“Put Down Your #2 Pencils. Forever” quipped the New York Times in their January 25th article. It is true. The SAT is going digital. This new test will be available outside the US in 2023. Current freshman will get their first taste of the new format as a PSAT in October 2023 before they take the new official SAT in 2024.
The test is section-adaptive, which means that, if a student does well on the first reading section, he or she will receive a more difficult second reading section. Since some students will have a more difficult overall test, the test will be weighted accordingly. Also, as a result of this format, the assessment will be cut from 3 hours to 2 and can still accurately reflect the student’s ability.
There will be no more no-calc math section. Longer reading passages with be replaced by short passages, which have just one question each, allowing the College Board to test students on a wider range of topics.
Students will can use their own computers or tablets or will be provided with one at the test center. Testing will not be done at home. Students will have more test dates and locations to choose from as a result of the digital format.
The test will still be scored out of 1600. Students will receive their scores more quickly than the current 13-day turnaround time.
Practice tests are expected to be available, free of charge, on Khan Academy’s website, by the fall of 2022.
The college Board plans to make a clean break from the paper format to the digital format, except in the case of 504 or IEP accommodations calling for a paper and pencil test.
We may see many current freshmen flee to the ACT (as happened in the last SAT overhaul in March of 2016) since students (as well as universities) will know what to expect from that test. Also as in 2016, we may see students rush to take the old format test before the new one appears. Hey freshmen—what is your plan?