THE NEW DIGITAL SAT

Starting in March 2023 for international test takers, the SAT is going digital. Are you curious about the new test and wondering what changes to expect? In this blog post, we’ll be discussing all those changes that the new digital SAT will bring. Do not miss the special final bonus infographic at very end of the post.

Table of Contents

Will Anything Stay The Same On The New SAT?

Though there are significant changes that will occur on the new SAT, there are still things that will stay the same.

  1. The total score will remain the same.
  2. The overall total SAT score will remain on a 1600 scale. However, the structure has changed slightly. On the Paper-based SAT there was a separate Writing exam and a separate Reading exam that each had a score range of 100-400 points. Both exams were added together to provide a Reading and Writing total score between 200 and 800 points.

    On the digital SAT there is only one exam of Reading and Writing (with 2 modules but we will explain this later), and it’s graded together from a 200-800 scaled score.

    Finally, the Math section is graded in the same way it used to be with a scaled score ranging between 200 and 800 points.


  3. Taken at a test center
  4. The new digital SAT will still be administered at designated test centers where a human Proctor monitors the exam. Though it is digital, there are no plans as of yet for the SAT to be allowed to be taken at home.


  5. Score delivery time
  6. Even though it is a digital exam the grades of the first digital SAT (March 11th, 2023) have taken 2 weeks to be published (students received their scores on March 24th, 2023). However, it is expected that the time it will take for a student to receive their score will become much faster.

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What Is Changing On The New Digital SAT?

  1. Use of the Bluebook
  2. Collegeboard has developed their own software for students to take the SAT digitally. As a SAT candidate, you will need to download it onto your computer to complete your SAT. We highly recommend that you have it installed on your device at least one week prior to your SAT test date so you can get used to it.


  3. The New Structure Of The Exam
  4. The Digital SAT has two exams: SAT Reading and Writing and SAT Math. Here is a table for a you to understand the specifics of each part.

Table that compares the Digital SAT with the paper based one. It analyzes number of questions, modules, type of exercises and resolution times. The comparison is made for both sections: Reading & Writing and Math.
 
  1. The exam will be taken on a laptop or tablet.
  2. As the name suggests, the new digital SAT will only be taken on tablets and laptops. Students may take the exam on a device that they own or one that is provided by the school. If a student does not have a laptop or tablet, one will be provided to them on test day. In order to be eligible to borrow a computer on testing day, you must request it during your SAT registration.

    The specific devices that you are allowed to use to take the Digital SAT are Laptops (both Mac and Windows), iPads and school-managed Chromebooks. We recommend you check out the official Collegeboard specifications to avoid surprises on test day.

    Remember to fully charge your device prior to the exam since you might not be able to have access to an outlet.

    Another important element of the new digital SAT is that if the internet disconnects during the exam, students will still be able to progress through their test. Also, if their computer or device shuts down, it won’t be an issue because all their previous answers will be saved and they will not lose any testing time.


  3. Time Length
  4. The new digital SAT will be shorter. The new SAT will be two hours in length instead of three hours. There will be a digital clock located in the top middle of the screen so that you don’t have to keep staring at a clock or rely on the proctor to tell you how much time you have left per section.

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  1. Unique SAT test for each student
  2. You read that correctly. When the SAT exam goes digital, it means that each SAT test will be unique. What is more, the test will adapt to the student’s level. The SAT sections will be broken down into two modules for each section. Based on how you perform in one module, you will then be provided with either an easier or harder second module. You can go back and forth between questions within the same module. However, once you move onto the next module, you won’t be able to go back to the previous module.

Infographic about the module structure of the digital SAT. There is a only 1 option for stage 1 and that leads to 2 possible Stage two scenarios.

  1. Calculator use
  2. SAT math exam. Students will be able to bring their own (approved) calculators, or they can use the SAT digital exam’s built-in on-screen calculator.


  3. Additional test dates for international students
  4. An exciting piece of news for international test takers is that international students will have two additional opportunities to take the SAT. Now students will have the opportunity to take the exam the same number of times that US students do. The SAT will be administered in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December.


  5. Improved test security and technology
  6. Students taking the digital SAT together will still experience different test versions. That is to say, that the first module of the new digital SAT is not the same for each student. It will be different for each student to prevent cheating and provide a better, enhanced SAT experience. The SAT digital exam draws its questions from a large pool but all questions and modules will adhere to the same content criteria and offer a comparable testing environment.

    Since there is a very low chance of sharing questions (since the exams are all different) within a room or during breaks, students at the same location can begin at different times.

    It is also important to note that students won’t be allowed to open other apps while taking the SAT digital test because the testing app is a locked-down app.

    Finally, another added Benefit and layer of security is that the issue of proctors timing students incorrectly or not providing notifications throughout the exam should be resolved because each student will have their own timer in the digital sat testing app.


Final Conclusions

College Board has made a move into the digital testing world. Don’t get confused and think that they have only changed the channel in which the exam is taken. The Digital SAT is faster, is available on more dates, is more personalized and secure, provides more time per question, and has introduced significant changes in the structure.

Though the SAT is changing, one thing that will not change is the need to prepare for the exam. As always, EPIC PREP is up to date with the latest questions and materials necessary to master the new digital SAT. Our leading team of experts already has developed a new curriculum to master the new digital SAT and we look forward to continuing to help more students obtain their dreams abroad.

Finally, as promised, here is a bonus with a summary infographic for you to compare the digital SAT with the paper SAT.

EPIC PREP infographic comparing the old paper based SAT with the new Digital SAT. The analysis shows the differences for both sections: Reading & Writing, and Math

Hopefully this blog post has resolved all your doubts. However, if you have questions in regards to your SAT preparation, get in touch and we will let you know how EPIC PREP can help you achieve your goals. Differently, if you preffer to continue reading here is the link to our SAT courses page.

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