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“In a largely test-optional world, the SAT is a lower-stakes test in college admissions. Submitting a score is optional for every type of college, and we want the SAT to be the best possible option for students. The SAT allows every student—regardless of where they go to high school—to be seen and to access opportunities that will shape their lives and careers.

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

Why the Change and Why Now?

Since the turn of the millennium, the SAT relevance to college admissions has been questioned with various groups and colleges all debating its place in providing a level playing field for high schools students across the US. Covid-19 accelerated this thinking and created new problems – as there was a lot of upheaval around just the logistics of taking a test due to various lockdowns and safety considerations.

However, despite nearly every college going test optional during the pandemic (see our other article here to understand what test optional means), millions of students STILL took the SAT. Most students, be they International or US-based, do want to take the SAT to bolster their college applications.

Hence, College Board have responded to improve the efficacy of the SAT by moving it online starting 2023. Interestingly international students go first: The SAT will be delivered digitally internationally beginning in 2023 and in the U.S. in 2024.

What are the Key Changes?

With an online format, each student will receive a unique paper. The questions will be shorter and easier to answer, which will improve the experience for the test taker – without compromising on the validity of the scores.

  • The time to complete the test has been brought down from three hours to two hours. The comprehension passages will be shorter, with each passage carrying only one question.
  • You will be allowed to use a calculator for the mathematics section. And obviously, you don’t have to remember to bring a separate calculator. You can find one in your laptop/tablet itself.
  • You won’t have to wait for weeks to receive the test results. The scores will be sent to you within mere days.
  • Chances of cheating in the test will be greatly reduced, since every student will receive a unique paper. Thus, it cannot be compromised, leaked or discussed with your peers.
  • The test will still be taken place in proctored environment (school/test centre) – it will not be taken from home.

*Test format will be released on a later date

How can a Shorter Test still give me the Same Score?

The questions and passages will be easier and shorter. Lesser time will be allotted to each question as well. But the scoring for every question will remain the same. Thus, regardless of the length of the test, you will still be scored out of 1600.

How are US Colleges Reacting to the News?

Back in the day, almost every college in the US had an SAT requirement for admission. But, as mentioned above, more and more institutions are making the test optional these days. Despite the change, did you know that over 83% of the students prefer to submit their SAT scores? And the introduction of digital SAT is supporting them.

US colleges have positively reacted to the news. In fact, 100% of the educators left favorable reviews of the test during the November pilot. Many of the educators agreed that it was much easier to administer the test. Quite a few of them were happy that they would no longer have to pack, sort, or ship test materials.

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