Digital SAT? What’s the New SAT About?

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The rise of the COVID-19 virus brought with it a flood of changes in the academic world. Classes and testing moved online while we tried to slow the spread of the virus. With the digital SAT, the option to work has extended to the world of standardized tests permanently. In Spring 2024, U.S. students will begin to take their SAT online. International students will see the changes even sooner. International test centers will make the switch to the digital SAT in March 2023. In this article, you will learn about the digital SAT, the changes that come with the new format, and how the answer to the question, “How long is the SAT?” has shifted. 

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Digital SAT

In an increasingly online world, the Digital SAT seems like the logical next step for the SAT. No longer will proctors and students need to deal with hefty booklets and turning pages. Instead, they will be clicking buttons and scrolling. 

As the name suggests, the digital SAT is an online version of the SAT exam. While the purpose of the SAT remains unchanged, to complement the online format some changes needed to be made.

Changes

With the online format comes a number of changes. For the math section of the exam, students will be allowed calculators. Formerly the SAT had two separate sections, one where a calculator was allowed and another where it was not.

The new digital SAT will be adaptive. It means that based on your previous answers you will have your own subsequent questions, as the GMAT exam is done already. It will help design a test that is targeted at evaluating the student’s strengths while making it unique for each student.

The online format also offers more security. With the Digital SAT, it is practically impossible to share test answers. Each student has a unique test form instead of the traditional paper and pencil. The old test form did not provide the opportunity to single out where a test was compromised. Oftentimes a whole group of students would have their scores canceled or administrations canceled. The digital format helps prevent needing these kinds of measures.

The College Board (the SAT parent company) is beginning to understand that not all students will follow the same path in life. Although the SAT connected students with universities, the digital SAT takes it a step further and connects students with two-year universities, careers, and workforce training in addition to four-year universities. 

Staying the Same

Although the digital SAT will be taken online, the basics of the exam remain the same. The test still measures what students are retaining from school and college and career readiness. As such, many of the best SAT tips will still apply.

The digital SAT will be scored on a 1,600  scale as the paper and pencil test is scored. Although professional test prep will give you the biggest score boost, the free resources provided by the College Board remain helpful.

Students who qualify will receive their accommodations and all students can connect to scholarships. Just because the test is online does not mean you will need to start from scratch with your preparation. You, your teachers, and your tutors should have no problem helping you prepare for the digital SAT 

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College Board Digital SAT

So, how will the Digital SAT work? The College Board Digital SAT will function similarly to the way the current SAT exam is administered. Students will not take the digital SAT from the comfort of their homes. Instead, the College Board Digital SAT will take place in schools and test centers with a proctor present. This is an effort to prevent cheating.

Students will have the option to use personal devices or school-loaned devices to take the digital SAT. If a student lacks access to both a personal device and a school-loaned device, the College Board will lend the student the device while they take the exam.

As the students take the digital SAT, they have access to a real-time timer. No longer will they need to rely on a watch, the proctor remembering to write down how much time is left on the dry-erase board, or just hoping your pacing is correct. 

A major concern regarding a digital test is the fact that technology can fail. Technology can fail a lot and it is usually at the worst time, such as when you’re taking your SAT. Fortunately, the digital SAT is designed to ensure that students won’t lose their place or time if they lose power or connectivity. 

Even the paper test dealt with a kind of failure that the digital SAT eliminates. If the student does not adequately erase a changed answer or accidentally leaves a stray pencil mark, they could get questions wrong that they should have gotten correct. The College Board Digital SAT will only require students to click the correct answer. There is no possibility that a student could accidentally mark two answers to the same question resulting in an incorrect answer. 

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How Long Is the SAT?

So how long is the SAT and how does it compare to the new digital SAT? Overall the digital SAT is just shorter all around. For one the test will take less time. The digital SAT will end at around two hours while the current one takes about three hours. There will be shorter passages with only one question per passage. 

The amount of time it takes for students to receive their scores will also be shorter. Instead of waiting weeks, students will receive their scores in a matter of days. Not only will this lessen the stress of anticipation, but it will also give students more time to plan the next steps. Do they need to take the exam again? If so, what section do they need to focus on? Do they have time to contact a tutor and create a study plan before the next exam? The decreased times on the Digital SAT will provide students and teachers with a less stressful test-taking experience.

Find a Tutor

Are you a student planning to graduate in 2025? If so, you will be the first crop of U.S. students to take the College Board digital SAT. If you want to get a head start on your SAT prep, consider joining Acadomia’s SAT prep program. Our tutors can help you maximize your performance on the digital SAT by helping you understand each section, manage time constraints, and key test-taking tips. If you are really serious about improving your SAT score, consider hiring a tutor for one on one sessions. 

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