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Last Updated On: April 8th, 2022

The SAT has been a crucial part of the college admissions process for almost 100 years, so when major shifts occur the world stops and listens. Our first blog on the new digital SAT goes into detail about what we know about specific changes on the test questions and sections. This blog covers the updates we continue to hear as College Board delivers more answers.

The Digital SAT will continue to be offered on a 1600 point scale. The test will also be much shorter in length, dropping from 3 hours to 2 hours. Having a digital test is going to be much more freeing for both students and proctors alike. Students will be able to receive test scores in a matter of days instead of weeks. Additionally, a digital SAT exam eliminates the tedious unpacking and shipping requirements of testing sites and their employees.

Test optional is the new normal. While specific engineering schools like MIT have gone back to requiring the SAT, most university admissions have been experimenting in the test optional world for at least a year. The SAT, once considered the ultimate indicator of college success, now must compete with test optional alternatives and the test needs to make itself more appealing. The ACT, its biggest source of competition prior to test optional, is still offering a long format test. With the growing demand for safety and health conscious options, SAT did the smartest thing they could. They became shorter, easier to administer, and much more alluring.

College Board has already started offering the AP tests digitally; it was only fitting that they adapted the SAT as well. By offering this new, improved test format, College Board will minimize cheating and offer every student a completely different test. College Board will be utilizing adaptive testing and will no longer have to dispose of singular tests or groups of tests that have been compromised. It will be a much more thorough and fair approach. Furthermore, the digital SAT will only be offered at testing sites and schools. There will not be any at-home options moving forward. Although many other digital exams have opened the door for this, College Board plans to stay firm in their policies and unwavering in their commitment to the integrity of the SAT.

The real benefits lie in the opportunities though. As we face a more test optional landscape in 2022, it’s important to give students and parents the choice to submit their SAT test scores. Let’s face reality. Most students are often anxiously awaiting their scores and frantically deciding whether to send the score report directly to the universities, or to wait patiently, hem and haw over the results, and then submit, praying the scores reach the admission offices in time. The digital SAT caters to the procrastinator (aka 90% of students) and embraces the option of choice. The student can take a digital SAT and receive their scores back in a matter of days, eliminating that stressful waiting period AND allowing them the breath to choose whether or not to submit the scores.

Equity is another important value of College Board administration. In the new digital landscape, if a student doesn’t have a device to take the test on, the test proctors are able to provide one. This is not only helpful for students who have more outdated devices, but also to students that aren’t capable of accessing a device. Additionally, if a student should face any technology issues while testing, it’s invaluable to have extra devices readily available. This was a brilliant move and it will hopefully circumvent any emergent needs on test day.

If you are a paper person, you better hurry before things change. Once the digital SAT goes into effect in 2024, there will no longer be a paper testing option. While this makes sense, I feel for kids that rely on paper and like writing on their test.

Technology has its pitfalls. While the SAT has already made statements regarding the “what ifs,” it’s hard to know how these will be implemented when they do happen. For example, if a student loses internet connectivity or their laptop freezes while they’re testing, how will these issues truly be addressed? College Board says, “the digital SAT has been designed to ensure they won’t lose their work or time while they reconnect.” But what does that mean? To combat these fears and questions, College Board has hired a Technology Coordinator. This person will help students troubleshoot issues on test day and be available online as well. We’ll have to rely on more pilot testing and practice tests to confirm exactly how this position works and what the expectations on test day should be.

All we hear are good things! According to College Board’s digital piloting of the test, “80% of students responded that they found it to be less stressful and 100% of educators reported having a positive experience.”

Educators and students agree that with the digital format of the SAT, there is more flexibility. The testing centers will be able to offer testing more frequently and with much more ease. That news is invaluable to students who have to take the SAT last minute. Additionally, it never hurts to take the exam back to back when you are on a roll with your test review and preparation. By allowing for more frequent exam sittings, students can better utilize the “amped up” phase of test preparation.

The Digital SAT is almost ready for us! In recent updates, we’ve been informed the SAT practice material will be added to Khan Academy in fall of 2022. There will be digital full-length practice tests available that ensure adaptive testing practice for students. Once the test goes fully digital, there will no longer be paper resources made available by College Board. When they go digital, they mean that whole-heartedly. While that may seem extreme, they are making efforts to prepare students in the best possible way, by exposing them to the content as it will be presented.

For more guided assistance on the digital SAT, be sure to contact one of our expert tutors.

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