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Digital SAT: All You Need to Know

New Digital SAT from 2024: What's Changing

 

The College Board has announced that the SAT will be converted to digital format in 2023 for international students and in 2024 for US students. The test will be reduced to 2 hours, as opposed to 3 hours for the current SAT. This is a positive change because it reaffirms the relevance and importance of standardized testing in a post-COVID -19 scenario. Given the ease of administration, College Board anticipates a significant increase in the number of digital SAT test takers in 2023. With this digital SAT, the test takers will receive their SAT score in a matter of days rather than months.

 

THIS PAGE INCLUDES:

1.When will Students take the Digital SAT Test?
2.Changes in the Digital SAT
3.Advantages of Digital SAT 2023
4.Digital SAT Vs Current SAT: Differences
5.Digital SAT Vs Current SAT: What has not Changed
6.Devices Required to Take the Digital SAT
7.Will it be Difficult to Take the Test Online?
8.Tools Available for the Students Taking the Digital SAT
9.How and When to prepare for the Digital SAT?
10.How to Prepare for a Digital SAT Test?
11.What Impact Will These Changes Have on College Admissions?

 

When will Students take the Digital SAT Test?

According to the College Board, the first round of digital SATs will be available in time for the International exams in March 2023 (and beyond). In 2023, international students will be able to take the exam and in 2024 US students will be able to take the Digital SAT exam. In some ways, the digital SAT has already arrived: the College Board has quietly administered a “digital SAT Pilot” exam to select students since late 2021, in exchange for $5o or $100 gift cards but no official SAT score.

However, beginning in 2021, digital SAT pilot test takers were invited to take the test and were accepted. They were given the official SAT scores as well as the option to keep or cancel them after viewing them.

 

Changes in the Digital SAT

The pandemic taught us all how to learn and take tests in a digital world. The Digital SAT exam March 2023 appears to be ready to carry on that spirit of simplicity. According to the College Board, in addition to reducing testing hours to two hours, the test will allow more time per question across the board.

The following are the major changes to the test content that have been declared so far:

  • Shorter reading passages with a single question per passage
  • Passages from a broader range of college-level exams
  • Calculators for the entire Math section
  • The Digital SAT Scores will be released faster, allowing students and educators to make college decisions more quickly.

 

Advantages of Digital SAT 2023

Here are some advantages of using a Digital SAT.

  • Secure: The paper-pencil version of tests may be canceled if there are any external or internal issues. The digital SAT will be more secure because each student will have a unique test form and will use their own or a school-issued device.
  • Faster Score: Students will have access to their scores in days rather than weeks.

 

Digital SAT Vs Current SAT: Differences

The Digital SAT will be a simplified version of the current SAT. The new format will place less emphasis on endurance and speed and more emphasis on college readiness skills. The current SAT Reading section, with its long passages and frequently obscure History passages, requires patience to solve. The test is likely to include passages from the humanities and sciences delving into more contemporary issues in finance, economics, and the environment, with a broader range of short passages.

Furthermore, we may see a greater emphasis on combining graphical information with passage text to answer questions. However, this is all speculation at this point.

The use of calculators for the entire Math section indicates significant changes to the test. We may see a shift to more straightforward questions, similar to the ACT Math section, as well as the inclusion of more geometry and trigonometry problems, in addition to the SAT’s emphasis on Algebra and Word Problems.

While the College Board is revising test content to better accommodate digital delivery, the digital SAT exam 2023 will continue to assess the same skills and knowledge that students learn in high school and that are most important for college and career readiness.

 

Digital SAT Vs Current SAT: What has not Changed

While the Digital SAT Suite will include a number of changes that will benefit both students and educators, many important aspects of the SAT Suite will remain unchanged.

  • The SAT digital Suite will continue to assess students’ knowledge and skills that are most important for college and career readiness.
  • The SAT will be scored on the same 1600 scale, allowing educators and students to track growth across the suite over time.
  • The digital SAT will still be administered in a school or a testing center with a proctor present, not at home.
  • Students will continue to have direct access to scholarships.

 

Devices Required to Take the Digital SAT

Students can use a laptop or tablet to take the digital SAT Suite. They may use either a personal or a school-issued device. If a student does not have a device, they can request one from the College Board, and they will provide one to use on the test day. This is true for students taking the SAT on the weekend both internationally and in the USA. And if a student faces any difficulty with their device or connectivity on the test day then the College Board has built the exam application to withstand internet outages. If the internet disconnects during testing, students will still be able to progress through the test with no disruption—all their work will be saved, and they won’t lose testing time.

 

Will it be Difficult to Take the Test Online?

