#100 TRENDING IN Student Life 🔥

Everything You Should Know About the Digital SAT

Student Life

October 05, 2023

College Board’s SAT dates back to 1926. The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. The SAT is composed of three main sections; math, evidence-based reading, and writing.

The SAT provides admissions officers with a tangible measure of a student’s college readiness. SAT scores also make it easy to compare students from different high schools and highlight a student’s strengths and weaknesses.

College Board has made the decision to change the original paper format of the SAT to a digital version, resulting in shorter and more adaptive tests with accessible online tools.

The Digital SAT will be shorter

Image Credit: Arina Krasnikova from Pexels

In previous years, the paper version of the SAT took 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete.

  • Reading section - 52 multiple-choice questions in 65 minutes
  • Writing & Language - 44 multiple-choice questions in 35 minutes
  • Math section - 58 multiple–choice questions in 80 minutes

The new digital version will only be 2 hours and 14 minutes long.

  • Reading & Writing - 54 questions in 64 minutes (split into two 32-minute modules)
  • Math - 44 questions in 70 minutes (split into two 35-minute modules)

This is an advantage for students because reading passages will be shorter and math problems will be more direct. The straightforwardness of the digital version of the SAT will help students save time and finish faster. For many, this change makes the SAT more approachable and less stressful.

The Digital SAT will be an adaptive test

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The new digital version of the SAT has the ability to assess students in between modules and give them either easier or harder questions based on their performance.

In order to accomplish this, the digital SAT uses computerized adaptive testing (CAT). This advanced technology adapts exam questions in real time to the ability of each test taker.

If a student answers questions incorrectly, the exam will give them easier questions in the next section.

Adaptive exams tend to be less frustrating for students and, overall, create a more favorable experience.

The Digital SAT includes built-in online tools

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The new SAT offers the following test tools for students:

  • Mark for review tool
  • Countdown clock
  • Built-in graphing calculator
  • Math reference sheet

Mark for review tool

The testing platform, Bluebook, has the option to flag questions and return to them once the student has completed the module. This is useful because students can skip time-consuming questions and don’t have to browse through their test booklet to find harder questions.

Countdown Clock

This new feature allows students to hide or view the time whenever necessary. A built-in clock helps students pace themselves and ensure they aren’t going over the time limit. For students who are distracted by a timer, there is an option to hide it. However, for the last 5 minutes of the section, the clock will appear to alert students to wrap up their tests.

Built-in Graphing Calculator

Previously, the paper version of the SAT had a “no-calculator” section. The new, digital version gives students access to a calculator on any question in the math portion. The calculator provided will be through Desmos. If students are not comfortable with that platform, they can bring their own approved calculator.

Math reference sheet

Lastly, students will have access to a reference sheet with common formulas students may need for the math section.

Overall, the digital SAT’s format and content will make it more accessible for students. The test will be shorter, adaptive, and will include built-in online tools.

Lea Garcia-Salazar
5,000+ pageviews

Writer since Apr, 2023 · 10 published articles

Lea is a sophomore at Liberty High School who enjoys writing, reading and spending time with friends. She is currently a Staff Reporter for Liberty Wingspan.