The digital SAT: A change for the better


Illustration by Sarah Lin

It’s 2024. The SAT has officially gone digital and is no longer offered in a paper and pencil format. Juniors all across the country are filled with anxiety and questions. What should they expect from the test? Will the unfamiliar format affect their scores?

Many people are uncertain about the digital SAT, which will be fully implemented in March 2024. After nearly a century of this test being administered on paper, students and parents alike are concerned about what the new format will bring.

One approach is to oppose the transition to the digital format on the grounds that digital devices are unreliable. According to Ashley Robinson from PrepScholar, taking the test digitally may cause unnecessary stress for students.
“If the Internet connection fails or the testing app crashes, students will be interrupted during the exam… a disruption like this could add more stress to an already tough testing experience,” Robinson said.

It is true that digital devices are often unpredictable. However, Christine Sarikas from PrepScholar assures that proctors will present and be able to help any students who are having technical difficulties.

“Even though the SAT will be digital, it will still need to be taken in a classroom/testing center, with an in-person proctor,” Sarikas said.

Additionally, the College Board’s vice president of College Readiness Assessments says that the digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give and more relevant. This is especially beneficial to students who are suffering from loss of learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another way the digital SAT is beneficial to students is that it is shorter than the paper version. “The SAT will now last roughly two hours instead of three,” Sarikas said. A shorter test will make the test less intimidating for students, relieving them of unnecessary stress.

The digital SAT also reduces stress for students by returning their scores faster.
“It currently takes between two and six weeks to get SAT scores back… With the digital SAT, the College Board has promised that scores will be returned within days rather than weeks,” Sarikas said.

This reduction in waiting time enables students to quickly decide whether or not they want to continue studying to get a better SAT score. It also allows them the opportunity to take a later SAT and still meet college application deadlines, giving them more time to prepare for the test.

In short, the digital SAT is a change that is designed to make the test easier and less stressful for students. Knowing this, students taking the SAT during or after 2024 can feel reassured, knowing that the new format will benefit and help them.