The Digital SAT® Glow-Up: Changes That Matter!

A silver paint can and a paint roller sit in front of a freshly-painted blue wall.

The upcoming changes to the SAT® go beyond just transitioning to a digital format. It’s a complete makeover for the test! The new digital SAT aims to be more versatile, accessible, and less time-consuming. Plus, it’s designed to work well with the different ways that students learn, making the test fairer and more complete for everyone.

The Digital SAT Glow-Up: Not Your Grandma’s SAT Changes

Now more than ever, it’s easier for students to take the SAT because they can take it online, get their scores within a week, and access score reports easily. The focus on critical thinking and problem-solving, instead of just memorizing facts, makes it a fairer way to see how college-ready students really are. This new and revamped SAT is more student-centric, making it a great choice for everyone, no matter how they like to learn.

Step 1: A Change in Appearance

The user-friendly Digital SAT comes in a new sleek format, which you’ll access through the BluebookTM app. The number of questions has also been cut down, making it a quicker test to take! The lengthy Reading and Writing sections have been merged into one, with just 54 multiple-choice questions in it. The Math section questions have been reduced from 58 to 44. These modifications have cut down the overall test duration by one hour.

That’s a whole lot of change, if you ask us!

These benefits extend beyond quicker score results and flexibility, and here’s why they matter:

The digital SAT promises greater access to students

Digital tests are usually more accessible because you can take them from anywhere, like your home or a special testing place. In addition to accommodating lifestyle changes, digital testing is especially helpful for people who have trouble going to a test center or if they have a physical disability.

The adaptive testing mode enhances students’ test performance

The digital SAT is super smart! It changes the difficulty of the questions based on your previous responses. This personalized approach provides a more accurate assessment of your abilities and challenges.

Improved test security

The new avatar of SAT comes with advanced security features to make sure nobody cheats. Secure login procedures, randomized question orders, and hi-tech monitoring tools make sure that everyone is playing fair and nobody gets an unfair advantage.

Improved multimedia integration into the test

Digital tests are better at incorporating videos, images and charts. This makes the test more interesting and allows for a more comprehensive evaluation of your knowledge and skills in a better way compared to paper tests.

Paperless tests are cheaper

Even though setting up digital tests might cost money at first, in the long run, they can be more cost-effective than printing and handing out lots of paper exams.

They’re better for the environment

Going digital means reducing the need for paper, which helps save the environment. It also cuts down on using resources to print, transport, and throw away all those paper test materials. In a way, it's like giving the Earth a big high-five!

The digital SAT promises greater access to students

Digital tests are usually more accessible because you can take them from anywhere, like your home or a special testing place. In addition to accommodating lifestyle changes, digital testing is especially helpful for people who have trouble going to a test center or if they have a physical disability.

The adaptive testing mode enhances students’ test performance

The digital SAT is super smart! It changes the difficulty of the questions based on your previous responses. This personalized approach provides a more accurate assessment of your abilities and challenges.

Improved test security

The new avatar of SAT comes with advanced security features to make sure nobody cheats. Secure login procedures, randomized question orders, and hi-tech monitoring tools make sure that everyone is playing fair and nobody gets an unfair advantage.

Improved multimedia integration into the test

Digital tests are better at incorporating videos, images and charts. This makes the test more interesting and allows for a more comprehensive evaluation of your knowledge and skills in a better way compared to paper tests.

Paperless tests are cheaper

Even though setting up digital tests might cost money at first, in the long run, they can be more cost-effective than printing and handing out lots of paper exams.

They’re better for the environment

Going digital means reducing the need for paper, which helps save the environment. It also cuts down on using resources to print, transport, and throw away all those paper test materials. In a way, it's like giving the Earth a big high-five!

Step 2: Lifestyle Changes

Did you know?
In 2019–20, the number of students who graduated high school in rural areas was 90%1, and was higher than the national average of 87%.

In the past decade, rural students have outperformed their urban counterparts in high school. But when it comes to going from high school to college, it gets tricky for rural students. Not many of them end up going to college, and it’s a big difference compared to students in the city or suburbs. Surprisingly, only 21.1% of rural adults aged 25 or older had a college degree in 20212. And if rural students do make it to college, they often end up leaving before finishing, according to the National Student Clearinghouse3. Unfortunately, rural students applying for financial aid, a key indicator of college aspirations, have seen a drastic decline of over 18 percent4, according to the National College Attainment Network.

Why is this happening? Well, there aren’t many jobs available, and not many employers visit rural colleges for recruitment. High school doesn’t always adequately prepare students for college admission tests like the SAT, AP, and the ACT. Additionally, it’s challenging to find the right resources and funding to prepare for these tests and secure scholarships. It’s even harder for them because they don’t have many places to go and learn, and there are about 41 million5 adults who live in remote, rural areas, 25 miles away from their nearest higher education centers. The journey from high school to college proves challenging for them, resulting in a significant gap in college attendance rates.

But guess what?

The Digital SAT is here to help change all of that! It aims to address these challenges by enhancing accessibility, especially for students in historically underserved areas, making it crucial for those facing transportation obstacles to pursue higher education. That means more chances for everyone to go to college!

In addition to improved accessibility to the SAT, there are a bunch of other benefits for students:

Making college accessible with scholarships

Because the digital SAT is linked to the Student Search Service, it automatically shares your name with colleges. This allows both rural and urban colleges to contact you based on your SAT test scores.

If money crunch holds you back from going to college, then the digital SAT is here to help! A good SAT score opens doors to financial aid for college-bound students, especially federal grants. Don’t forget to fill out the FAFSA online if you require financial aid for college.

