This week, College Board announced that it will offer the PSAT/NMSQT® and SAT® tests digitally starting in 2023 and 2024.
“College Board’s recent announcement about taking the SAT® test digital brings back many familiar memories. Over the last 30 years KD College Prep has seen numerous adjustments, reconstructions, and make-overs by College Board. With each change we have adapted and found new and improved ways to prepare our students,” says David Dillard, CEO of KD College Prep.
This is not the first time that College Board has made significant changes to the tests, and it won’t be the last! However, the shift to an online format will involve some major changes to how the students take the tests and how certain questions are formatted.
“This digital conversion has been signaled by the company for some time,” Dillard says.
In this post, we answer some common questions about what to expect with these changes and provide our advice for families moving forward.
“Digital” can mean a lot of things at first glance. But one thing is clear with this announcement: students will not take the online PSAT or SAT tests at home.
In their announcement, College Board stated that the digital SAT test will still take place in a proctored, in-person environment. Students will still take the tests at school or at a testing center.
The test will take place on a laptop or tablet through an exam application developed by the College Board. This application will need to be downloaded to the device prior to test day. Students can use personal or school-issued devices.
College Board confirmed that this move to a digital format will change some aspects regarding the content of the test. For example, the SAT test will consist of about two hours, which reduces overall testing time by about an hour.
The digital version of these tests will feature more direct questions, shorter reading passages, and slightly more concise math problems. The new digital format will also be adaptive, meaning it will vary from student to student.
Another significant change is that students can now use calculators on the entire math portion of the test.
For more information about these changes, visit the College Board website.
The PSAT test will change to a digital format beginning in the fall of 2023. Schools and testing centers in the U.S. will offer the first digital SAT test in the spring of 2024.
Whether these changes apply to you varies depending on your grade level. Below we provide more specific guidelines for each group of current and soon-to-be high school students.
Class of 2022 and 2023 (Current 11th & 12th Graders)
These changes will not impact students who attend high school in the U.S. and will graduate in the Class of 2022 or the Class of 2023. They’ll graduate before the PSAT or SAT test transitions to the new digital format.
Class of 2024 (Current 10th Graders)
For U.S. students, these changes will only affect Class of 2024 high school students who decide to take the test during the spring of their 12th grade year. As mentioned above, College Board will offer the first digital SAT test in the U.S. during the spring of 2024.
We strongly encourage students to complete testing prior to 12th grade to allow for more time to focus on college applications.
Class of 2025 (Current 9th graders)
These students will experience both paper and digital tests. In 10th grade, they will take the paper PSAT test. In 11th grade, they will take the digital PSAT test. For SAT tests taken through December of the 11th grade, these students will take the paper version. Starting in spring of 11th grade, they will take the new digital SAT® test.
We recommend that these students continue preparing as normal. As College Board announces additional details regarding these changes, we will communicate more specific recommendations. At KD, we will include preparation for both the paper and digital format for these students.
“We will have the first students to be affected, our clients in the Class of 2025, ready long before the new test format’s launch,” Dillard says.
Class of 2026 (Current 8th graders)
This class will be the first to be impacted by a purely digital testing environment for the PSAT and SAT tests. Since the test content will remain consistent, students still need to acquire and practice math and verbal skills. You should continue your foundational preparation with KD as recommended. We will communicate more specific changes when College Board announces more details.
This is not the first time that KD College Prep has helped its students navigate changes to the SAT test format. During our 30-year history, we have experienced several of these events. We have anticipated this change and plan to adjust our offerings in turn so that we can continue to offer expert assistance to students impacted by this change.
“Preliminary plans for adapting to the new testing approach have been on our drawing board and now will be finalized as the details of the new delivery mechanism are revealed,” Dillard says.
College Board has stated that digital testing will replace the paper materials and pencils currently required. A paper PSAT test will not be available starting in the fall of 2023, and a paper SAT test will not be available starting in the spring of 2024—only digital tests.
College Board states they will continue to ensure every student has the appropriate accommodations they need. This may include a paper test when appropriate.
Stay the course. Continue to prepare as you are now and stay engaged with us so we can help you with specific recommendations as you approach the change. The skill set needed for this test will not change. The test will still include reading, writing, and math.
Still need to prepare for upcoming SAT and PSAT tests? Now is a great time to start.
The PSAT test will change to a digital format beginning in the fall of 2023. The first digital SAT test in the U.S. will be in the spring of 2024. KD will offer digital test formats well in advance of that date for those who will be impacted. As we learn more about the specifics of the test from College Board, we will adjust our program offerings to reflect the new test format.
The ACT test announced back in September 2019 that it was planning to offer online options to students starting in the fall of 2020. The pandemic altered those plans, and the ACT test announced in July 2020 that its online testing plans had been postponed.
Our advisors are available to answer questions regarding these test changes and can provide direction on the best next steps for your family. For more guidance, schedule a free consultation or contact your home campus.
“As always, we are here to make sure our students are ready to show their best selves when it matters most,” Dillard says.