According to College Board, 1.7 million high school students took the SAT at least once in 2022. Are you planning to take it soon?
If so, it’s smart to prepare ahead of time so you’re as ready as possible when the big day comes. This is especially important now, as there are some big changes coming to the SAT in 2024! Most importantly, the test is changing from a paper-based format to an entirely digital one.
This new design is meant to make the test more approachable and accessible, so it’s nothing to fear! In this post, we’re breaking down all of the new features you need to know, and sharing how you can access our digital SAT practice test online today.
The SAT is changing with the times. While former students took the exam using paper and pencils, new students will use computers and tablets to navigate the questions. In addition to this newly digital format, the test will also be shorter and more adaptive.
Some of the new features that students can expect include:
- Shorter exam length
- More concise reading passages
- More direct questions
- Access to a wide range of digital tools
In addition, the official SAT score reports will also be more comprehensive. In addition to their scores, students will receive targeted and personalized college and career guidance to help them plan ahead for the future.
This includes information on local two-year colleges and workforce training programs, as well as details on four-year universities. Students will be able to see how their scores align with certain career options, and how they can use their strengths to excel in different industries.
When Will the Changes Occur?
The SAT will begin moving to a digital format in 2023, and the full rollout will continue through 2024. Yet, when exactly will the change occur?
If you’re an international student, it’s already in place! International students who registered to take the SAT on or after March 11, 2023, were administered the digital version of the test and were not given access to the former paper-and-pencil version.
For students in the U.S., the switch won’t be initiated until March 9, 2024. From that date onward, every SAT exam will be completely digital. When this change goes into official effect, students will not be allowed to use pencils and paper to take the exam.
To help students prepare for this upcoming change, the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) will go digital in the fall of 2023.
We know timelines can get a little complicated, so here’s a quick breakdown:
- March 11, 2023: The first digital SAT for international students was issued
- Beyond March 2023: All international SAT exams will be digital
- Fall 2023: The PSAT/NMSQT will go digital
- March 9, 2024: First digital SAT exam date for U.S. students
- Beyond March 2024: All U.S. and international SAT exams will be digital
Note that while these are the preliminary timelines, they are subject to change. If you’re planning to take the SAT in 2024, be sure to keep an eye on the College Board testing schedule.
What’s Behind the Change?
If it’s not broken, why fix it? You might have this question about the SAT, but the reality is that it was time for the college entry exam to make this move.
The main benefits of a digital SAT test include:
- It’s easier to take
- It’s easier to administer
- It aligns the SAT with the modern learning experience
When a test is easier to take and give, it becomes more accessible for everyone. In the new digital version, the SAT test-taking process will become simpler, shorter, and more streamlined, improving the student experience.
In addition, the SAT will also become more relevant. Today, most students use digital devices to complete at least some portion of their schoolwork. They’re adept at using these tools, and they’re major components of their learning and testing strategies. By making the SAT digital, College Board is meeting students where they are and giving them access to a test that better fits their needs and preferences.
Detailed Breakdown of Changes
When the SAT goes digital, there will be many changes to the exam’s format and content. While we’ve covered a high-level overview, let’s take a closer look at all of the new features that students can expect.
The digital SAT will be administered on a digital device, such as a tablet or a laptop. Students will access the exam through an application called Bluebook. They will take the SAT at their school or a designated testing center.
Each testing location will have a technology coordinator present during testing. They will be available to offer support to any student having device issues. If a student happens to lose connection to the internet or their device runs out of battery, the Bluebook app will automatically save their progress so they can return to where they left off once their connectivity is restored.
The paper-and-pencil SAT allowed three hours for completion. The digital test will run for two hours and 14 minutes, shaving nearly an hour off the total exam time.
The former SAT consisted of three sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The digital SAT will only include two sections: Reading and Writing, and Math.
Each section will include two modules. Students will complete Module 1 and then move on to Module 2. They will not be able to skip back and forth between modules as they take the exam.
Traditionally, the paper SAT was not designed to adapt to a student’s unique skills and knowledge. Now, the digital version will offer an individualized experience for each learner, thanks to the addition of adaptive testing technology.
This means that each student’s test will be different. In both sections, their performance in Module 1 will determine the questions they receive in Module 2. In addition, SAT Reading passages will now be shorter and more concise, with just one question for each passage.
When taking the SAT, students will now have access to a range of digital tools, including:
- A digital countdown clock
- A way to digitally flag and return to questions later
- A digital reference guide for SAT Math
- Digital annotating functions in SAT Reading and Writing
- An integrated graphing calculator
All of the exam tools will be available in the Bluebook app. Students can use the built-in graphing calculator for the entire Math section.
With the shift to digital, there will be changes to the SAT scoring process. Previously, students had to wait a few weeks for their official SAT Score Report. Now, they should be able to access them within a few days of their exam date.
How to Practice for the Digital SAT
Now that you know how the SAT will be changing, are you ready to start studying?
One of the most effective ways to prepare for the SAT is to take a practice test! Of course, it’s smart to take your study strategy online now that you know the SAT will be digital in 2024.
This is where we come in!
At The SAT Crash Course, you’ll find 20 brand-new, all-digital SAT practice tests. Each test is designed to mimic the look and feel of the digital SAT, providing students with an accurate representation of what they can expect on test day.
Why is this the best way to prepare for the digital SAT?
When you take one of our practice tests, you can get ahead of the game. You’ll have access to a full range of practice questions, all built in an environment that’s similar to the real exam. As you take each one, you’ll gain valuable test-taking skills and strategies that can give you a competitive edge.
All of our digital SAT practice tests include the following features and benefits:
- Completely digital design
- Adaptive format (two sections, two modules each)
- Realistic testing environment
- The same scoring system as the digital SAT
- Access to built-in testing device functions (e.g. graphing calculator, annotating functions)
Our team has taken strides to make sure all of our practice tests are as close to the digital SAT as possible. This includes matching our questions to the new format. For example, we’ve shortened our reading passages and only include one question per passage, similar to what you’ll see in the real test.
Access Your Digital SAT Practice Test Today
If you’re going to take the SAT in 2024 or beyond, it’s smart to plan now for all of the new features that you’ll encounter. The test is going completely digital, and learners who can navigate this format will know exactly what to expect.
At The SAT Crash Course, we’re here to help you prepare as much as possible before test day. Try our Digital SAT Practice Tests that provide a real testing experience. Big changes might be coming, but you’ll be ready for them!