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SAT Goes Digital: Everything You Need To Know

As of March 2023, international students have been taking the SAT digitally. For US students, this change will take place in March of 2024, making the last step in the switch from the traditional pencil and paper SAT to the new era of the digital SAT. 

This change is quite significant, considering that the pencil and paper SAT has been around since 1926. The College Board decided on this change to make the test easier to administer and take, as well as more consistent with the digital approach to learning most high schools and colleges have embraced. The College Board hopes that this change will make students feel more comfortable taking the SAT as they will be more accustomed to the way in which the test is being administered.

When the SAT goes digital, the exam medium is not the only part of the exam that is going to be different. While the paper exam lasted three hours, the digital version will last two hours and fourteen minutes. Additionally, the old version consisted of three sections: reading, writing and language, and math. However, the new version will have only two sections: English (which will contain reading and writing), and math. The digital SAT will consist of shorter reading passages and students will have access to online exam tools like an online graphing calculator, a countdown clock, a digital reference sheet for math, and a tool to flag questions in order to come back to them later. 

A major complaint many students have with the SAT is that it is too difficult, but one change the College Board made to the digital version of the test will hopefully combat that. The digital test was created in a way where the questions in Module two of each section will be amended depending on the student’s performance in Module one of that section. This change will hopefully eliminate the feelings that the test is too difficult and make students’ testing experiences more positive. The test scores will also be returned in a more timely manner.

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