If you prefer taking tests online, you may be concerned about the test’s online version. The good news is that the majority of students in the pilot test found it to be more intuitive and simpler. When the College Board claims that the digital version of the test is more “intuitive,” they mean that it is “simpler to navigate” and “simpler to answer without fatigue.

The digital SAT interface will include a Student Clock, making it easier for test takers to keep track of time.

Highlighters, strikethrough, and mark for review will be available, as will a built-in calculator and a reference feature (standard mathematical formulas). Test takers will have all the tools they need to solve questions in one place.

Tools Available for the Students Taking the Digital SAT

Many test tools will be included in the digital testing application for students. Here are a couple of examples:

  • You can flag the questions so that you can come back to them later
  • Students will get a countdown clock, which they can choose to show or hide at the top of their testing screen, which will alert them when they’re running out of time
  • Students can use the built-in graphing calculator throughout the math section (or they can bring their own calculator)
  • A reference sheet with common formulas for each math question

 

How and When to prepare for the Digital SAT?

If you want to take the SAT in 2023, you’ll have plenty of time to develop strong reading, writing, and language skills, as well as math skills. Begin studying for the Digital SAT as soon as possible. Concentrate on making visible improvements in all areas. Don’t be afraid to use current SAT tests to track your progress. There is no need to take full-length tests, but you can always solve the Writing and Language sections, as well as the Math sections, and try to achieve a perfect score on practice tests. Focus on developing a foundation of comprehension skills and awareness of current global debates and issues before beginning to read. This will automatically increase your vocabulary and reading speed, allowing you to successfully transition to SAT reading in the future.

 

How to Prepare for a Digital SAT Test?

The SAT’s focus on testing college readiness skills in reading, grammar, and math hasn’t changed over the years.

Here is how you can begin preparing for each skill area of the 2023 Digital SAT:

  • Reading: Begin by reading about a variety of humanities and science topics. Start with the Economists, New Scientists, New York Times, and Washington Post. You should start reading the editorials right away. Learn about current geopolitical and environmental issues. Concentrate on becoming a more informed reader in general. Instead of being a passive receiver of facts, try cultivating opinions.
  • Writing and Language: Grammar and punctuation rules are unlikely to be phased out of standardized tests anytime soon.
  • Math: Begin practicing all of the math topics covered on the current SAT. In addition, pay special attention to geometry and trigonometry problems from ACT official tests. Math requires formulas and facts. They assist you in responding to questions more accurately and efficiently. So push yourself to learn the formulas and facts related to the current SAT topics, while also understanding why and how they work.

 

What Impact Will These Changes Have on College Admissions?

Because these changes were just announced and will not go into effect for another year or two, it’s difficult to predict how they’ll affect college admissions, but we believe they won’t make much of a difference. Because the SAT’s general content, difficulty, and scoring system aren’t changing much, we expect colleges to view the digital version of the SAT in the same way they did the current version. Colleges also make an effort not to penalize students for circumstances beyond their control, so taking one version of the SAT will not have a negative impact on your college applications compared to students who took the other version.

Regardless of these new changes, the way colleges view the SAT (and the ACT) has shifted significantly in recent years. Many colleges have gradually shifted their emphasis away from standardized test scores and toward other application components such as GPA, high school classes, and extracurriculars. The COVID-19 pandemic, which made taking standardized tests difficult or impossible for many students for months, only accelerated this trend. In 2020 and 2021, practically every college became test-optional, and hundreds of schools have chosen to remain test-optional indefinitely. If a school is test-optional, you can choose whether or not to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of your application. If you don’t, the other components of your application will be given more weight.

The College Board is well aware of these trends, and many of the new SAT changes were implemented to make the test more appealing to students who may have been put off by taking such a long, difficult test. However, according to a College Board poll, 83 % wanted the option to submit test scores in their college applications, and nearly every college still allows it, so the SAT isn’t going away anytime soon.

 

Key Takeaways

The College Board announced a major change in January 2022: the SAT will go digital and will soon be administered via computer rather than pencil and paper. These changes will not take effect until 2023 for international students and 2024 for US students, but it is important to be aware of them so that you can plan accordingly. The following are the six major key takeaways to the SAT:

  1. The SAT will go digital
  2. The SAT will be reduced in duration (2 hours instead of 3 hours)
  3. Students will have more time to answer each question
  4. Calculators will be permitted throughout the Math section
  5. Reading passages will be more focused and shorter
  6. Students will receive their digital SAT results in days rather than weeks

We expect that colleges will view the digital SAT in much the same way that they do the current SAT, though standardized test scores, in general, are becoming less important for admission to many schools. So, if you’re confused about which SAT to take, go with the one that you believe will best play to your strengths.

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FAQ's

What is SAT Digital?

