The SAT is undergoing an exciting change – it is going digital! The SAT has been a paper and pencil test for decades, but starting in 2024, students in the US will take the SAT on a laptop or tablet. This transition brings some big changes to the test and test-taking experience while still measuring the skills and knowledge that matter most for college readiness. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the upcoming digital SAT.
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Clever Academy is an excellent option for preparing for the digital SAT. We offer live online classes, on-demand video lessons, and personalized tutoring. Our expert instructors will help you get ready for the digital format and improve your scores.
At Clever Academy, students can:
- Take realistic full-length practice tests on a laptop to simulate test day conditions
- Review video explanations and strategies for every question
- Master the digital tools like calculator and notation available on test day
- Build skills in reading, writing, math, and essay writing
- Improve speed and efficiency on the shorter exam
- Get feedback and score improvement plans from top tutors
With individualized instruction and flexible scheduling, Clever Academy has helped thousands of students prepare for the SAT and ACT. Upgrade your prep with our proven approach.
Is the SAT still important to take?
Absolutely! Even with the digital format, the SAT remains a vital part of the college application process. Here are some key reasons why taking the SAT is important:
- Tests your college readiness. The SAT measures the skills and understanding that research shows matter for college success. High schools grades alone don’t provide this data point.
- Allows comparison. SAT scores allow admissions officers to evaluate students from different schools on a common scale. Your score provides context for your GPA.
- Broadens options. Most selective colleges require SAT scores. High scores open access to more schools.
- Earns opportunities. Good SAT scores make you eligible for national merit scholarships. Many schools use SAT results for course placement.
- Indicates potential. Standardized tests help admissions officers look beyond grades to identify students ready to thrive on their campus.
In short, the SAT remains a powerful way to showcase your abilities to colleges. Scores are just one piece of your application – but an important one at most schools.
When is the SAT going digital?
Here is the timeline for the digital SAT rollout:
- Spring 2023 – The first digital SAT exams were administered internationally. This allowed testing of the new format.
- Spring 2024 – The digital SAT will be introduced in the US. Both weekend and school day testing will be digital.
- Spring 2026 – The paper-based SAT will be fully phased out. All SAT administrations worldwide will be digital.
So if you are in high school now and plan to apply to college, you will take the digital SAT. The Class of 2025 will be the first students required to take the online exam.
Preparing early is key. Experts suggest taking the SAT first time in spring of junior year. That means practicing on the digital platform starting freshman or sophomore year.
Isn’t this just the same test but online?
The digital SAT introduces some major changes beyond just being on a computer. Here are the key differences:
- Shorter Exam – The digital test is around 2 hours rather than 3 hours long. This is enabled by adaptive testing that personalizes test length.
- Digital Tools – You’ll have access to an on-screen calculator and digital scratchpad for notes without paper.
- Shorter Reading – No more long reading passages. All comprehension texts will be under 1,000 words.
- More World Skills – Questions that test data interpretation, real-world problem solving and analysis will be added.
- Universal Timing – Digital testing allows every student the benefit of extended time for thinking.
- Supports Available – Digital accommodations will be built in for students who need them.
So while the content and skills tested remain largely the same, the experience of taking the SAT will change significantly.
What’s staying the same?
As the SAT goes digital, some important elements remain constant:
- Content Areas – The Evidence-Based Reading, Writing, Math sections test the same skills as before. No subjects are being added or dropped.
- Scoring – Students will still receive scores on a 400-1600 point scale, with optional essay results. Cross-test scores won’t change.
- Question Types – The digital test features familiar SAT question formats like passage-based reading, algebra problems, analysis of data, and more.
- Answer Sheets – Test takers will still bubble in answers on a separate sheet rather than typing on the computer.
- Timing – Total testing time stays around 3 hours with breaks. The digital test adapts only section length.
- Access and Cost – Students can take the SAT at local test centers. Fee waivers and reduced pricing will still be available.
- Accommodations – Students who qualify can request extended time and other accommodations for the digital SAT. Policies remain consistent.
While the takeaway is that the digital SAT measures the same skills, students will need to practice answering questions in the new interface.
The digital format enables some exciting upgrades to streamline and improve the SAT. Here are some of the biggest changes:
- Computer-Based – Students will take the test on a school-provided laptop with access to digital tools for math and note-taking.
- Shorter Test – The digital SAT is around 2 hours without optional essay. Adaptive testing adjusts duration based on individual performance.
- Calculator Allowed – You can now use a calculator for the entire Math section. The digital testing app also includes an on-screen calculator.
- No Long Passages – Reading comprehension sections will feature shorter passages, all under 1,000 words.
- Real-World Questions – New questions will test data interpretation, graphs, charts, and applications to model college and career skills.
- Universal Timing – All test sections will provide extended timing and breaks. Students can pace themselves rather than rush.
- Digital Accommodations – Tools like text-to-speech, color contrast adjustment, and extended breaks will be built into the platform.
- Later Registration – Students can register for digital SAT closer to test day, with 3-week score release.
Mastering these new features through practice will help you transition to the digital test.
How do I register?
Registration for the digital SAT opens in fall 2022 for tests starting spring 2024. Here’s how to sign up:
- Online – Create a College Board account and register at sat.org. Have your photo ID ready.
- By Mail – Print and mail in a registration form. Can take longer to process.
- With Counselor – Some schools help students register as a group. Ask your counselor.
- Register early for best choice of test centers and dates. Spots fill quickly.
- List 4 preferred test centers in case your top choice is full.
- Print your admission ticket once registered. You’ll need it to enter on test day.
- Notify College Board if you require accommodations or translate services.
Use your College Board account to manage registration details and print your ticket. Prepare all required information in advance for a smooth process.
How do I practice?
Start preparing for the digital SAT with these helpful resources:
- Official Practice App – Get a feel for the test interface with a free online practice test.
- Study Guides – Review 1000+ pages of strategies, practice questions, and explanations via free download.
- Daily Practice – Sign up for SAT Question of the Day emails through your College Board account.
- Full Length Tests – Take official practice exams in the new format timed and scored.
- Tutorials – Learn how to use the digital tools like calculator through video walkthroughs.
- Flashcards – Master key vocabulary with digital flashcard decks from College Board.
- Tutoring – Work with a private tutor to sharpen your skills and get feedback.
With a combination of official practice materials, timed tests, and tutoring, you can confidently prepare for the digital SAT. Start early and set a practice plan to build skills and endurance.
The upcoming launch of the digital SAT marks an exciting new chapter in standardized testing. While the test content remains focused on college readiness, the format and experience will be refreshed to better reflect how students learn and live today. With shorter passages, real-world questions, and built-in supports, the digital SAT aims to be more student-friendly while still upholding rigor and quality. As this shift approaches, it is more important than ever to start practicing early and smart. Use official tools and tutoring to master both the content and digital interface. With the right preparation, students can succeed on the digital SAT, open doors to college, and gain skills to excel there.