As an Amazon Associate I 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?
The number 2 pencils work the best. Generally, it depends on how you are using the pencils on Scantrons. Whether you use mechanical or regular pencils, the mark on the sheet must be sufficiently dark. If the pencil can create dark cores, it will be suitable for Scantrons.
However, there are numerous mechanical pencils and other aspects to Scantrons. If you are concerned about using the appropriate pencil and technique in your test paper, you should know the details. Let’s get a clear understanding of mechanical pencils and scantrons.
Table of Contents
Do Mechanical Pencils Work on Scantrons?
Mechanical pencils can create a dark mark on the circle that is suitable for use. But these pencils have different types, and there are also 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 number 1 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.
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 definitely 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 a little bit 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 absolutely okay.
What Pencils Are Best for Scantrons?
All pencils are not appropriate to write 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 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 to use 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 scantron sheet. But all mechanical pencils are not suitable. Mechanical pencils also have different lead thicknesses and shades. Mechanical pencils containing number 2 lead can do well on scantrons.
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 hard that they can create darker circle on the scantron paper. Some leads are so soft that they can’t create a perfect circle.
If you can create sufficiently dark circles on the sheet, the lead pencil will be okay. Using a number 2, 2B, or HB lead pencil will be recommended for use on scantrons.
What Lead Works on Scantrons?
Number 2 lead pencil works the best on Scantrons. The fact is, many other shades of lead can work well, but you have to apply techniques. If you can put enough pressure on the pencil, other shades of lead will also work. But you can use a number 2 lead pencil without any difficulty or much effort.
Generally, number 2 pencils are considered HB pencils. Moreover, this lead with a 0.5 mm diameter will work best. 0.5 mm wide is wide enough to fill the circles quickly. 0.7 mm is a bit wider than 0.5 mm lead. 0.7 mm will also be okay.
So, pencil leads with a number 2 and a diameter of 0.5 to 0.7 mm will work best on Scantron.
Does 0.7 Lead Work on Scantrons?
The 0.7 means the diameter of the lead in millimeters. This diameter is wide enough to write smoothly. Generally, 0.5 mm is the minimum diameter recommended for Scantrons. But 0.5 will take more time to fill the circles on the sheet.
So, 0.7 mm of lead will fill the circle quickly. Moreover, 0.7 mm lead is strong enough to write on the sheet without being soft. Besides, 0.7 mm diameter lead is considered in the number 2 category of pencils. Since you know number 2 is the best lead for Scantrons, a 0.7 lead will be perfect for sure.
Writing on Scantrons is one of the most essential parts of our exams and tests. So, the writing equipment must be appropriate. For example, pencils are the most widely used equipment on the writing sheet. So, confusion about the pencil is an important concern. Using mechanical pencils on scantrons is perfectly fine as long as you use the correct lead.
Generally, #2 number pencils are recommended. So, if you have a mechanical pencil with a #2 lead, you can use it on Scantrons. But while using a mechanical pencil, make sure not to rip the paper with the lead. Otherwise, if the filled circles on the paper are dark enough, using mechanical pencils will be okay.