As times have continued to change, sending kids back to school has become more of a hassle than it ever was before. Although as a child, Kleenex, and crayons can sometimes rule the list, it is much different for high school aged students. The two final years of high school are not a time to slack off. The 11th and 12th grade are two of the most critical years of high school. Although the students get older, supplies are still an essential part of finishing out their time in high school strong. If you are looking for a comprehensive list, look no further. This 11th and 12th grade school supply list will feature not only general school supplies but supplies for AP courses, bundles, calculators, backpacks, and so much more. You won’t find the typical items like Kleenex and paper towels. This upperclassman school supply list will help you get over the blues and find everything you need. We are here to take the stress away from school shopping.
What We Review
Must Have General 11th and 12th Grade School Supplies
- Did someone say the SATs are coming? No matter how old your student gets, pens and pencils will always be high school essentials for any school supply list. Not only will you need #2 pencils for standardized tests like the SATs, but mechanical pencils are also a great way to go for older children. They allow the same ease of use without continually needing to carry a pencil sharpener, which can be scarce in upper-level classrooms. BIC Xtra -Life Mechanical Pencils are great because not only are they standard number 2 pencils perfect for a standardized test, they allow for smooth writing with clean erasing. They are great for everyday use, and all you need to change is the .7mm lead. If you are looking for something of higher quality, the Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical Pencil is just that. This pencil features lead rotating technology, which ensures that you are always writing with constant thinness and density. Jump down to the best utensils section for more suggestion on pens and pencils.
- Write your heart out. Aside from pencils, pens are a necessity for almost any upper-level school supply list. Many teachers suggest buying black and blue. A red option is generally welcome as well. If you are looking to remain cost-effective and buy in bulk, the BIC Soft Feel Ball Pens are a great option. Not only do they come in boxes of 12, but they are also equipped with rubber barrels for ease of use and comfort, retractable and provide a fine point. If your student is a fan of erasable pens, Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens are a perfect alternative. These gel pens come in a variety of colors and erase with the ease of a pencil. They are also retractable for ease of use.
- Paper, no plastic. Paper is needed no matter what grade level you fall in. In the 11th and 12th grade, it is requested that students have college ruled loose leaf paper. There are several brands that you can choose from; however, any of them would work as they ultimately provide the same functionality. Mead remains the most popular. Aside from looseleaf notebook paper, notebooks are a must. Many high school courses request spiral bound notebooks. These should also be college ruled. To avoid buying multiple notebooks that may or may not get used, multi-subject notebooks are a great option. 2 – subject, 3- subject, four subject and even 5 are a great way to keep all your information organized and easy to carry. As with the looseleaf paper, there are a variety of brands and price ranges you can choose from when purchasing notebooks. If you are looking for a cheaper option, Mead 1 Subject Spiral is a great alternative. If you are looking for something with a bit more durability, Five Star provides many products from 1 subject and up.
- Color your life. If you thought your student was done annotating and actively reading, you were mistaken. Highlighters are not only needed for studying but also marking passages and texts given in class or within textbooks. Although you can grab highlighters from your local dollar store, I can guarantee that they won’t last the whole school year or for that matter, even half. A great basic highlighter that will fulfill your student’s highlighting needs is the BIC Brite Liner Highlighter with Chisel Tip. BIC highlighters are available in the standard array of colors: yellow, green and pink. If the standard is not your style, Zebra Pen Mildliner, Double Ended Highlighters with Broad and Fine Tips are available in an array of colors. Aside from being double ended for highlighting and underlining, they are also water resistant and quick drying. Another option would be the Sharpie Clear View highlighters which are available in mini and regular size, which allows students to see what they are highlighting as they do clearly.
- Folding? Organization is an integral part of successfully getting through high school. There is nothing worse than shuffling through loose papers in your bookbag looking for the homework you spent hours working on. For this reason, folders are a necessity. Folders come in all forms and durabilities. If students are opting to keep their folders in binders, hole punched folders are an option as well as folders without them. They also give you a place to store your loose leaf paper when not in use. Five Star Pocket Folders come equipped with not just two pockets but 4. They also are pre-punched and heavy duty for durability. They can be easily placed in a three-ring binder or the likes.
- Is it in the plan? Although many schools will provide planners for their students, some do not. Although not a traditional item, it is most certainly a tremendous helpmate. Many students attribute their success in high school and beyond to their consistent use of their planner. Having a place not only to write assignments, keep track of test dates and homework assignments is excellent for not just high school but preparing for college. Planners can get reasonably pricey so therefore make sure you gage the need of your student before making an expensive mistake. For the casual planner, you may opt for something simple that you can grab from your local department store or Amazon. The Clever Fox Planner is perfect for the busy and organized student. Not only does it come in an un-dated format, but it also features habit trackers, daily priorities, schedules, and even allows you to do a productivity review to see where you can improve, the next day. The planner also comes equipped with pages for things like mind maps and goal strategies.
