I’m sure you’ve heard something about the big changes coming to the SAT. You might be wondering, how will will affect me or my student? Does this new Digital SAT have the same types of questions? Is the study material my older brother used a few years ago still relevant for this new version of the test? And why is the test changing in the first place?
Our hope is that we can answer these questions and any others you may have around the new Digital SAT. In this and future blog posts we hope to calm any nerves about the shift and help you best prepare for this new test.
The first thing to know is that this change is not happening right away. While international test takers have already been taking the Digital SAT, students in the U.S. still have about a year until the change takes place.
Most of our students take the SAT within the U.S. and therefore will not be impacted by the switch until next school year. If you took the SAT this spring you did so with pencil and paper. If you are planning to take the test in the fall, you will still be doing so with pencil in paper.
However, anyone taking the PSAT next fall will be taking a digital version of the test and in spring of 2024 all regular SAT testing will be the digital version of the test.
Still not sure where you fall in all of this? Thankfully, The College Board has even provided a handy graphic (seen below) that succinctly lays out the plan for the transition.
Now, let’s review the current SAT test format so we can understand the changes better.
On the current SAT there are four sections: Reading, Writing and Language (questions about grammar), a No-Calculator Math section, and a Calculator Math section. The test sections are 65 minutes, 35 minutes, 25 minutes, and 55 minutes respectively, totaling up to three hours with a break before the Math sections. The entire test taking process takes around 4 hours.
The Digital SAT will be much shorter, totaling just under 2 hours and 15 minutes. There will still be 4 sections, but they are designed quite differently. Section 1 and 2 both cover Reading and Writing (RW) topics found on the differentiated Reading and Writing and Language sections. Each section is 27 questions long and you have 32 minutes to finish. Sections 3 and 4 are both Math sections, like the original SAT, but students will be provided a calculator on both sections. Both math sessions are 22 questions long and you are provided 35 minutes to answer the questions.