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Mastering the Digital SAT: Tips and Strategies for Success


Welcome to the era of the Digital SAT! The College Board has made significant updates to the SAT and, as of January 2024, is transitioning from the traditional paper-and-pencil format to a digital experience. As high school students and parents, it's crucial to stay informed about these changes and how they might impact your test-taking journey. In this article, we will explore the key changes coming with the new Digital SAT and provide essential tips for successful preparation. Let's dive in!


Benefits of the Switch

The switch to the Digital SAT brings several advantages for test-takers. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Improved accessibility: Digital testing allows for a more inclusive experience, accommodating a wider range of accommodations and assistive technologies.

  • Faster score delivery: With the digital format, scores can be processed and delivered more efficiently, reducing the waiting time for results. The College Board website reports scores can, in some cases, be delivered within days instead of weeks.

  • Enhanced test security: The digital format strengthens test security measures, minimizing the risk of cheating and ensuring a fair testing environment. According to the College Board, “[c]urrently, if one test form is compromised, it can mean canceling scores for whole groups of students. Going digital allows us to give every student a unique test form, so it will be practically impossible to share answers.”


The Digital SAT Test Format

The Digital SAT introduces significant changes in the test format. It is important to familiarize yourself with these updates to excel on test day. According to the College Board, here is what to expect:


What is staying the same:

  • The SAT is still measuring knowledge and skills that matter most for college and career.

  • The test scoring is still on a 1600 point scale

  • Tests will still be administered in schools or testing centers (you will not be able to take the test at home)

  • There are still free online resources to prep for the digital version. Check out Kahn Academy, College Board’s official online test prep partner.

What is changing

  • The test will be taken on a laptop or tablet.

  • The test will take approximately two hours rather than three. The test has 56 fewer questions, and more time is allotted to complete each question (Scoir)

  • The reading passages will be shorter (rather than having a few long texts)

  • Students will be able to use a calculator on the entire math section, and there is a built-in calculator within the testing application (you will still be able to bring your own approved calculator if you prefer).


One of the biggest changes that the digital format allows is the switch to adaptive testing. According to the College Board, the digital SAT (and digital PSAT) uses a multistage adaptive design. This means “each test section (Reading and Writing, and Math) is divided into two equal-length, separately timed parts called modules. You’ll answer a set of questions in the first module before moving on to the next. The questions you’re given in the second module depend on how you performed on the first module” (collegeboard.org). You can read more about the Digital SAT adaptive testing HERE.

The SAT for The Class of 2025

If you are a current junior and in the middle of your test-taking process, you may wonder how the switch will affect you since it is happening right in the middle of your testing process. All tests offered in 2023 will be in the paper format, so if you are scheduled to take a test before the end of the year, you will still be taking the traditional pencil and paper format.


If you sign up to take a test after the beginning of the year, you will be taking the new Digital SAT, which means potentially you could have scores on both formats of the test. Your next question may be, can I superscore a digital SAT and a paper SAT? College Board says that they will super score both tests IF the college accepts them. The key is to pay attention to what your colleges’ policies are on superscoring.


Since the digital SAT hasn’t rolled out yet, many schools don’t yet have posted policies on this, so it is important that you pay attention to this throughout the spring of your junior year and into your senior year so that you can measure your score results appropriately against their schools’ admitted student profiles and to ensure that you are reporting scores correctly.


Tips for Preparation

To succeed on the Digital SAT, effective preparation is key. Consider these tips as you gear up for test day:

  • Familiarize with the digital platform: Practice using the digital tools and features available in the official SAT practice resources to feel comfortable with the digital test-taking experience.

  • Practice time management: Develop strategies to manage your time effectively during the test, ensuring you can complete all sections within the allotted time.

  • Test Prep: If you choose to engage with a test prep company to help get ready, there are many options to choose from. There are both in-person and Zoom options out there, as well as individual tutoring, small group, and hybrid (a combination of group and individual work). The key is to seek out the test prep option that works for your studying style and budget.

  • Utilize online resources and practice tests: Take advantage of the wealth of online resources, including official College Board materials and reputable test prep platforms, to supplement your preparation efforts.

As the SAT transitions to a digital format, it's crucial to adapt your preparation strategies to set yourself up for success. Embrace the benefits of the Digital SAT, such as improved accessibility and faster score delivery. Utilize online resources, practice tests, and study materials to enhance your preparation efforts. By staying informed and adequately preparing, you'll be well-equipped to tackle the new Digital SAT and achieve your desired results. Good luck!of


Summary of the Updated Digital SAT (Click to view and download)




 

Garrett Educational Consulting provides comprehensive counseling for college and boarding school admissions as well as academic advisement. Click HERE to learn about our services.

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