- Don’t mess up. Nothing you do will be perfect. It’s natural to make mistakes. However, we don’t want those mistakes leaving permanent marks on us or our work. Much of your student’s high school course work will be done in pen unless otherwise noted. Therefore, a great white-out is a must. Great white-out can take two forms of liquid or tape form. Although tape form is an option, it is not the neatest or cleanest method of correction. The tape can sometimes wrinkle, smudge, or be pulled up entirely. Liquid forms of white-out are the best bet for coverage. BIC Wite-Out Correction Fluid or BIC Wite-Out Shake ‘n Squeeze Correction Pens are great options for correcting mistakes. Pens provide students with the flexibility to be stored nearly anywhere without the worry of spills or leaks.
Must-Have School Supplies for AP Classes in 11th and 12th Grade
- Composition notebooks are necessary for AP courses. They allow students to have a notebook filled with information on pages that can not easily be ripped out. For the student taking more than 1 AP course the AmazonBasics College Ruled Composition Notebook 4pk or the Mead Composition Book, 6 Pack of Cute Notebooks, College Ruled are perfect. They allow students the option of color coding their courses and can even be matched with a specific colored folder for cohesiveness.
- A graphing calculator is also a necessity when taking AP courses. Although some instructors have strict rules governing if a calculator can be used or not, many teachers request for students taking AP Calculus to have the TI Nspire. This calculator can be pricey; therefore, it’s essential to check with the student’s instructor to make sure you are purchasing the correct calculator model as there are many variations of this calculator. If your student is taking AP Physics, the calculator must have trigonometry functions. If you’re taking the SAT or ACT, check out our post on the best calculators for those exams here.
- Storing your papers somewhere safe is a must in AP courses as they will be needed later when studying for your exams. For this reason, AP courses like Spanish, Psychology, and English all require three ring binders between the sizes of 1.5 to 2 inches. iScholar Xpression Poly Flex View Binder is perfect for your AP courses. Not only is it flexible, but it also comes with an inside pocket to store extra papers. See below for more binder suggestions below.
- If your student is an artist and taking AP Art, a sketchbook is a necessity. A standard 11×14 spiral bound sketchbook is needed for all of your coursework. There are several sketchbook options that you can choose from however Canson Artist Series Universal Paper Sketch Pad comes highly recommended. It can be used with charcoal and pencil. The side perforation also allows the student to rip pages from the book without the ragged edges.
- Binder dividers are needed for nearly all AP courses. Since binders will be used in almost all AP classes, it’s only right that there are dividers to keep your papers labeled and organized. Avery is most commonly known for their dividers and binder resources. The Avery 8-Tab Ultralast Plastic Binder Dividers, Multicolor Big Tabs are sturdy and versatile. You can write directly on the tabs with a pen or pencil and erase it later for a new course. These plastic dividers are colored around the edges and clear in the middle to show the first page of every section.
- Folders are an essential school supply when going into an AP course. Although the actual test is closer to the end of the year, organization is key to ensuring that you have all of the items needed to succeed. Students can use folders of varying colors or styles for specific AP courses. If your student wants their folder to fit inside their course-specific binder, opt for folders which are three-hole punched. COMIX 2 Pocket Letter Size Poly File Portfolio Folder with 3-Hole Punch is perfect for fitting into binders. If fitting into a binder is not a necessity the AmazonBasics Heavy Duty Plastic Folders with 2 Pockets for Letter Size Paper comes in a pack of 12 and can easily last from the 11th grade into the 12th.
- Annotating is done consistently in AP courses. It is the one thing that you can guarantee that your student will be doing. To do so effectively, they will need the perfect highlighters. As previously mentioned, Sharpie Clear View highlighters have a clear tip which allows you to highlight evenly and precisely. They allow you to draw thin lines for underlying information as well as thick lines for highlighting. The Clear View Sharpies also come with smear guard technology which resists the smudging of marker or pen ink. The slim barrel design is also perfect for comfort and ease of use.
The Best Bulk School Supply Bundles for 11th and 12th Grade
- The Sharpie, Paper Mate, Expo – Writing Essentials Kit comes filled with all your writing, annotating, and test taking needs. The 20-item bundle comes filled with items from name brands Sharpie, Expo, and Papermate. This bundle comes with black, blue and red pens, three yellow highlighters, 2 felt tip pens, two sharpies (a full tip and a fine tip), two erasers and three mechanical pencils. It also comes with a dry erase marker with a double head. This pack is perfect if you need writing supplies.
