What is the digital SAT?
In 2022, the College Board announced that they will be transitioning the SAT to an exclusively digital exam. This means that students will take the exam on the computer instead of a paper test. In addition, the College Board has significantly altered the structure of the exam, making both the exam and questions shorter.
When is the SAT going digital?
The SAT will go fully digital in two phases.
The first digital SAT test date for international students will be March 11, 2023.
The first digital SAT test date for students in the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands will be March 9, 2024.
What are the new features of the digital SAT?
What makes the digital SAT most different from the paper SAT is the fact that it is an adaptive exam. Both the SAT Reading and Writing and SAT Math sections are divided into two equal length “modules.” The first module contains a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. When time runs out on the first module, students are automatically moved to the second module, but the questions on the second module will either be easier or harder depending on how students performed on the first one. For instance, If a student does well on the first module, they will get harder questions on the second. This is called “multistage adaptive testing” (MST) and allows the exam to assess a student’s ability with a fewer number of questions.
The digital SAT will also include a graphing calculator and timer/clock on its interface.
What is staying the same on the digital SAT?
Students will still take the digital SAT at a testing center, either on their own laptop or tablet, or on a divide provided by the College Board. Despite the exam going digital, this does NOT mean students can now take the SAT at home.
The digital SAT will still be scored on a 1600 scale.
What sections are on the digital SAT?
The digital SAT has two sections: Reading and Writing and Math. Each of these sections is broken down into two “modules” of equal length.
How long is the digital SAT?
The digital SAT is considerably shorter than the paper test. It will be 2 hours and 14 minutes long and contain 98 questions.
The Reading and Writing section lasts 64 minutes, divided into two 32 minute modules, and contains 54 questions.
The Math section lasts 70 minutes, divided into two 35 minute sections, and contains 44 questions.
What are the main advantages of digital SAT?
Here are the main advantages of the new digital SAT:
- The exam is shorter. The digital SAT is 2 hours and 15 minutes and contains 98 questions, whereas the paper SAT is 3 hours and contains 154 questions.
- Students are allotted more time per question.
- The reading passages are shorter. The digital SAT contains 54 short passages with one question per passage.
- Students are allowed to use a calculator on the entire math section. On the paper SAT students were only allowed to use a calculator on one of the math questions.
These changes are great for students who have trouble focusing for long periods of time and/or get lost reading large chunks of text. Allowing the use of calculators for the entire math section may also help some students avoid careless calculation errors.
How is the digital SAT graded?
The digital SAT will still be scored on a 1600 scale, and the College Board maintains that a certain score on the digital SAT will mean the same as on the paper test. However, due to the fact that the digital SAT is an adaptive exam, it won’t quite be the same scoring system. On the paper test, each correct answer is worth one point and students earn no points for wrong or omitted answers. On the digital test, the questions on the second module change based on how well you did on the first module, and only students who make it to a harder second module will be able to earn a top score. That means that there is a premium placed on accurately answering the harder questions, which was not the case on the previous test, for which all questions were weighted equally.
Is the digital SAT easier?
Yes, the digital SAT is easier than the paper SAT. The exam is shorter, the Reading and Writing questions are shorter, and students are allotted more time per question.
Is the digital SAT longer?
No, the digital SAT is actually shorter than the paper SAT by 46 minutes.
Does the digital SAT have an essay?
No, the digital SAT does not have an essay.
How long will digital SAT scores take?
Because of the digital delivery, students will receive their digital SAT score reports in just a few days!
How to prepare for the digital SAT?
Preparing for the digital SAT will be much the same as preparing for the paper SAT.
- Take a practice test. The College Board has released 4 full-length digital exams here: https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/digital/digital-practice-preparation/practice-tests/bluebook
- Fill in content gaps. Based on your practice test results, you’ll get a sense of what content areas you need to improve on. Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board to provide digital SAT practice, so this is a great way to start learning and solidifying these key concepts.
- Practice reading comprehension. Although the passages will be shorter, this core skill is here to stay. Be sure to read many books and articles and look up words you don’t know. This is the best way to study for the SAT Reading and Writing section.
- Work with a tutor. IVY’s SAT Tutors are closely monitoring the changes coming to the SAT in order to help our students prepare for the highest possible score outcomes. Working with an experienced tutor is a great way to structure your study program, fill in content gaps, and learn valuable test-taking strategies!