As you may have heard, the College Board has released a new Digital SAT which debuts in the U.S. on March 9, 2024. Since these changes can bring initial confusion and annoyance (but hopefully, some ease, too — there are lots of pluses to this new test!), we’ll be addressing six common questions and misconceptions.
- Who is taking this new digital SAT? All students going forward will take the new exam.
- What does the term “digital” mean in this context? Do I take the SAT online? At home? For this purpose, the term “digital” means that all students will take the digital SAT on a laptop at the school, much like they did for the PSAT in October. Students will use the Bluebook app which will be downloaded to their school-issued Chromebook to take the test. (Personal computers are also allowed but not personal Chromebooks.)
- Do I need to do anything different to prepare for this new SAT? While one change the College Board made was to make the test digital, they also changed other parts of the SAT so students absolutely should prepare for the exam, just as they would for any other exam they have taken or will take.
- I’ve heard some things about test optional. Does that mean I have the option to take the SAT digitally? Test-optional is an important concept to understand but it doesn’t relate directly to the digital SAT. Students taking the SAT must take it digitally; the pencil and paper SAT has been permanently retired. Students choosing to take the ACT will have the choice at certain locations to take the test either on paper or online but for the SAT, all students will the test on a computer.
- What are the benefits of taking the digital SAT? When College Board created the digital SAT, they also made it section adaptive. This means that the test length could be shortened without compromising its scoring integrity. So the SAT went from 3 hours to 2 hours and 14 minutes (by contrast the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes). Students will also get their scores back more quickly because the digital nature reduces both transit and scoring time.
- You mentioned test-optional, does that mean my child shouldn’t take the SAT at all because it is an option? This is definitely NOT what this means! You want to do everything to improve your chances for college admission and earning scholarships and both of these can be greatly enhanced with strong SAT and/or ACT scores. So as mentioned above, definitely learn about these tests, do preparation, practice, and try your best. Once your scores are in, you can then decide to which colleges you want to submit your scores.
We, at The Answer Class, understand the college admissions landscape continues to change thus making it harder and harder for families to navigate. For 20 years we’ve helped families and we look forward to working with you as well. What questions do you have about this new digital SAT? What’s worrying or confusing you? Please email us your questions so that we can best support your family.