How will the new digital SAT affect American college aspirants?

In 2022, the College Board announced that the SAT would go from paper-pencil format to digital format starting in 2023 (internationally, in the US, it’s due out in 2024). | representative image

Ah, the dreaded standardized test! Why is it important again? Are your school grades not good enough? And what exactly is the difference between the two?

Standardized tests, which account for approximately 30% of US college admissions criteria, help colleges establish parity among students applying from different countries, boards, and different educational streams. While you may hear mention that post-pandemic US colleges and universities have become test elective and allow students to choose whether or not to submit test scores, an average of 60-70% of the top 50 US college entrants submitted test scores on their applications. . So, if you’re going to submit a competitive application, be sure to plan on taking the SAT.

SAT scores also help demonstrate students’ cognitive abilities and college readiness. It also helps strengthen college application applications. For example, if you struggled with a few subjects leading to a low GPA during your senior year, a standardized test like the SAT will help you reward yourself on your application.

Finally, the SAT helps test problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Preparing for the SAT will help you hone these skills, which will not only benefit you in college but also in life.

Digitization of the SAT?

In 2022, the College Board announced that the SAT would go from paper-pencil format to digital format starting in 2023 (internationally, in the US, it’s due out in 2024). In November 2021, the College Board conducted a pilot version of the digital SAT. Internationally, school-wide pilot programs have been shown to be 80% less stressful than paper-delivered exams. Educators also agreed on manageability.

What’s the difference?

There are significant changes to the way students attempt the exam, with the main parts of the exam remaining the same.

Key Differences Between Digital SAT |

What stays the same?

How Students Study for Tests


How Students Score

How Colleges Use Your Score

Benefits of the Digital SAT

Adaptability to adjust to determine student’s overall level

Increased flexibility and security

Increased availability to large numbers of students

Students can flag questions and revisit them later.

Radhika Nihalani Bajaj

Game Changer – Adaptive Nature

The adaptive nature of the SAT makes perhaps the most dramatic change to the adaptive test model that the new test will follow.

For most high school students, the digital SAT will be their first adaptive test and will require adjustments to their usual testing strategies. The adaptive nature of the SAT measures students’ performance in moments of rapid focus on scores. The College Board will continue to assign a score out of 1600 despite shortening the testing period with fewer questions.

Here’s how it works.

Each section is divided into two modules: a diagnostics module to measure your level, and an easier/difficult module in the second half based on your performance in the first half.

Your performance in Module 1 determines the difficulty of Module 2. If you perform well, more difficult questions will be displayed.

On the downside, this can be seen as a challenge for students who initially need time to warm up and find their groove. The positive, however, is that these challenges are not new and can be easily adapted. Students just need to re-strategize their learning tactics. In the future, mock exams will be an important opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with the adaptive two-module format.


Standardized tests continue to be important in the undergraduate admissions process to American universities. Change and repetition have been part of this testing process that evolves and adapts to the students’ time and needs. Change has taken a long time for the SAT, and the College Board has effectively absorbed test taker feedback and data from the past few years. All submitters. win-win-win.

The author studied marketing and management at NYU Stern and is a senior manager at OnCourse Vantage Pvt Ltd.

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