Can You Use A Mechanical Pencil On A Scantron

That’s right—you can’t use a mechanical pencil on the ACT. Or the SAT. Or, in reality, a lot of standardized tests. For the SAT and ACT, however, making use of a mechanical pencil may put your score in peril. The devices that the test-equipments use to mark the score sheets don’t pick up on the marmonarchs. This implies that they won’t count your answers, even if they’re right—because they can’t see your answers.

The very same goes for pens. To be safe, always use an excellent old No. 2 pencil. Make sure it has actually a good eraser, too!

Why No. 2, though? Would using a mechanical pencil really make that much of a difference?

Yes. The short answer is that you can’t usage a mechanical pencil on the SAT or ACT bereason answer sheet scanners are especially calibrated to detect the marks made by a No. 2 pencil and also mechanical pencils are not always regulated as No. 2. In addition, they are thin and also vulnerable to breaking, which suggests your marks may not be as readable as the thicker, darker marks you deserve to attain with an old-college number 2 pencil. The SAT and ACT scoring devices should process score sheets rapid, which indicates any type of variation could delay the process. So take their word for it and use a wood #2.

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But the long answer is much more interesting….

“Number one pencils EXIST?!” I asked my frifinish Crystal via confusion. She had actually just failed an exam because she offered a number 1 pencil to fill in the bubbles. It transforms out, there are actually a totality range of different pencil types, though many of us are only familiar via the trusty yellow No. 2.

What Americans speak to No. 2 is also referred to as ‘HB’ in various other parts of the world, according to this handy chart.*


All of these many various pencil numbers (and also letters!) have actually differing levels of darkness and hardness as soon as they note on paper. Pencils are made via graphite combined with a little clay to host the graphite together. With less clay blended in, the graphite tube in the facility of the pencil is a lot softer…which means that the note is darker, however also smudgy. Adding more clay to the blend renders the pencil harder. A harder pencil have the right to be sharpened to a finer suggest, however bereason tright here is much less graphite in the graphite-clay blfinish, the pencil makes a a lot lighter mark on the web page.

The Perfect Balance

So, I existing to you the No. 2 pencil: the perfect balance in between dark enough graphite and also hard sufficient clay. But what’s the problem with mechanical pencils? “My mechanical pencils DO use No. 2 graphite!” you can be shouting in my basic direction. First of all, it’s often a lot harder to figure out whether or not the graphite in a mechanical pencil is actually No. 2. Many type of mechanical pencils don’t include any kind of kind of identification.

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However, also those mechanical pencils that case to usage No. 2 arrive in those very thin, conveniently breakable cylinder forms. The never-dull, constantly sharp fine point that makes mechanical pencils so appealing, additionally make mechanical pencils even more prone to breaking. But even more importantly, they actually cause you to take much longer filling in bubbles on a response sheet! In fact, also constant wooden pencils are finest for scantron sheets when they are simply slightly dull. Slightly dull pencils make a wider note on paper, permitting you to fill in bubble a lot even more easily than through a thin line. Even if mechanical pencils were enabled for usage on the SAT and also ACT, you’ll actually conserve yourself some precious time on the SAT or ACT by making use of a consistent pencil rather of a mechanical pencil!

The Scientific Method

In order for your SAT and also ACT scores to mean anything to college and also university adgoals, they must be comparable to various other students’ scores. So, for the SAT and also ACT to make sure they administer a fair and specific experimentation procedure, they have to control as many kind of variables as possible. Those variables incorporate days, time, and also also materials! Everyone takes the test on the same test day, gets the exact same amount of time for each section, and also provides the very same test bookallows and also answer sheets…and also pencils. In order to ensure the best accuracy, test proctors are trained to look especially for things like mechanical pencils and ask you to put them away before the begin of the test.

Most answer sheet scanners are specifically calibrated to detect the marks made by a No. 2 pencil. Due to the fact that the SAT and also ACT should grade so many type of answer sheets, the equipments they use should be as fast as feasible. One means of ensuring rate is to usage the specific exact same devices for eexceptionally single exam. Plus, If the SAT and ACT are just grading the precise very same size and also weight of paper with the specific very same sort of marks, it is much less likely that misanalysis errors will occur, and also accuracy is an also more important factor than speed!

Pencils Down!

“But I bet I deserve to obtain ameans with it!” you can be protrial and error. You might have actually heard rumors of test takers making use of various other grade pencils, mechanical pencils, pens, or also colored pencils, through no errors. While various other devices miiiight slide via undetected and still develop some correct answers, it’s an unnecessary risk you don’t must concern around.

Using anything other than the recommended tool simply isn’t smart! If someone told you an easy means to gain a higher score on the SAT or ACT, you’d listen, right? Using the recommfinished tool is a very basic way to ensure a more accurate score. SAT or ACT test day is not the moment to test the borders of what you deserve to acquire amethod via. It’s much better to be safe than sorry on something as vital as the SAT or ACT.

When Crystal accidentally used a #1 illustration pencil to fill out her scantron sheet, the machine wasn’t calibrated to check out her responses. Due to the misreading errors on almost eextremely line, the machine developed a really low grade. Of course, Crystal’s teacher realized that the scanning machine hadn’t effectively review the answer sheet, and Crystal was able to take back the exam. But, that won’t take place on an ACT or SAT. Once your answer sheet is scored, you’re stuck! Don’t possibly reduced your score with a misread answer sheet when the SAT and also ACT have currently told you exactly what you have to usage. Happy penciling! *If you’re curious, here’s an approximate conversion from letter to number pencil grades: #1 = B, #2 = HB, #2½ = F, #3 = H, #4 = 2H.