Can Kids Use the Bathroom During Standardized Tests?

Standardized tests have strict rules and high standards, sometimes not allowing bathroom breaks. This has caused some problems, so different tests have developed different rules.

Students can use the bathroom during standardized tests during the designated breaks. If they don’t go during the break, many testing policies prohibit students from leaving the room. This differs depending on the kind of test and if the test is in-person or remotely-proctored.

Continue reading to learn when kids can use the bathroom while taking a standardized test.

Types of Tests

There are several different types of standardized tests, but the most common ones are the GED, SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT, and state standardized tests that are administered in grade school. They all have different purposes and are taken at different points in students’ schooling. They are taken to determine placement in high school, college, and beyond college. (Source)


The GED stands for General Education Development and is taken by students who have either dropped out of high school and want to get a substitute for their high school degree, or students that have been homeschooled and need proof of their qualifications to move onto college.

When taking the GED, the number of breaks you get depends on how many subjects you are taking in a day. When you schedule more than one section in a day, you will automatically get a 10-minute break in between each one. You must sign up for breaks yourself, or you will not get any. (Source)


The SAT and ACT stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test and American College Testing. They are taken in high school, usually during the student’s junior year before they start applying to colleges.

Each test is scored differently, but both are used to determine how much a student knows. Of course, they aren’t completely accurate since not every student is a great test taker, but to a degree the score means something.

Colleges use the scores to determine admission and scholarships. Each state only requires one, but students have the opportunity to take both. Colleges typically have no preference over which score they would like admitted.

During the SAT you can only go to the bathroom during scheduled breaks, which are held in between each of the three sections. The first break is 10 minutes long, and the second break is 5 minutes long. Each section is 60 minutes long. If students get up and leave at any point of the test, without a break, their test will be canceled and they will have to retake it at a later date. (Source)

For the ACT, there are also scheduled breaks in between each section, but students can also take additional breaks during the test. They will not be able to make up lost time if they go to the bathroom outside of the break. (Source)


The LSAT stands for Law School Admission Test, and it is required to get into law school. There are four sections and in between the second and third sections, there is a 10-minute break, whether you are taking the test in person or remotely.

If you are taking the test remotely, you need to check back in with the proctor to start the test again, or you will have to register for the test again. If you are taking the LSAT in person with a pencil and paper you can request ahead of time more breaks, with or without disability. (Source)

The MCAT stands for Medical College Admissions Test and is required to get into medical school. Restroom rules are similar to the ACT, as there are designated breaks, but you can go without a break and lose time. There are 10-minute breaks between each section and a 30-minute lunch break after the CARS section. (Source)

When it comes to state testing, there aren’t many rules because the students are in grade school. State testing is merely used to show the improvement of students over time. Students are usually allowed to go to the bathroom, but some rules are more strict than usual, like timing how long and how frequent a student’s bathroom breaks are. It is usually left up to the school’s faculty.

Remotely Proctored

Recently since the pandemic, tests taken remotely proctored have become much more common. Of all the remote tests I have taken, I was not allowed to go to the bathroom. I had to stay in front of the screen, or the video would make note of me leaving the room. However, some remotely proctored tests allow students to leave the room. When they come back they just need to rescan the room and go back to the test.

Back in 2020 when we were new to remote tests, there was a controversy with the LSAT. Students taking the test remotely were not allowed bathroom breaks during the several hour’s long tests. This resulted in very angry students, as some had to pee in a bucket or bottle while keeping their eyes on the screen. (Source)

Opinions and Concerns

In grade school, teachers are usually more concerned with the student than what score they get on the test. Teachers allow students to go to the bathroom but there are more rules. They may only let one student go at a time, or only allow a certain number of breaks.

In Texas, a school hired substitute teachers to stand by the bathrooms and make sure students weren’t cheating. Every teacher, school, and state has their own opinion on bathroom breaks during tests. However, they can’t deny the student’s right to use the bathroom. (Source)

In the end, a teacher would much rather have a student cheat than wet their pants. When it comes to kids, teachers are a lot more lenient than in college. If a student goes to the bathroom without asking, they probably won’t get in trouble. Standardized tests in elementary school won’t determine a student’s future like the ACT or MCAT. Some teachers are stricter than others, and it all depends on the severity of the test.