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From 2023, the new SAT will be fully online and shorter for international students

online SAT
The online SAT will only be two hours long. Source: Karim Sahib/AFP

Planning to take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) in the near future? It’s time to ditch your pencils and paper. The online SAT is set to be the new norm.

The College Board, which owns the test, announced on Jan. 25, 2022 that the SAT will be completely digital by 2024, with the test duration cut from three hours to just two. The changes will take effect beginning March 2023 at international test centres, before arriving in American-based test centres and schools in the spring of 2024.

Previously, the College Board had administered a global pilot SAT test digitally in the US and abroad. As many as 80% of test-takers found the format to be less stressful, and 100% of educators responded to having a positive experience.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board, said. She added that the switch will take full advantage of the possibilities available through a digital platform, adapting to the changing needs of students and educators.

Despite the test going digital, students do not have the option to take it at home. The online SAT will still be conducted in a school or a test centre. Scores will remain at the 1,600 scale, and the same knowledge and skills are tested as the paper format.

What’s changing with the online SAT?

Take the test on your device

No device? No problem. Going digital means greater accessibility, and College Board has assured that those without a tablet or laptop will be given a device to access the SAT suite on the test day itself.

Students can also take the online test through their own device or one issued by their schools. To avoid technical hiccups, the online SAT is designed to ensure that students won’t lose their work if they get disconnected, or when batteries are running low.

Shorter test, concise questions

The test time will be reduced to just two hours, featuring shorter passages in the reading section with one question tied to each. The questions will be concise and more relevant to reflect a greater range of topics that represent the works read in college.

Calculators permitted for the entire math section

Calculators will now be allowed for the entire section of the math test. Students can choose to bring their own or make use of the graphing calculator that is built directly into the testing app.

No one test is the same to ensure security

In a move to ramp up test security, each student will be administered a unique test form without changing the difficulty level. The present paper SAT holds the risk of being compromised, which could lead to test cancellations or score cancellations for a whole group of students. With each student receiving a different test online, it’s impossible to cheat or share answers on test day.

Faster results

Instead of waiting weeks for test scores, students will be able to get theirs in just days with the online SAT. The score report will feature useful changes for students to optimise their results going forward.

While the new report will still include scholarship and college planning information, it will also feature more about two-year local colleges and training programmes related to students’ achievements, interests, and financial goals. Additionally, the report will connect scores to career prospects to aid in students’ decision-making for their future.