Drop Your #2 Pencils for Breaking Digital SAT Changes

Drop Your #2 Pencils for Breaking Digital SAT Changes

Sarah Chen, Entertainment Editor

On January 25, 2022, College Board (formerly known as the College Entrance Examination Board) announced that the SAT® Suite of Assessments will be delivered digitally”. The fully digital SAT standardized exam will be available on international test sites in 2023 and on U.S. domestic sites by the spring of 2024. The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 will be delivered digitally in 2023 with the PSAT 10 following in 2024. 

Specific Changes:

  1. The once three-hour Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) which consisted of three sections- Reading, Writing and Language, Math will now be shortened to two hours instead. The Optional Essay and SAT Subject Tests remain discontinued, but the three original sections will remain on the test. These skills are heavily emphasized/implemented in college and beyond. 
  2. With more time allotted per question, students will read and answer shortened Reading passages tied with one question each that  “reflect a wider range of topics”. The passages and questions will be representative of the works studied in college, preparing high school Juniors and Seniors for the rigor and style of literature that is expected at the college level.
  3. Calculators will be permitted for the entire Math section.
  4. Score reports will be sent back in days instead of weeks to reduce the processing and waiting time. This will relieve some post-testing anxiety, stress, and fear for students and parents. 
  5. To address the paper to digital transition, students will be able to use their own device (laptop or tablet) or a school-issued device to take the digital exam. If students don’t have a device to use, College Board states that they “will provide one for use on test day”. Additionally, loss of connectivity and power will not be a problem for the digital SAT has been designed to ensure completed work and reconnection time for all test- takers. This “promise” will address financial inequities for families who have limited access to technology. 
  6. With unique test formats, College Board has also clearly stated that “it will be practically impossible to share answers”. Moderators and administrators will not need to cancel scores if a specific test score is compromised. In summary, the SAT will be much more secure. 

 Why now? 

In light of the Coronavirus, a whopping 76% or 1,785+ number of institutions went test-optional—including the prestigious ivy league schools such as Harvard and Yale. However, millions of students still took the SAT. Conducting a global survey, College Board found that 83% of students opted to submit test scores to colleges.

As the SAT plays a vital role in the “holistic” admissions process, there has been a continued complaint for a combination of a more flexible and less time demanding process for school administrators and test-takers. These recent changes meet these demands by making the SAT “easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board. Rodriguez has also reinforced, on behalf of the College Board Organization, that “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform—we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible. With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs.” 

The SAT will now be a more efficient and objective measure for demonstrating areas of strength and weakness. This test serves as an opportunity for students to reflect and motivate themselves towards their goals like improving their profile for college applications. For more information regarding these recent changes, visit  SAT.org/digital.