5 minute read
This blog is the second of a two-part series on the new digital SAT, so we suggest that you start with Part I, which was published last month and described general changes and key points about the test. If you’re looking for even more information, see our previous two blogs: Going Digital: The SAT Enters the Paperless Age, which answers all the burning questions with the information we had in March 2022, and Adapting to Adaptive SAT Testing, which delves into the concept of adaptive testing (when questions increase in difficulty to match the test-taker’s ability).
The digital version of the SAT will arguably be the biggest change to the SAT in decades, and The Answer Class is committed to sharing the most important details with our community so that students are as prepared as possible. This blog looks at the sections of the digital SAT and highlights key details students should know. Remember to bookmark these blogs for revisiting closer to the digital SAT launch!
|Class of 2024 & 2025||Class of 2025 & 2026|
|📝 📝 📝|
The Answer Class will continue to prepare students for the pencil and paper SAT through the December 2023 SAT.
Look for our brand-new course
on the digital SAT in late summer 2023!
This class will prepare students for the digital PSAT in October 2023, the inaugural digital SAT in March 2024, and beyond.
- The total test score will remain out of 1600.
- There will only be two sections: 1) Reading and Writing, 2) Math. Each section will be spread over two modules.
- Test-takers will have more time on average to answer each question than in the paper test.
- In the past, the SAT has included a section of questions that did not contribute to the test-taker’s score but was included by test-makers to “try out” new questions. The digital SAT will include a small number of these questions, but they’ll be embedded into the test “so that students are not unduly burdened.”
Reading and Writing Section
- Questions on the digital SAT will be discrete, whereas the paper SAT included some question sets, particularly in the Reading section.
- The former Reading and Writing & Language sections are now combined into one section.
- Some questions in this section may reference a pair of short passages, like in previous paper tests.
- Calculators can be used on the whole Math section!
- The Math section will still have both multiple-choice and student-produced response questions.
- The word problems in the Math section have been generally made shorter, which means they’ll be a bit faster to read.
- The Math section will continue to have a reference sheet of commonly used formulas.
For a quick comparison of the digital SAT, current (paper) SAT, and current ACT, here’s a helpful table:
|New Digital SAT||Current SAT||Current ACT|
|Format||Online via College Board app “Bluebook”||In-person & on paper||In-person & on paper|
|Timing||2 hours, 14 minutes||3 hours||2 hours, 55 minutes|
|Accommodations||Accommodations available by application. These will be set in the student’s Bluebook app before exam day. An accommodation can also allow use of a paper test.||Accommodations available by application.||Accommodations available by application.|
|Layout||Section Adaptive: There are two Math and two English sections. The second section in each subject is tailored to the student’s performance on the first section in each subject.||Static: The test does not change based on individual performance.||Static: The test does not change based on individual performance.|
English: Each of the 2 Reading and Writing sections is 32 minutes for 27 questions
Math: Each of the 2 Math (with calculator use) sections is 35 minutes for 22 questions
|4 Sections |
Reading: 65 minutes for 52 questions
Writing: 35 minutes for 44 questions
Math (No-Calculator): 25 minutes for 20 questions
Math (Calculator): 55 minutes for 38 questions
|4 Sections |
English: 45 minutes for 75 questions
Math (Calculator): 60 minutes for 60 questions Reading: 35 minutes for 40 questions
Science: 35 minutes for 40 questions
Optional essay: 40 minutes
|Unscored questions/sections||Each of the 4 sections will have 2 unscored questions, for a total of 8 unscored questions. Students will not know which questions are unscored.||Students might receive an unscored, experimental fifth section used for data gathering.||Students might receive an unscored, experimental fifth section used for data gathering.|
|Test Score||Total score ranges from 400-1600: (scaled from a raw score)|
***College Board states that current and new SAT scores will be equivalent.
|Total score ranges from 400-1600: |
|Total score ranges from 1-36: (rounded average of the 4 sections)|
|Subscores||No subscores or cross-test scores.||Subscores include Words in Context, Heart of Algebra, etc.|
Cross-test scores include Analysis in Science, Analysis in History/Social Studies, etc.
|Raw performance on content areas including Conventions of Standard English, Algebra, Craft & Structure, Interpretation of Data, etc.|
|Score Reports||Available days after the exam. Questions and answers will not be distributed.||Available 2-3 weeks after the exam. Students can order a Question-and-Answer booklet to review the test.||Available 2 weeks after the exam. Students can order Test Information Release to receive a digital copy of certain parts of the test.|
|Student Work||Scratch paper will be provided and digital features in each section enable annotation. One question appears at a time, removing the risk of incorrect answer-bubbling.||Scratch paper is provided along with a separate bubble sheet. Students can write in the test booklet.||Scratch paper is provided along with a separate bubble sheet. Students can write in the test booklet.|
Students can find the live, virtual or in-person SAT or ACT prep class that best fits their schedule to prep for the current paper and pencil SAT & ACT here. And later this Spring, students will be able to register for two new Answer Class courses: The Answer Class Digital SAT Class and The Answer Class College Essay Workshop!
As a reminder, this information was distilled from The College Board’s two reports concerning the digital SAT: the “Assessment Framework for the Digital SAT Suite” and “The Digital SAT Suite of Assessments Specifications Overview.”