The new digital SAT exam will include some significant changes that will affect how students prepare for and take the test. The digital SAT will be computer-adaptive, which means that the difficulty level of questions in subsequent sections will be determined by your performance in the first section. If you do well in the first section, the second section’s questions will be more difficult.

When is the College Board launching the Digital SAT?

The College Board will transition into the digital SAT at international test centers in March of 2023 and at U.S. schools and test centers in spring of 2024.

The Digital PSAT for international students will begin in the fall of 2023.

Will the paper and pencil SAT still be available alongside the digital version?

No, the College Board is making a clean shift from the pencil and paper-based SAT to the digital. Hence, once the Digital SAT gets launched, it will discontinue the pencil and paper-based test except for the student who tests with accommodations that need the pencil and paper-based test.

Can I now take the SAT Online?

No, while the SAT is going digital, it is NOT going online. The test will still be taken at a testing center and NOT FROM HOME. It will be proctored in person.

What happens if I have problems with my device or internet connectivity on the test day?

The Digital SAT application created by the College Board is designed to overcome the internet outages. If you lose connectivity during the test, you will still be able to progress through the test without any interruption as your work will get saved. Thus, you do not lose any testing time at all!

How or on what will I take the digital SAT?

You can use a laptop or a tablet to take the SAT exam. You can even borrow a device from the College Board to take the SAT. Before the exam, you have to download and install the custom-built digital exam application that would facilitate the test.

How is the test proctored?

The test coordinator, proctors, and monitors at the test center will use the Test Day Toolkit to start the test, monitor testing, and complete other critical tasks. They can access it on any device that connects to the internet.

How will the digital SAT be different from the CURRENT paper and pencil SAT?

While there are many things that stay the same between the digital SAT and the Pencil and paper-based SAT, there are a few major changes that stand out in the new form of the test.

CURRENT SAT DIGITAL SAT
Tests a range of high school level math concepts and reading/writing skills Nothing new; some small changes in distribution and naming of concepts
Scored on a scale of 200-800 per section; 400-1600 overall No change; College Board to provide score linking
Total Testing Time ~3 Hours Total Testing Time reduced to ~2 Hours
Time intensive test: 1.17/question (average) More time per question: average 1.37 min/question (+17% more time)
Reading Intensive test: long reading passage (500-750 words) Shorter passages (25-150 words); math word problems also shortened.
Math includes a “no calculator” section Built-in calculator can be used for all math sections
Paper and Pencil Computer based test; range of student of center provided devices
Linear test; familiar correlation between correct answers and scores Adaptive by section; uncertainty around calculation of scores
Question formats unchanged since 2016 Single question, shorter passage reading questions; some other small changes
College Board practice resources: 10 Official released tests Some uncertainty around exact timing and quantity of practice resources
Familiar Timelines International testing, Digital PSAT, more school administration, etc.
Scored on a scale of 200-800 per section; 400-1600 overall No change; College Board to provide score linking

What is the exam structure of the Digital SAT?

Characteristic Reading and Writing (RW) Section Math Section
Administration Two-stage adaptive test design: one Reading and Writing section administered via two separately timed modules. Two-stage adaptive test design: one Math section administered via two separately timed modules.
Test length (number of operational and pretest questions) 1st module: 25 Operational Questions and 2 Pretest questions

2nd module: 25 Operational Questions and 2 Pretest questions

1st module: 20 Operational Questions and 2 Pretest questions

2nd module: 20 Operational Questions and 2 Pretest questions

Time per module 1st module:32 minutes

2nd module: 32 minutes

1st module:35 minutes

2nd module: 35 minutes

Total number of questions 54 questions 44 questions
Total time allotted 64 minutes 70 minutes
Average time per question 1.19 1.59

What does not change in the digital SAT?

The following are some of the things that will remain the same in the Digital SAT as in the Paper and Pencil SAT.

 

  • Knowledge & Skills Assessment: It will continue to assess the same knowledge and skills that you learn in high school and are essential for you to be college ready.
  • Scoring: The digital SAT will be scored on the same 1600 scale, allowing educators and students to track growth across the suite over time.
  • Type of Questions: It has the same types of questions as the pencil and paper-based test and will still mostly be a multiple-choice question.
  • Test Administration: The digital SAT will continue to be administered in a school or a testing center in the presence of a proctor and not at home.

Which calculator can be used in the Digital SAT?

Graphing calculators can be used on the Digital SAT. You can either bring your own calculator or use one that’s embedded into the digital exam, which experts say reduces test day barriers. 

The graphing calculators are more powerful and they make your work easier in the graph questions especially.

What does it mean for the digital SAT to be section Adaptive?

