College Board Going with Completely Digital SAT

College Board has announced that it will transition to a digital format of the SAT in the upcoming years for both international and U.S. students. The new digital SAT brings student-friendly changes to the exam, making it less daunting and more approachable. So, what does this mean for you? What is changing on the digital SAT? What is staying the same? Read on for answers!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • When Will the SAT Go Completely Digital?
  • Do the Digital SAT Changes Affect You?
  • Optimal SAT Testing Schedule: When to Take the SAT
  • Should You Take the Digital or Paper SAT? Quiz
  • The Differences: What is Changing as the SAT Goes Digital?
  • What is Staying the Same as the SAT Goes Digital?
  • How to Prep and Practice for the Digital SAT
  • Why is the SAT Going Digital?
  • Digital SAT FAQs

When will the SAT go completely digital?

The SAT will go completely digital in 2024 in the United States and in 2023 in other countries.

When is the switch to Digital? PSAT International SAT U.S. SAT
Spring 2023 Paper-and-pencil Digital Paper-and-pencil
Fall 2023 Digital Digital Paper-and-pencil
Spring 2024 Digital Digital Digital

Do the Digital SAT changes affect you?

College Board’s changes to the SAT as they transition from the paper-and-pencil test to the new, digital version do not affect all current high school students. Read about which version of the test you will take below based on when you are graduating.

* Colleges may or may not allow students to SuperScore their two scores

OPTIMAL SAT TESTING SCHEDULE: When to take the SAT

The high school class of 2023 already took the paper-and-pencil SAT, and the class of 2027 will be the first with no option but to take the Digital SAT. That means prospective high school graduates of 2024, 2025, and 2026 must determine their optimal testing schedules based on the information above.

Should You Take the Digital or Paper SAT? Quiz

The differences: What is changing as the SAT goes digital?

While the format of the SAT will be changing, much about the test remains the same. The few changes that have been made were well-received by students who have taken the digital SAT. Testimonials from these students mention less stress, appreciation for the features of the online test, and a faster test day experience. Below we list six key changes to the SAT.

How you take the SAT

Unlike the previous paper-and-pencil version of the exam, the digital SAT will be taken exclusively via a tablet or laptop. If you do not have a personal or school-issued device, one will be provided on test day (requests to borrow a College Board device must be made before test day).

Shortened Digital SAT testing experience

A shorter test experience is another significant change for the new exam. The digital SAT will only take two hours instead of three due to shorter sections and a new section-adaptive test format.

Calculators allowed on the math section of the Digital SAT

The digital SAT will allow you to use a calculator throughout the entire math section. You can choose to bring your own approved calculator or use the onscreen graphing calculator that will be built into the testing app.

Shorter reading passages on the Digital SAT

The digital SAT will feature shorter reading passages which will be easier and faster to read and analyze. There will just be one question tied to each reading passage.

New Adaptive Sections on the Digital SAT

Both the Verbal and Math sections of the Digital SAT will contain two modules. The difficulty of the second module—or question set—depends on your performance on the first module.

With a weaker performance on the first module, you will encounter easier questions in the second module. This ‘easier’ second module consists of mostly easy and medium-difficulty questions, plus a few hard questions and a couple of unscored questions aimed at test development. With a stronger performance on the first module, you will encounter harder questions in the second module. This ‘harder’ module consists of mostly medium-difficulty and hard questions, plus a few easier questions and a couple of unscored ones.

Faster SAT score delivery

Instead of waiting weeks to receive your score report, you’ll receive your digital SAT score report in just a few days. This means less time waiting anxiously for results and more time to review problem areas and take the test again if you’re aiming for a higher score.

TABLE: Differences between Digital and Paper-and-pencil SAT

What will be different? Current SAT Digital SAT
Administered via Paper-and-pencil Laptop or Tablet
Adaptive Format No adaptive sections All sections adaptive
Testing Duration 3 hours 2 hours
Calculator allowed for Math? Partially Allowed Fully allowed
Reading Passages Lengthier Passages Shorter Passages
Score Delivery Weeks Days

What is staying the same as the SAT goes digital?

There are many changes on the horizon for the digital SAT, but several key features remain the same.

What is tested on the digital SAT

First and foremost, the digital SAT will continue to test the same important content and skills that you’ve been learning in school to measure career and college readiness.

Digital SAT Readiness Quiz

Get ahead of the most challenging parts of the new Digital SAT by taking this readiness quiz.

Where you can take the digital SAT

You will be able to take the digital SAT at a school or test center; the test will have a proctor present. There is no option to take the digital SAT at home.

Digital SAT scoring scale

The digital SAT will continue to use the same 1600 scale that the paper-and-pencil SAT currently uses. This is important because you will be able to track your progress over time. There is a direct correspondence of scores between the digital SAT and the paper-and-pencil version. This means that a score of 1120 on the digital SAT signifies the same thing as a score of 1120 on the paper version.

Accommodations on the Digital SAT

College Board will continue to support students who receive accommodations on the SAT.

How to prep and practice for the digital SAT

College Board will release official practice materials, including full-length digital practice tests, in the fall of 2022. While you wait for the digital practice test items, there are some things you can do to get ready. The digital SAT will continue to test math concepts related to arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, so keep those skills sharp and work on memorizing common formulas. When prepping for the verbal section, remember: that the more you read, the better you read. Improve your reading comprehension skills by consuming different types of publications whenever possible, ideally for at least 15 minutes per day. This is also a great time to brush up on your grammar skills like punctuation and usage rules.

As you wait for the digital practice test items to be released, develop a study plan and work to set a realistic score goal based on your target schools. Keep in mind that the digital SAT will not be administered in the U.S. until spring of 2024, so you do have time to prepare to take the paper-and-pencil version of the SAT before it is no longer offered.

We will update our prep materials, including books, tutoring, self-paced, and live online courses to prepare for the new digital SAT and PSAT. We’ll be releasing these throughout the months leading up to the test launch, so keep an eye out for our new Kaplan digital SAT prep resources.

Why is the SAT going digital?

There are several reasons that the SAT is moving to an adaptive digital format. The digital SAT will be more secure, as you (and every other student) will have a unique test. The adaptive nature of the digital SAT will also allow you to have an accurate score in less time. Another added benefit is that you will have more time to answer each question. Overall, the digital SAT will provide security and flexibility to schools and families around the world.

More frequently asked questions about the digital SAT

Below are some of the most common questions we have received about the switch from the paper-and-pencil SAT to Digital SAT.

What technical support will be provided during the digital SAT?

Each test center will have a technology coordinator present during testing to support any student having device issues.

How long is the Digital SAT?

The length of the Digital SAT being shortened from 3 hours to 2 hours is one of the most significant differences between the new and old tests.

Will the math section still provide formulas?

The digital SAT will have a reference sheet with common formulas provided on the math test.

Will I be able to use scratch paper?

Yes, scratch paper will be provided to you on test day.

Is the digital SAT easier?

Yes, the digital SAT is easier than the paper-and-pencil version according to students who have taken the exam and experts at College Board. “The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” says the vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board, Priscilla Rodriguez.

What changes are being made to the score report?

While the score report will still contain all of the information you expect to see about performance and growth, there will be some practical additions. Upon taking the digital SAT, your score report will connect you to information about workforce training programs and two-year colleges. Your interests, accomplishments, and goals will drive these connections.

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