SAT Exam goes Digital from 2023

Digital SAT Exam

On the 25th of January 2022, the college board announced that the SAT would be completely digital for all international students (including Indian students) from 2023, and for all US students from 2024. You will still be required to attend a test centre, but this SAT change means the SAT exam will be more relevant, shorter and less expensive to take and give. 

Overview of Changes to SAT Digital Exam

Here is a brief overview of the key changes to the digital SAT Exam:

FactorPreviously (Written SAT)Change (Digital SAT)
Duration3 hours2 hours
Number of attempts5 attempts7 attempts
Pattern- Reading & WritingLonger passages with multiple questions per passageShorter passages with one question per passage
Pattern- MathematicsMore number of word problemsFewer word problems
Calculator UsageCalculators allowed only for a part of the Math sectionBuilt-in Desmos calculators allowed for the entire Math section 
ResultsReceive results in a few weeksReceive results in a few days
Testing CentresFewer centres availableMore centres available 

Digital SAT Exam – Changes in detail

1. Duration

The digital SAT exam will be shorter, just over 2 hours instead of 3 hours as it previously was. However, the paper pattern will also be changed to reflect this timing with shorter questions- thus allowing you more time to answer each individual question. This will reduce overall testing time by one-third.

2. Test Centres

The digital SAT exam will still require students to attend test centres, however, they will take the test electronically via an app on laptops or tablets instead of pencil and paper. Test takers will be able to use their own laptops or tablets to take the test via the app, but will also have the option to use school-issued devices or can opt-in to have the College Board provide a device to use on the day if they do not have access to one. 

The new SAT promises a greater number of test centres to make it more accessible to students across different regions.

The digital SAT will also be more secure – by going digital, unique test forms can be issued which will prevent the sharing of answers, and minimize the risk of cancelled tests, lost tests etc. 

3. Results

The digital SAT test results will also be available much quicker than before, in a matter of days instead of weeks. This will allow students to streamline the college admissions process and make score-sharing easier and more efficient. 

4. Mathematics Section Pattern and Calculator Usage

The mathematics section of the digital SAT exam will see the following changes: 

  • A calculator can be used for ALL mathematics sections of the digital SAT.
  • A Built-in Desmos calculator will be provided for use throughout the exam.
  • The questions in the mathematics section will be less wordy in the digital version to reflect the overall shortened exam.

5. Reading & Writing Section Pattern of the Digital SAT Exam 

The reading and writing sections of the digital SAT exam will see the following changes: 

  • Reading passages will be shortened to reflect the overall time change.
  • Only one question will be asked per reading passage.
  • I.e. instead of one 750-word passage with 10 questions, expect ten 75-word passages with 1 question each.

Reasons for the SAT Exam change 

Following feedback from the fall pilots, 80% of students have found that the digital SAT exam is easier to take, and facilitators have found it easier to administer as well. 

With many universities shifting to a test-optional approach, making the SAT exam digital allows it to be more accessible and less stressful for students and the CollegeBoard alike. Additionally, the digital SAT exam is also less expensive for the CollegeBoard to run as opposed to the traditional pen-and-paper version of the SAT exam. 

Digital SAT Exam Dates

The digital SAT exam will be in force starting in 2023 for international students (including Indian students), and from 2024 for US students. Check out the dates for the digital SAT 2023 here. The College Board has said that the digital SAT exam will allow more test centres to hold the tests more frequently than before. Additionally, students will be allowed to test 7 times when taking the digital SAT (where earlier they were limited to 5).  

Digital SAT Preparation

Keeping in mind that the students need to get accustomed to the new pattern before appearing for the exam, College Board has made available multiple full-length practice papers as well. Check them out here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my device logs out/ shuts down during the digital SAT test?

The digital SAT exam has been designed such that any technical difficulty will not cause a test-taker to lose their work, progress or time taken to reconnect. 

When does the digital SAT exam start?

The digital SAT exam will be rolled out in 2023 for international and Indian students and in 2024 for US students.

Can I still take the digital SAT exam if I don’t have a laptop?

If you do not have a personal or school-issued laptop or tablet, the College Board can arrange for you to have a device to take the test on your test day.

What do I need to bring for the digital SAT?

You will no longer need to bring a pencil or calculator to the digital SAT exam starting in 2023, you only need your ID and device to take the test. 

Is the digital SAT exam harder?

80% of beta-testers of the digital SAT exam in November 2021 found the digital version of the exam to be easier and less stressful than the physical pencil-and-paper version. 100% of all test takers found it to be the same or better. 

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Is SAT tougher than JEE? What is the syllabus for the SAT exam? Is a score of 1000 good on the SAT? You gave the SATs, what’s next? 5 SAT prep tips you need! Changes to the new SAT in 2023
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