Do Mechanical Pencils Work on Scantrons?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More.

Doesn’t Scantron remind you of your test or exam? When it comes to performing tests with pencils, the use of an appropriate pencil can be a matter of concern. Because the machine that reads scantrons is designed to read only darkly marked pencil dots. For this reason, people often think, do mechanical pencils work on Scantrons? Yes, it works. In fact, any pencil works on scantrons.

If you have a number 2 pencil, it’ll work the best. Generally, the usability depends on how you are using the pencils on the sheet. For example, having a thick lead would help you fill the bubble quickly. On the contrary, thin wooden pencils might force you to work extra.

Some people take things one step ahead. They tend to use pens on a scantron test paper. You should avoid this. It’s because the scanner’s sensor won’t be able to pick up the pen-ink. So, if you fill the circle with a pen, you might get a big zero on the test. Hence, take a pencil and an eraser and you’re fine. 

Okay, now, let’s talk business. Which mechanical pencils should you use on Scantrons? Well, to understand that you should dive deep and know a few details. Don’t worry, I’m here for you. Let’s get a clear understanding of mechanical pencils and scantrons.

Do Mechanical Pencils Work on Scantrons?

Mechanical pencils can create a dark mark on the circle that is suitable for use. But these pencils come in different brands, nip-sizes, and price. Also, there are some restrictions on using these pencils in some tests.

However, most times, you can use a mechanical pencil on Scantrons. Here’s why:

1. Dark Graphite Mark

When using a pencil lead on scantrons, the shade or mark must be sufficiently dark. If the mark is too light, the Scantron machine will not read the mark. So, you must choose a pencil that can create a dark graphite mark.

Similarly, mechanical pencils have graphite leads that will create a dark mark on the paper. If you can use the appropriate pressure on the paper and make the mark dark enough, mechanical pencils will be completely okay.

2. Lead Hardness

The hardness of lead in pencils is generally categorized by numbers. For example, the number 1 pencil is the hardest and darkest one. Numbers 2, 3, and 4 are less hard and dark than number 1. Mechanical pencils are also categorized in this system.

If you use the number 2, it will be suitable to write on Scantrons. But, what happens if you don’t use a number 2 pencil on a scantron? the answer is, if you use number 1, it will be too dark, and you can’t remove the mark easily. On the other hand, numbers 3 and 4 will not be dark enough. So, if you use a number 2 mechanical pencil, it will not create any problems with Scantrons.

3. Modern Scantron Technology

Modern Scantron technology is so updated that it can easily read pencil markings. The main function of the technology is to identify the darkest circle on the scantrons. So, whether the pencil is normal or mechanical, a modern machine will read the darkest circle.

4. Writing Technique

Sometimes, we don’t put much pressure while filling the circle. So, the circle is not filled with enough darkness, and the Scantron reading machine can’t identify the answer. If you apply enough pressure and make the right circle dark enough, there will not be any problem using a mechanical pencil. But don’t put so much pressure on the pencil that it rips the paper.

Keep Reading: 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils Reviews in 2024

Can You Use a Mechanical Pencil on Scantron Effectively?

You might hear the rumor about the effectiveness of using a mechanical pencil on Scantron. But if you choose the right mechanical pencil and know about the application process, you can use it.

The Scantron reading machine uses technology that allows it to read the darkest circle of all. So, if you can make the circle dark enough with a mechanical pencil, why wouldn’t you use it?

You have to choose the number 2 mechanical pencil that has the perfect lead hardness and darkness to write. Moreover, you have to apply enough pressure to make the circle dark.

While using the mechanical pencil, you just need to be sure of some things. For example, you will need more time than when using a normal pencil because the lead of a mechanical pencil is thinner than a regular one.

Moreover, ensure that the paper is not ripped while using a mechanical pencil. Other than these, using a mechanical pencil is okay.

Keep Reading: How to Get an Eraser Out of a Mechanical Pencil?

What Pencils Are Best for Scantrons?

All pencils are not appropriate for writing on scantrons. Scantron is so important for the exams that you must know which pencils you can use. Here are some types of pencils that you can use on Scantrons.

2B pencil

2B pencils are regular pencils, and 2B means a grade of pencil. Generally, 2B is in the category of darker shades. While writing on a scantron sheet, you must make the circle dark enough. So, a 2B pencil will do the job properly.

Number 2 pencil

Generally, the number 2 pencil is recommended since it has a perfect shade. Number 2 is similar to HB pencils. With number 2 pencils, you can fill the circle faster since the lead is wider.

Mechanical pencil

You can also use a mechanical pencil on a scantron sheet. But all mechanical pencils are not suitable. Mechanical pencil leads have different thicknesses and they come in many shades. You can use those that come with a number 2 lead. It works well on scantrons.

Keep Reading: Is Mechanical Pencil Lead Toxic?

Can You Use a Lead Pencil on Scantron?

It depends on the grade of the lead pencil. Generally, pencils have different categories of leads and shades. If the lead has enough hardness and darkness, you can use it.

For example, lead pencils are categorized from 2B to 9B and 2H to 9H. These leads come in a variety of colors and hardnesses. Some leads are so tight that they can create darker circles on the scantron paper. On the contrary, some are so soft that they can’t create a perfect circle.

If you can create sufficiently dark circles on the sheet, the pencil is okay to use. Applying this logic, using a number 2, 2B, or HB is recommended to use on the special. Also, try to bring an eraser to erase extra pencil marks. And never do any funny business with colored pencils here. 

Which Lead Work on Scantrons?

Number 2 lead pencil would work the best on Scantrons. It works fine with putting in much effort. The fact is, many other shades also can work well like the number 3 pencil. But with others, you have to apply different techniques. If you can put enough pressure on the pencil, other shades of lead will also work. 

Generally, 2 pencils are considered HB pencils. It comes with an HB lead of a 0.5 mm diameter. The lead diameter is wide enough to fill the circles quickly without sharpening much. Also, you can use a wider pencil such as 0.7 mm. But wider ones tend to leave smudges on the standardized test draft. 

In conclusion, use a number 2 pencil that has a lead diameter between 0.5 to 0.7 mm. It will work best on the scantron form.

Does 0.7 Lead Work on Scantrons?

Pencils and Scantrons are duos made in heaven. You can use any pencil with any lead diameter. Hence, 0.7 lead should work just fine. The number is wide enough to write smoothly on the scantron bubble. Generally, 0.5 mm is the minimum number recommended for the sheet. But the less the number, the more time it’ll take to fill the bubble.

So, 0.7 mm of lead will fill the circle more quickly than 0.5. Moreover, 0.7 mm lead is stronger to write on the sheet without being soft. For this reason, the lead is used in number 2 pencils. And you know that number 2 is the best for the cause.

Final Words

Filling Scantron bubbles is one of the most essential parts of exams these days. So, having the correct writing utensil is a must. In this article, we tried to debunk the whole situation for mechanical pencils.

We talked about the science behind scantrons and how it works.So, if you’ve gone through the whole article, you’d know using mechanical pencils on the sheet won’t be a problem. Just like any pencil, mechanical pencils work alright filling scantron bubbles.

Related Posts:

Leave a Comment