KD College Prep recently announced the launch of a new digital practice test platform that will prepare students for the changes coming to the PSAT/NMSQT® and SAT® tests in fall of 2023 and early 2024.
In January 2022, College Board announced that the SAT and PSAT tests would move to a digital format, starting with the administration of the PSAT test in October 2023. Within weeks of this announcement, KD College Prep started planning for how to best serve students who would be affected by these major changes to the national tests.
“KD’s development and curriculum teams had an enormous task to create a digital practice test that would simulate the new national testing environment this fall. An incredible amount of research and time went into the creation of our new digital testing platform,” said George Steininger, president of KD College Prep.
In this post, we explain what to expect from KD’s new digital practice test platform and how it helps students better prepare for upcoming test changes.
Upcoming Changes to the National Tests
Beginning in the fall of 2023, students taking the national PSAT/NMSQT test will experience the digital test in person at a test center, using their personal or school-issued laptops or tablets. The following spring (2024) will bring the first digital SAT test. Applicable students will test on their own devices in a proctored, in-person environment.
The shift to digital will also bring changes to the format of test content. Reading passages will be shorter, and the overall testing time will be reduced by approximately one hour. The new tests will feature a slight increase in advanced math questions and more concisely worded math problems; additionally, calculators may now be used on all math questions. Furthermore, the use of digital technology will bring another innovation to the test—adaptive test sections. This means that a student’s performance on an initial set of test questions will determine the difficulty of a subsequent question set.
This won’t be the first major test revamp that KD College Prep has navigated. Since 1992, KD’s staff has watched the tests undergo many major pivots, from changes in test questions to changes in scoring or test sections. Through every remodel, KD has found ways to continue to prepare students for their national test dates.
“For years, KD has produced practice tests that accurately replicate the type of content found on the official tests, and these new digital practice tests are no different. We believe that our new digital testing platform will help KD students better prepare for the test changes they will encounter this fall, which will greatly increase their chances of reaching their score goals,” Steininger said.
Building a Digital Practice Test
The development of the new digital platform took several months, and it involved the collective knowledge and experience from teams across the company.
KD’s seasoned team of in-house curriculum writers and test prep instructors collaborated with the development and design team to produce new test content. KD’s proprietary core curriculum is rewritten on a yearly basis, so writing new passages and questions for the practice tests was already on the to-do list. However, this year’s curriculum involved a new approach.
“The curriculum team had two important tasks to help produce the new content for KD’s digital testing platform. First, they had to determine a new breakdown of types of questions that would likely be found on the new, digital versions of the national tests. Secondly, they then had to use their creative minds to come up with their own questions that would mirror the types of questions a student would see on the national tests and create similar testing outcomes,” Steininger said.
The new set of core curriculum also includes a revised final lesson in which instructors go over specific guidance for how students can improve their scores during this unique transitional period when some students will need to prepare for both the paper and digital versions of the national tests.
While the curriculum team worked on new test content, the development team went to work on the new testing platform. The scope of this project involved score report changes, an enhanced test review experience, and beta-testing the new digital testing platform. After many rounds of edits and functionality checks, the first digital practice test was ready for release.
Digital Practice Tests Now Available
KD released the new digital practice tests to enrolled students on May 13, 2023. At the moment, this test is only available to students who are enrolled in an in-person or live-online classroom-based program, have been granted access to the KD Student Portal, and have followed instructions for how to take the digital practice test. New students should note that access to the student portal could take 24-48 hours after registering for a KD Student Portal account.
“We are thrilled with the final product. We’re confident that it will give students the ability to become familiar with what to expect on their official test dates. So far, it’s been a huge success,” Steininger said.
Students can take the digital practice test at home, or they can take the test in person at their KD campus. They must bring their own fully-charged personal device and a charger. Students may not use their phones to test and must contact their KD campus to sign up for a digital practice test or schedule a proctored testing time.
The first set of digital practice tests will prepare students for the October PSAT test. Practice tests designed to prepare students for the SAT test will become available in the fall of 2023.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do KD’s digital practice tests help students prepare for the digital SAT or PSAT tests?
Yes. KD’s digital practice tests are created by our own curriculum team and test prep experts and are designed to help students prepare for the national tests. Since 1992, more than 80,000 students have used KD’s practice tests to prepare for the official tests.
Who can take a digital practice test at KD?
The digital practice test is only available to current students enrolled in a live-online or in-person classroom-based program. New students must first have been granted access to the KD Student Portal to take the digital practice test. Returning KD students with portal access can contact their campus to have a digital practice test issued to them.
When can I start taking digital practice tests?
The digital practice test was first made available to KD students on May 13, 2023. However, keep in mind that certain steps need to be taken before signing up for a digital practice test. Students first need to register for the KD Student Portal (keep in mind that it can take 24-48 hours to be granted access). The email granting portal access will also contain instructions on how to access the digital diagnostic test.
For returning KD students, you will be introduced to new digital test content during your new set of core lessons. You will have access to digital tests as they become available.
Can I still take a practice test for the paper-based version of the SAT test?
Some students, like those in the Class of 2024, will take the paper-based versions of the SAT tests. This option will be available to all students who plan to take the official SAT test before January 2024. These students may still take a test at home and will need to contact their home campus to sign up for a proctored test time.
Can I take a digital practice test at home?
Yes, you will have the option to take the digital practice test at home on your personal or school-issued device.
If I take a digital practice test in person, do I need to bring my own device?
Yes. It will be important for you to become familiar with what it’s like to take the official test. It’s best to use the device that you plan to use on the official test day. Make sure it’s fully-charged and bring a charger, just in case. KD will not provide you with a tablet or laptop for taking the test.
When will I get my score report after taking a new practice test?
You should typically receive your score report within 24-48 hours after completing the test.
How do I review a digital practice test?
Test reviews for the digital practice test can be found in the KD Student Portal. Students can navigate to the questions they missed and view a pre-recorded explanation for each problem. In addition, we also provide personalized test reviews for areas of the test that are still causing you trouble. Asking for the personalized help is part of the review itself (after the last section of videos). Ask for help when you need it!
Can I take a digital practice test for the ACT test?
In 2019, the ACT test first announced its plans to move to a digital test format. However, the testing organization put these plans on hold amidst the COVID pandemic. There has not been an update on when the ACT test plans to undergo a similar transition. For now, all practice tests for the ACT test are offered in a paper-based format. Please contact an advisor for specific guidance on who is best suited to take an ACT test.
Need help preparing for upcoming tests?
KD College Prep offers personalized test prep programs to guide students through the entire testing process. We serve students locally in Dallas-Fort Worth and across the country in 38 states. To find out which program is best for your student, schedule a free consultation.