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Digital SAT Decoded For High School Students

In January 2022, College Board announced that the SAT will be making a transition to a digital SAT format in 2023 for international students and 2024 for US students. The duration of the test will be reduced to 2 hours and 14 minutes (including breaks) as opposed to 3 hours and 15 minutes for the paper-based SAT. The digital SAT strategy reaffirms the relevance and importance of standardized testing in a post-COVID -19 scenario, making it a positive change for students. With this change, College Board is anticipating a significant rise in the number of digital SAT test-takers in the coming years. Digital SAT takers will receive their scores within a few days rather than months.

The College Board also assures that the test will still measure the same things, be scored on a 1600 scale, and be taken at testing centers or in schools.

Digital SAT has come up with various student-friendly features while retaining the important features of the current SAT, making it easier to take and relevant for today’s time.

Here’s an overview of the newly introduced features of Digital SAT:

1. Less Time Duration – Digital SAT will be much shorter than the pen and paper-based version. Earlier the test duration was 3 hours, but now the test duration will be 2 hours and 14 minutes.

2. Change in Sections & Content – In paper-based SAT, the reading and writing sections were separate. Whereas, in digital SAT, both these sections have been merged into one reading and writing section.

There are also some changes to the relative frequencies of the topics.

Reading and Writing:
Craft and Structure (~28%)
Information and Ideas (~26%)
Standard English Conventions (~26%)
Expression of Ideas (20%)

Algebra (~35% of questions)
Advanced Math (~35%)
Problem-Solving and Data Analysis (~15%)
Geometry and Trigonometry (~15%)

In the new digital SAT, students may use calculators for the entire Math section, and a graphing calculator is also built into the testing app.

3. Computer Adaptive Testing – The digital SAT is a section-adaptive test, meaning that your performance on the first module of each section will determine the difficulty of the second module of that section. The better you perform in the first module, the harder the questions will be in the second module.

4. Hardware & Software – SAT test takers will be permitted to use their own device, laptop, Chromebook, or tablet. They can also bring an external mouse or keyboard. College Board has committed to providing devices to students who are unable to bring their own devices.

College Board’s Digital Testing Application

The digital SAT will be regulated by College Board’s Digital Testing Application which includes tools like a testing timer, calculator, reference sheet, and annotations. This application will help students get acquainted with the type of questions that are expected in SAT. The students can try the tool to get familiarized with the central features of the assessment.

The COVID-19 pandemic made taking standardized tests difficult or impossible for many students due to which many colleges have gradually shifted their emphasis away from standardized test scores and toward other application elements such as GPA and extracurriculars. The College Board is well aware of these roadblocks and has implemented digitalization of SAT to make the test more appealing to students who may have been put off by taking such a long, difficult test.

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