The digital SAT would now evaluate a test-taker’s performance across a set of questions at a time. This means that for every student,

  • The Reading and Writing section will consist of two modules and the Math will consist of two modules. You will first start with an introductory module or the first module of each section that covers a broad range of concepts and difficulty level.
  • The performance on the first module will determine the overall difficulty level of the second module. If the student performs well on the first module, then he/she will see harder questions on the second module.
  • A scaled score is then taken to arrive at the final score. The exact nature of the score scaling is yet to be explained by the College Board.

According to this system, the performance on one section i.e., the Reading and Writing does not affect the performance on the Math section.

Will I get a scratch paper to note things down for the Digital SAT?

Yes! You will be given a scratch paper to note down your points, or do your exam strategizing and you can also bring a pen or pencil.

What are the tools available on the Digital SAT Application?

The new Digital SAT Application comes with a wealth of tools to make your test-taking experience more comfortable and easier. The digital application itself is a modified version of the app that was used to successfully deliver the 2021 digital AP® Exams

 

 The digital testing application will now include the following test tools for students.

  1. Mark for review: You can flag and return to any question within a given test module you want to come back to later. 
  2. Testing timer: A clock counts down the time remaining in each module. You can hide the timer, and you get an alert when 5 minutes remain in the module. 
  3. Calculator: A built-in graphing calculator is available on the entire Math section. (You can also bring your own approved calculator.) 
  4. Reference sheet: On the Math section, you have access to a list of common formulas.
  5. Annotation: You can highlight any part of a question and leave themselves a note.

How is the Digital SAT scored?

The digital SAT is still scored on a 1600 scale, and both the instructors and students can continue to monitor progress across the suite over time. The scores on the SAT will means the same thing as that on the digital SAT, this means a score of 1200 on the digital SAT corresponds to a score of 1200 on the paper and pencil SAT.

SAT TOTAL SCORE PERCENTILES

SCORE % SCORE % SCORE %
1600 99+ 1200 74 800 10
1500 99 1100 58 700 2
1400 94 1000 39 600 1
1300 87 900 23 500 1

When will the college board share practice materials for the digital SAT?

By fall of 2022, the College Board is to add to the official digital SAT practice material which would include full-length practice tests available in the exam application. According to College Board, all practice resources will be shared on the digital testing app.

 

Will I now have more test dates as an international student?

Yes! You will have two more dates! The digital SAT is launched internationally first so that the College Board can offer two additional international SAT test dates starting its launch in 2023. This means that the number of test dates for the international students moves from five to seven like that for the US students.

Which devices can I use?

You can take the digital SAT using the digital SAT Suite on a laptop or tablet. It can be a personal device or a school-issues device. You can even request the college board to issue you a device considering you location, time, and other parameters.

How will SAT score reports change for you, the student and the educators?

It mostly remains the same. According to the College Board, the SAT Suite is going to continue including information on the student’s performance and the ways they can grow and improve. It will also provide students with college planning information, scholarship data, and other recognition programs.

However, with the new change, the College Board also intends to connect the students to information about the local two-year colleges and workforce training programs tied to their achievements, interests, and financial goals. With this kind of information, the student can use the SAT scores to relate to career opportunities that will help them decide their goals and make informed future decisions.

Will the colleges be able to use the scores from the Digital SAT the same way as the current SAT scores?

Yes, the colleges will use the new scores just like it did for the paper and pencil SAT. Upon consultation with the groups of higher education enrollment leaders, the College Board has confirmed that the universities will continue to use the SAT scores from the digital SAT as they do the current scores.

How do the digital SAT questions look now?

The questions on the digital SAT are exactly the same as it was for the paper and pencil SAT except for a few changes in the wording and reduction in the length of the passages.

To get a sense of types of the questions that you are likely to face in the digital SAT, check out the sample questions that have been released by the College Board in the link below.

https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/digital-sat-sample-questions.pdf

How will the Digital SAT Impact my College Admissions?

  • A good digital SAT score will help you balance your profile and make your application more competitive just as the paper and pencil SAT did. 
  • The College Board has clearly stated in their communication that they have consulted with the higher education enrollment leaders on the use of the Digital SAT scores in exactly the same way that it did the paper and pencil SAT scores.
  • While the test is shorter, it maintains the integrity of the original SAT and the ability to measure a student’s performance by introducing the section adaptive system into the test. Also, the scoring system remains the same allowing both the tests to remain comparable.
  • Hence, taking one version of the test over the other will not have a major impact on your college applications.
  • Also, many colleges in the pandemic and the post-pandemic era have adopted a test-optional policy. The new shift to the Digital SAT has come with the idea of making the test more appealing in a test-optional situation where the student may or may not chose to write the test depending on the need for the college.

 

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