September 26, 2017

How to Create Your Own SAT/ACT-Approved Timing Device

Update: I've added information about screwdrivers you can buy to open up your watch.

If the watch that you use as a timer makes any noise, your ACT or SAT proctor may confiscate it and threaten to cancel your scores.

The "silent" setting removes a watch's hourly chime but usually doesn't disable the stopwatch function's beeping sounds. carries silent watches, but you're not likely to find a silent watch within driving distance. Fortunately, you can turn any $10 watch into a silent one by physically disabling its speaker.

I now offer a watch repair service in case you don't want to do this yourself. Ask me about it during your next tutoring session!

Put a piece of tape over the circular speaker on the watch's back cover and replace the cover.
The instructions below, written by a student at College Confidential, describe how to physically remove your existing wristwatch's speaker in only three minutes. The modification won't harm the watch in any other way.
Using one of those small screwdrivers, you can pop open the back cover (really, really simple). Once you do this, the back cover will actually have a yellow, circular piece of paper taped to it.... Almost EVERY digital watch has this piece of paper glued onto the back cover. All you need to do is peel it off with a knife.

You're done: all you neeed to do now is screw the back cover back on. This should all take 3 minutes; it's extremely simple. 
If you don't have a screwdriver small enough for the screws on your watch, pick up a $2 eyeglass repair kit at Safeway (flat-head only) or a precision screwdriver set at any hardware store (flat-head and Phillips head).

The circular piece of paper the student describes is the watch's piezo speaker. Visit this watch repair page if you want to learn more.

I opened up my own watch and removed a spring that would otherwise complete the electrical circuit that contains the speaker. (If you remove the spring, replace it with some pieces of Kleenex to create some pressure inside the watch so that the watch's buttons still work.) Destroying the speaker as the student suggested is crude but equally effective. A third solution is to cover the speaker with Scotch tape, breaking the circuit between the speaker and the rest of the watch.

The College Board takes its testing rules seriously. Make sure you modify your watch before test day to avoid any problems!


Post a Comment