The SAT is a standardized test used by colleges and universities in the United States as one factor of the application process. In recent years, the SAT has undergone a significant transformation with the introduction of a digital version of the exam. Starting in the spring of 2024, all students around the world will take the SAT digitally, meaning the traditional pen-and-paper exam will no longer be offered. This article aims to provide you with a thorough overview of the digital SAT exam, including its format, advantages, preparation tips, and things to consider.
When Will the SAT Go Digital?
For international students, the SAT will be fully digital starting Spring 2023. For students in the U.S., the exam will go digital in Spring 2024. However, PSAT will go digital before the SAT in the U.S., starting Fall 2023. According to the College Board SAT test date schedule, the final paper SAT exam in the U.S. will be held on December 2, 2023 and the first digital SAT exam will be held on March 9, 2024.
Format of the New Digital SAT
The digital SAT exam is administered through a computer-based application. Like the pen-and-paper exam, the test consists of four main sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (No Calculator), and Math (Calculator). The essay section, which is optional, is not part of the digital format and is available only in the paper-based SAT.
What is Changing?
It will be fully digital
You will be taking the exam fully digital on a tablet or a computer. You can bring your own device or request to borrow from the College Board.
The Digital SAT will take take an adaptive format
In the new adaptive format, the Verbal and Math sections will have two modules. The difficulty of the second module will be adjusted according to students’ performance on the first one.
The test will be shorter
The digital SAT will be two hours, shortened from three hours in the previous SAT. There will be only two sections, Reading & Writing and Math. The reading passages will be shorter with only one question for each passage instead of multiple questions. Although the total duration is reduced, students will have more time per each question.
Students can use a calculator throughout the entire Math section of the digital SAT. There will be onscreen calculators built in on the app.
Scores will be delivered faster
Students will receive their scores in a matter of days instead of weeks.
Advantages of the Digital SAT
The digital format allows for more accessibility, providing accommodations for students with disabilities, such as enlarged text, screen readers, or other technological assistance.
Instant Score Reporting
Unlike the pen-and-paper exam, which requires students to wait around two weeks for scores, the digital SAT provides instant score reporting for the multiple-choice sections. This assists students in making timely decisions on whether or not they need to retake the exam, and thus makes their study process more efficient.
The digital format offers adaptive features, meaning the difficulty level of questions can adjust based on the student’s performance. This tailored experience provides a more accurate assessment of a student’s abilities.
Familiarize Yourself with the Digital Format
Spend time practicing with the digital exam, which includes navigating through the sections, flagging questions for review, and using the built-in calculator. Having a strong sense of familiarity with the tools will help you save time and minimize distractions during the exam.
Practice Time Management
Since the digital format does not allow you to go back to previous sections, it is essential to manage time effectively. Practice timed mock tests to improve your pacing and ensure you complete each section within the given time.
Utilize Online Resources
You can take advantage of online resources, such as practice tests, sample questions, and study guides to prepare for the digital SAT. These resources will help you get a feel for the digital format and identify areas where you need improvement. For the most similar experience as the digital SAT, check out TheSATCrashCourse’s Digital SAT Practice Test that emulates the new format of the digital SAT such as the fully digital test environment and the sections using adaptive modules. The practice tests aim to provide students with the practical test-taking skills that will help them become competitive in the new change.
Things to Consider
Equipment and Internet Requirements
Make sure you have access to a reliable computer or laptop and a stable internet connection. It may be of use to study with the device you will be using to take the exam. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the technical requirements specified by the test administrators to avoid any technical difficulties on the day of the exam. You do not want to enter the testing center on exam day only to find out that your device is ineligible for the SAT.
It is important to simulate testing conditions as closely as possible when studying. Choose a quiet and comfortable environment where you can concentrate without distractions.
The digital SAT exam offers a series of benefits, including enhanced accessibility, instant score reporting, and personalized testing experience. By familiarizing yourself with the digital format, learning to manage your time efficiently, and utilizing your resources, you can prepare for the exam effectively. Make sure to consider the equipment requirements and create an optimal test environment to ensure a smooth digital SAT experience.