Get an edge for competitive college programs and impacted majors

Most colleges (even test-optional ones) use SAT/ACT and AP scores to make admission decisions and even place students in classes that are appropriate for their academic aptitude. With the SAT more accessible than before, students from remote areas can compete with their urban peers to get into good colleges.

Step 3: A Change in Confidence

As the SAT goes digital in 2024, so does your winning test prep strategy!

Studies6 say that test preparation can boost your SAT scores by at least 30 points! With a quality and affordable test prep that’s available online, you don’t have to worry about spending time traveling to prep classes. Imagine getting all your prep done from the comfort of your home or anywhere with the internet, and investing all that time and energy you spend commuting on effective learning. But wait, there’s more! Online prep programs aren’t just about convenience; they’re also super affordable. No need for expensive textbooks or extra commuting costs.

Here’s how these affordable online programs can totally boost your performance and confidence on test day:

Retain more of what you learn with engaging content

Dive into your studies with fun! Interactive tools like flashcards, notebooks, and vivid illustrations bring learning to life. Practice quizzes and simulations help you remember more of what you learn.

Get a bang for your buck with cost-effective test prep

With quality online test prep like UWorld, say goodbye to expensive textbooks! Premium online programs such as these cut out the need for physical materials, saving you and your wallet some serious cash. Plus, with these prep classes, your classroom is wherever you have internet – that's a money-saving win!

Excellent answer explanations create optimized learning

Imagine having a guide that guides you through every concept and explains why the right answer is correct and why the wrong answers are incorrect. That’s how premium test preps like UWorld’s Digital SAT prep help you prepare for your big day! Untimed practice tests help you focus on the sections you need to improve the most. That's what adaptive learning tech does! It curates a prep that caters to your learning requirements.

Turn on your competitive streak with timed practice tests

Timed practice tests help you get a clear understanding of your progress through personalized analytics and a performance tracker of your mock test results. Use performance trackers to see how you compare to other UWorld users, and take advantage of sharing insights, discussing strategies, and gaining diverse perspectives from your peers.

Retain more of what you learn with engaging content

Dive into your studies with fun! Interactive tools like flashcards, notebooks, and vivid illustrations bring learning to life. Practice quizzes and simulations help you remember more of what you learn.

Get a bang for your buck with cost-effective test prep

With quality online test prep like UWorld, say goodbye to expensive textbooks! Premium online programs such as these cut out the need for physical materials, saving you and your wallet some serious cash. Plus, with these prep classes, your classroom is wherever you have internet – that's a money-saving win!

Excellent answer explanations create optimized learning

Imagine having a guide that guides you through every concept and explains why the right answer is correct and why the wrong answers are incorrect. That’s how premium test preps like UWorld’s Digital SAT prep help you prepare for your big day! Untimed practice tests help you focus on the sections you need to improve the most. That's what adaptive learning tech does! It curates a prep that caters to your learning requirements.

Turn on your competitive streak with timed practice tests

Timed practice tests help you get a clear understanding of your progress through personalized analytics and a performance tracker of your mock test results. Use performance trackers to see how you compare to other UWorld users, and take advantage of sharing insights, discussing strategies, and gaining diverse perspectives from your peers.

Embrace the Digital SAT Glow-Up

The new and improved digital SAT represents a transformative shift in the way we approach standardized testing. Embracing this evolution opens up a world of possibilities for students, educators, and the educational system as a whole. As we navigate this new era of standardized testing, it is essential for students to embrace the digital SAT by honing their digital literacy skills and adapting to the changing landscape. The benefits of a digital format, such as instant scoring, and adaptive testing, aim to provide students with a more tailored and insightful assessment of their academic strengths. Teachers and schools also have a big role in helping everyone get used to this new way of testing by teaching us how to use technology for the test.

Furthermore, the digital SAT glow-up fosters inclusivity by reducing barriers for students with disabilities, making sure everyone has a fair chance. Even though there might be some challenges, overall, this change is about making testing easier, fairer, and showing progress for all students.

Enhance Your Digital SAT Performance.
Skyrocket your score in weeks.
Practice with Digital SAT exam-like questions on the go with the mobile app.

References

1(2023, August). Public High School Graduation Rates in Rural Areas. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/LBA/high-school-graduation-rates-rural

2(2023, May 12). Rural Students in Higher Education Fact Sheet. Postsecondary National Policy Institute. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://pnpi.org/factsheets/rural-students-in-higher-education/

3 (2017). High School Benchmarks 2017: National College Progression Rates. National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://nscresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017HSBenchmarksReport-1.pdf

4(2023). FAFSA TRACKER. Form Your Future. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://formyourfuture.org/fafsa-tracker/

5Jenkins, M. (2019, November 11). In rural America, too few roads lead to college success. Lumina Foundation. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://www.luminafoundation.org/focus-magazine/fall-2019/in-rural-america-too-few-roads-lead-to-college-success/

6Sanchez, Moore, & San Pedro. (2018). Investigating Test Prep Impact On Score Gains Using quasi-Experimental Propensity Score Matching. https://www.act.org. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from https://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/R1710-investigating-test-prep-impact-2018-07.pdf

7(2021, October 8). New Census Data Show Differences Between Urban and Rural Populations. Census.gov. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-210.html 

8(2017, April). Rural Education at a Glance, 2017 Ed. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/83078/eib-171.pdf

9(2023, March). Rural Students in Higher Education. Postsecondary National Policy Institute. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://pnpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/RuralStudents_Mar23.pdf

(2023). How the Digital SAT Is Structured. College Board. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/digital/whats-on-the-test/structure

(2023). How the SAT Is Structured. College Board. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat/whats-on-the-test/structure

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