Is Your Student Ready?
Taking the SAT® test is a key step in preparing for college applications. In addition to boosting college applications, good test scores can also open doors to scholarships, honors program placement, acceptance into competitive degree programs, and more. In this guide, we go over some important changes happening to the SAT® test in Spring 2024 and provide recommendations for how students can prepare.
A Quick Guide to the Digital SAT Test
“Digital” can mean a lot of things at first glance. But one thing is clear: students will not take the virtual SAT test at home.
In an 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. If a student needs to borrow a device, they will need to submit a request at least 30 days prior to the test. Be sure to review the guidelines on College Board’s website before test day.
The digital test will be unlike anything students have encountered before. Here are some basic, yet significant, format changes that students will need to prepare for:
- The SAT test will last approximately two hours and 14 minutes, which reduces overall testing time by a little less than an hour. In other words, the new test is significantly shorter.
- The new digital format will be adaptive, meaning it will vary from student to student.
- The new digital format will consist of two modules of varying difficulty. After the first module, one of two potential second-stage modules will be administered. The difficulty of module 2 is dependent on module 1 performance.
- On the digital version, questions that test similar skills and knowledge are grouped together and arranged from easiest to hardest.
Read more about how the reading/writing and math sections are changing. In terms of difficulty, it’s too early to predict whether students will find the test generally more challenging than the paper test.
The first official digital SAT test will be offered to U.S. students in spring of 2024. Some students have already experienced College Board’s digital testing platform for the first time with the digital version of the October 2023 PSAT/NMSQT® test.
First digital SAT test dates available to U.S. students:
- March 9, 2024
- May 4, 2024
- June 1, 2024
Digital testing has been available in smaller capacities for several years, and College Board began its pilot testing in 2021. Below we provide a quick timeline of test changes and what to expect in the coming months.
- November 2021: College Board pilots the digital SAT test in the U.S. and internationally
- January 2022: College Board announces its plans to shift to digital testing
- March 2023: International SAT tests offered digitally for the first time
- May 2023: KD College Prep announces the launch of new digital practice tests for the PSAT and SAT tests
- May 30, 2023: ACT, Inc. announces its plan to launch a digital test pilot in December 2023
- October 2023: U.S. high schools administer the first national PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 tests
- Spring 2024: U.S. students will take SAT and PSAT 10 for the first time digitally. College Board will open registration for Spring 2024 SAT dates in fall of 2023.
Take advantage of test prep courses and digital practice tests designed to help prepare you for these major test changes. If you are a current KD student, make sure you’re reviewing the specific recommendations related to the digital test.
Before test day, review the device specifications and guidelines provided by the College Board. For example, students should be aware that personal Chromebooks will not be permitted. We also recommend that students bring a calculator that they already know how to use. Continue to prepare and let us help you with specific recommendations for you and your testing goals.
Yes, most colleges will consider test scores if a student submits them. Some colleges (like MIT and Georgetown) have returned to requiring test scores as part of college applications, while others have opted for test-optional policies.
Please note that there are some colleges that are “test blind.” Colleges with test-blind policies will not review test scores for the purpose of admission. However, it’s important to note that a test-blind college may still request test scores for other purposes, such as course placement.
What is considered a “good” test score varies depending on the student’s goals and the competitiveness of the colleges on his or her list. We recommend that students aim to score in the middle 50 percentile of accepted students. For example, a student aiming for admission to Baylor University would want to score in the 1170-1350 range, while someone who wants to attend Harvard University should aim for 1480-1580.
Read more about what makes a good SAT test score.
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