time.
Yet, as you practice regularly, you will be able to find yourself adjusting and actually improving – not only with your time but also with the accuracy of your answers. As you get along, your body and mind will adjust thus improving your pacing.
You will find yourself not taking too much time as you did the first time. You will also find yourself more relaxed and confident while practicing and hopefully, even while taking the exam. The night and hours before your test, it is best to take a rest and calm your mind. Any review that you might try to do will be of no help when you are already stressed and in panic. Rather, it might even make you more confused with the topics that you have already studied on.
So take a rest, sleep longer so that your mind will be able to process all the things that you have reviewed and studied. Such way, during the actual test, both your body and your mind are relaxed and more at ease while taking the test; consequently, you will be able to focus on accurately answering the questions before you.