Students

News flash: the SAT is going digital after 97 years of having a paper SAT. Starting in March 2024, the new SAT will be implemented in all schools across America. This is a significant change, and it is important for students and families to be aware of the implications. Let's go over what changed and how you can study to be the most prepared you can.

The New Digital SAT in a Nutshell

The digital SAT is a new version of the SAT that will be administered digitally starting in March 2024. The current SAT is a pen-and-paper Scantron test; the same format as most standardized tests you've taken all your life. However, when you take the digital SAT, it will be shorter, more flexible, more accessible, and more adaptive than the current paper test. The digital SAT will be more adaptive than the current paper-and-pencil test, meaning that the questions that students see will be based on their performance on previous questions. For example, if students answer a question correctly, they will be shown more difficult questions. If a student answers a question incorrectly, they will be shown easier questions. This adaptive format is designed to help students perform at their best.

Additionally, the digital SAT will also be more flexible than the current paper-and-pencil test. Students will be able to take the test in different orders and can choose to take breaks between modules. This flexibility can help students to feel more comfortable and in control during the test.

The digital SAT will be available at more testing sites and on a wider range of devices than the current paper-and-pencil test. This accessibility can help students to find a testing site that is convenient for them and to take the exam on a device that they are comfortable using.

Overall, the digital SAT is a significant change from the current paper-and-pencil test. It is important for students and families to be aware of the changes so that they can prepare accordingly.

What is the New Digital Format?

The digital SAT exam will comprise two sections: Reading and Writing and Math. Students will have 64 minutes to complete the Reading and Writing section and 70 minutes to complete the Math section for a total of 2 hours and 14 minutes. There will still be no-calculator and calculator portions for the Math portion. Each section will be divided into two equal-length modules, and there will be a 10-minute break between the Reading and Writing section and the Math section. The test itself is going to adapt the questions based on how you do. All tests will be unique. For example, if you do really well on the first few questions, the computer will automatically give you harder questions. But if you don't do so great on the first few questions, then the computer will give you easier questions to help get on your level. 

What are the Benefits of the New Digital SAT? 

First off, the digital test is two hours and 14 minutes long, compared to three hours for the original SAT. This reduced time duration can help minimize test fatigue and improve your overall performance. Additionally, the new test is offered more frequently than the paper SAT, with test dates available throughout the year. This gives students more flexibility in scheduling their testing time and allows them to pick a date that works best for them. Plus, the adaptive test administered on a computer, which eliminates the need for students to fill in bubbles or erase their answers. No more lectures about how to fill in a bubble! This can help reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier for students to review and correct their work. Another big benefit is that students will receive their SAT test scores within days, compared to two to six weeks for the paper SAT. This faster turnaround time can help students to make more informed decisions about their college admissions and financial aid options. Finally, the new digital test offers students access to personalized study tools and resources. These tools will better prepare you to have everything you need to know for test day. 

How Should I Prep for the New Digital SAT?

The best way to prepare for the digital SAT is to use official College Board resources and to practice taking digital SAT practice tests. Here are the best ways to prepare for the SAT: 

  1. Take a full-length test. This will help you to familiarize yourself with the format of the test, the types of questions that are asked, and the time limits for each section. You can find full-length digital SAT practice tests on the College Board website and in the BlueBook app.

  2. Review your test results. Once you have taken a practice test, take some time to review your results. Identify the areas where you need to improve, and then develop a study plan to address those areas.

  3. Use good resources. There’s plenty of free SAT resources online that will have you ready to ace every question. With flashcards for things like formulas and vocabulary, you'll be more than ready.

  4. Focus on your weaknesses. Don't waste time studying topics that you already know well. Instead, focus your studies on the topics that you are struggling with. 

  5. Get regular practice. The best way to improve your SAT score is to practice regularly. Set aside some time each day to study for the SAT, and make sure to practice on a regular basis. When you make any mistakes, create a flashcard for that question and revisit it a week later. This way, your test-taking strategy will be ingrained in your brain and you'll know exactly what to do on test day. 

Final Thoughts

The digital SAT is a new and exciting development in college admissions testing. It offers a number of advantages over the paper SAT, including a shorter test time, more flexible testing dates, a more convenient test-taking experience, faster results, and more personalized test prep.

The digital SAT is still in the early stages of rollout, but it is clear that it has the potential to revolutionize the way that students prepare for and take the SAT. As more and more students transition to the digital SAT, it is important to stay informed about the latest changes and to develop a test prep strategy that is tailored to the new format.

Finally, remember that the digital SAT is just a test. It is not a reflection of your intelligence or your worth as a person. Do your best to prepare for the test, but don't stress out too much about it. You got this!


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