- If you’re looking for the best bundle which incorporates the majority of the items you will find on your student’s high school supply list for 11th grade, look no further. The School Supply Bundle for Middle to High School Students is your best value. This set comes filled with pencils, pens, index cards, and even notebooks. With this bundle, you won’t have to worry about missing any of the essentials. From storage to writing utensils everything on the 12th and 11th grade supply list is handled.
- The 35 Item Back to School Supplies – High School, Middle School Bundle, is another great all in one pack for your student. Folders, pens, and notebooks are only a few of the items in this back to school steal. It even comes with a pack of graphing paper for all of their mathematical needs. All of the paper included aside from the graphing paper is college-ruled. The only thing missing from this package is a calculator.
The Best Backpacks for 11th and 12th Grade School Supplies
- If you are looking for a bag that is simple yet durable with an okay warranty policy, a JanSport backpack is the way to go. These bags are on the simple side and can vary in price point by design. The JanSport Superbreak Backpack is reasonably priced, available in an array of colors and lightweight enough for everyday use. If you are looking for something a bit more sturdy and still reasonably priced the JanSport TDN7 Big Student Backpack is the perfect option. Although similar in look, it comes with more space and more pockets. Regardless of which bag you choose all JanSport backpacks are equipped with a lifetime warranty, making them one of the best school supplies for high school.
- If you are looking for a bag that will last your student into their college years, North Face is the way to go. Many students and highly recommend The North Face backpacks for their durability and size. The North Face Recon Backpack is perfect for your high schooler. Not only does it come in a wide array of colors, but it is also equipped with a laptop sleeve for secure transportation of electronics. It comes with molded shoulder straps and a padded air mesh back for a comfortable carry and back support. Although it is a bit pricey, it will last your student well into their college years. If purchased from an authorized The North Face reseller it includes a lifetime warranty.
- The North Face Vault backpack is stylish and available in several different hues. It also comes equipped with a 15” padded laptop sleeve, internal organizer and water bottle pocket. The padded straps provide ease of comfort on a bad which can be used for school and beyond. This book is large enough to fit books and binders. It also comes with an exterior accessory clip.
The Best Calculators for 11th and 12th Grade
- As a junior or senior students are now given the option to take higher level math courses. Although a TI-83 may be acceptable for classes like Algebra or Pre-Calculus, these higher level courses often come with stipulations in regards to what calculator can be used. Tests like the SAT also give specific direction for what calculators are accepted. The TI-84 is the most common scientific calculator and most widely accepted. The TI-Nspire is one that has most recently been requested by some AP Calculus courses. It also comes equipped with a full-color screen and in some versions, rechargeable batteries. The screen is 320 x 240 pixels, and the battery can last up to 2 weeks on a single charge. The TI Nspire is thin, lightweight and can easily fit into your backpack or zippered binder. If you are looking to ensure the calculator is protected, a hard carrying case and screen protector can even be purchased to complement your calculator. Before committing to any calculator, make sure to check the SAT guidelines here to determine if your version is acceptable.
- While some schools accept the use of graphing calculators, others do not; if your student’s school happens to fall in this category, the Casio FX-991 is an excellent option. It shows information as it would be shown in your student’s textbook and allows you to step backward through previous calculations. It also comes equipped with more than 280 functions. This includes functions for statistics, standard deviation, and much more. If you are looking to stay in the Texas Instruments family, the TI-36X Pro is another highly recommended option. It comes with the ability to do multiview displays and calculate multiple equations simultaneously. It is ideal for use in high school and colleges where graphing calculators are not accepted.
- If neither of the above-listed options is a necessity for your student, a standard calculator with basic mathematical functions can be purchased anywhere from Amazon to Walmart. The Casio SL-300SV Solar Powered Standard Function Calculator is great for basic use. It boasts an eight digit display with 16-digit approximation. The screen and buttons are large and easy to read. The calculator is also solar powered with a battery backup. If your student opts for a calculator with a little more personality, the Casio SL-300VC Standard Function Calculator comes in 5 different colors.
The Best Writing Utensils for 11th and 12th Grade (3-4)
- One of the most top rated writing utensils are the Uni-ball 33932PP Jetstream Rollerball Pens. These pens are great for note-taking. They are quick drying to prevent smears and come in an assortment of colors. The uni Super ink used in these pens protects against fading, water, and even fraud. The pens are stainless steel for a polished look and come with an embossed grip. The quick-drying functionality that these pens include makes them great for left-handed individuals.
- If you are looking for a high-end mechanical pencil, the Rotring Rapid Pro Mechanical Pencil is it. This pencil is not only great for sketching or drawing, but it is also long-lasting. It comes equipped with a sliding sleeve for the comfort of writing. It also boasts a built-in sharpener under its push button cap. This pencil can use lead in 3 different sizes, 0.5 mm, 0.7mm, and 2.0mm. It also comes with a 2-year warranty from the purchase date.
- Another great pen for note taking is the Zebra F-301 Retractable Ballpoint Pen. Your student never has to worry about this easy glide pen stalling. The stainless steel finish on this pen boasts a high-quality design which is lightweight and attractive. This pen is also refillable, so you never have to worry about tossing it away.
The Best Binders for 11th and 12th Grade Binder Organization
- Depending on your student’s style, some choose not to bring a backpack and simply carry a binder. When going the no bag route a 3-4 inch durable, zippered binder is a must. This allows enough space for your supplies to be free from the elements and still organized. The Case-it King Sized Zip Tab 4-Inch D-Ring Zipper Binder is a great alternative. This binder comes with a five tab file pocket folder. It also includes an outside zipper to reach the file tab. A handle and shoulder strap are also included for ease of carrying.
- If your student is looking for a binder for a single course, everyday use the Five Star Flex Hybrid binder is another excellent option. The Techlock rings guarantee that they won’t break or misalign. It comes pre-filled with seven tabbed pocket dividers and 70 sheets of college ruled notebook paper. The 1.5-inch option will hold up to 300 sheets of paper.
- Staples Better Binders come highly recommended for their durability. These traditional hardcover binders come in a variety of colors and sizes. The size of these binders ranges from 1 inch to 5 inches. They come with a flexible spine as well as one pocket to keep you organized. The binder can also be customized with a removable spine label for ease of identification. Each size also holds up to 25% more pages than conventional binders.
The Best Study Tools for 11th and 12th Grade School Supplies
- Post Its are a great study tool when you need to quickly remember information, write vital information from a passage or book, and even bookmark a page. Post-Its come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and can be stuck anywhere for ease of use. From small to large, they are a great helper when studying. Opt for smaller post-it notes like Post-it Notes, Mini Notes, 24 Pads for doing things like annotating spots in text or flagging locations in the text. Use standard or large size post-it notes for creating lists or writing vital information.
- Making flashcards is one of the most recommended study strategies for some courses. Although using regular paper is an option, there is nothing worse than opening your bag to see that the flash cards you spent so much time making are torn, crushed or even stained because of the flimsy paper that was used. Index cards are an excellent alternative for not just flashcards but note-taking as well. Students are no longer limited to the plane white lined cards. They now come in a variety of colors and sizes, as well as being spiral bound or loose. They are the perfect study aid for any student. Oxford Neon Index Cards, 3″ x 5″, Ruled, Assorted Colors, 300 Per Pack are the ideal index cards for students. They are a standard size but provide an array of color.
- As mentioned previously, highlighters are a tool that will get a plethora of use from students. They can be used to color code notes, text, or even note cards. If highlighters are not your student’s thing, gel pens would also be great for color coding information. They come in a variety of colors and can be used like any normal pen.
- Although a non-traditional item, noise-canceling headphones are perfect for getting the most from a study session. Classical music or music without lyrics can be a great helpmate for retaining information and staying focused. There are several options for quality headphones. If you are looking for something on the lower end of your budget, the COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Bluetooth Headphones are a perfect alternative. They come equipped with a built-in microphone for hands-free calling and allow for 30 hours of playtime for a single charge. They come with an 18-month warranty. If you are willing to spend a little more for a higher quality headphone the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices and Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH-CH700N: Wireless Bluetooth Over the Ear Headphones with Mic and One Touch Control are two higher quality alternatives. The Sony headphones allow for tuned noise cancellation with the push of one button. They also fold and can easily be placed in a backpack or messenger bag. The Bose headphones deliver a rich sound through a wired package. They are chosen based on the student’s cellular phone type. They also give students the ability to control music and calls with the inline remote.
Shopping for students is never easy. You must often choose between quality, cost, and necessity. It’s important to remember that no course is the same or requires the same materials. From AP Art History to pre-calc, each student has a different course load. Depending on your student’s course load, some items may need to be added or omitted. You’re your student will need is ultimately up to the discretion of the instructor. Be sure to check in with your student’s school to ensure that you are not missing any specialty items. This high school supply list for 11th grade and 12th-grade students is full of everything from study aids to writing supplies within some different price points. Your 11th or 12 graders will thank you for providing not only their necessities but also durable items that are unique to the style of your student.
Want to look up what you need for other grades? Check out our other school supply lists:
- The Best 8th Grade School Supply List
- The Best 9th Grade School Supply List
- The Best 10th Grade School Supply List