In case you haven’t heard, there are some big changes happening to the SAT in 2023 and 2024. As the SAT goes digital, you’ll need to adapt to the new format and structure. But in order to adapt to the new and improved SAT, you need to know more about how the exam is changing. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all of the major SAT changes (2023-2024), including: Let’s begin! The new, digital SAT is definitely different. But you canmaster it and smash your target score! You just need a "can do" attitude...and a little insight into the new test changes. The SAT is set to switch from a paper and pencil format to a digital format in 2023 and 2024. But when exactly is this change happening? For international students, it’s already happened! International students who register for an SAT exam date anytime in 2023 are taking the digital SAT. The paper-and-pencil SAT is no longer available for international students in 2023. For US students, the SAT will switch to a fully digital format beginning in 2024. This change will apply to every SAT exam date from January 2024 forward. When this change goes into effect, US students will no longer be able to take a pencil and paper version of the exam. Put simply: starting in 2024, the SAT will be fully digital for all test takers. To help you get a handle on when the SAT is going digital and how that will affect choosing your exam dates, check out the timeline below:
When Are the SAT Changes 2023?
In case you haven’t heard, there are some big changes happening to the SAT in 2023 and 2024. As the SAT goes digital, you’ll need to adapt to the new format and structure.
But in order to adapt to the new and improved SAT, you need to know more about how the exam is changing. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all of the major SAT changes (2023-2024), including:
The new, digital SAT is definitely different. But you canmaster it and smash your target score! You just need a "can do" attitude...and a little insight into the new test changes.
The SAT is set to switch from a paper and pencil format to a digital format in 2023 and 2024. But when exactly is this change happening?
For international students, it’s already happened! International students who register for an SAT exam date anytime in 2023 are taking the digital SAT. The paper-and-pencil SAT is no longer available for international students in 2023.
For US students, the SAT will switch to a fully digital format beginning in 2024. This change will apply to every SAT exam date from January 2024 forward. When this change goes into effect, US students will no longer be able to take a pencil and paper version of the exam.
Put simply: starting in 2024, the SAT will be fully digital for all test takers.
To help you get a handle on when the SAT is going digital and how that will affect choosing your exam dates, check out the timeline below:
Digital SAT Update
The first digital SAT exam date for international students only is March 11, 2023. Registration deadline is February 24, 2023.
March 2023 and beyond
All international SAT exams will be administered in the new digital format.
The PSAT/NMSQT and the PSAT 8/9 moves to a new digital format to better prepare students for the SAT.
March 9, 2024
The first digital SAT exam date for US students. Registration deadline is February 23, 2024. Note: At this time, this exam date is subject to change.
March 2024 and beyond
All US and international SAT exams will be administered in the new digital format.
As the table above shows, the first digital SAT exam for international students happens in March 2023, and for US students in March 2024. Beginning in March 2024, the SAT will be administered in a completely digital format. There will no longer be an option to take the SAT in a paper and pencil format.
Over the next several months, the College Board may make changes to the SAT exam dates that will be offered in 2024. To keep up with the digital SAT exam dates for 2024, check out our complete guide.
It probably didn't look like this when the College Board decided to make the SAT digital. But the process probably involved a lot of meetings!
Why Is the SAT Changing?
The switch from paper and pencil to a digital test is a big one. So why is the College Board making this change? The SAT is switching to a digital format for two main reasons: to make the SAT easier to take and easier to give and to make the SAT more relevant.
Many of the changes to the SAT’s format and content are designed to make the exam more accessible for students. The digital SAT will be shorter, reading passages will be more concise, questions will be more direct, and students will have access to a wider range of digital tools. The goal of these changes is to streamline the test-taking process and give students a smoother exam experience.
The SAT is also changing in order to keep the exam relevant. Students today are doing more of their learning and testing using digital devices; the switch to a digital SAT is designed to make the exam more aligned with these learning experiences. The changes to the SAT also aim to help students better plan for their futures. To do this, the content and format of both SAT sections will be more focused on assessing what students need to know to succeed in college and career.
Also new to the digital SAT: students will receive more personalized college and career guidance when they get their official score report. In addition to information about four-year colleges, students will also receive resources to connect them with local two-year colleges and workforce training programs. They’ll also get information about how their exam performance might connect to specific career options. The College Board is making these enhancements to score reports in order to help students make more informed decisions about their futures!
What Are the Main Changes to the SAT?
When the SAT goes digital, the exam’s format, content, and score reports will change in some key ways. To help you get a handle on the new digital SAT, we’ve put together an at-a-glance guide to all of the changes to the SAT that we know about so far.
Check out the table below to learn about how the SAT is changing in terms of format, content, scoring, and more!
Type of Change
How It’s Different From the Old SAT
What It Means For You
The SAT will be administered on a digital device (laptop or tablet) through an application called Bluebook.
The old SAT was administered in a pencil-and-paper format.
You can take the digital SAT at school or a testing center using a digital device that belongs to you or a device that you’ve borrowed from your school or the College Board. You’ll download Bluebook to your device before your exam.
The digital SAT will last for a total of two hours and 14 minutes.
The pencil and paper SAT lasted for three hours.
The digital SAT is an hour shorter! Your exam won’t take as long.
The digital SAT will consist of two sections: Reading and Writing, and Math.
The pencil and paper SAT consisted of three sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math.
Your exam experience will be more streamlined.
Both sections of the digital SAT will be divided into two modules: Module 1 and Module 2. You will complete Module 1 before you can move on to Module 2 on both exam sections.
The paper-and-pencil SAT had four sections. They’ve been renamed modules.
You won’t be able to skip back and forth between modules during the exam.
Format and content
Adaptive testing generates an individualized digital SAT exam for you.
The exam was administered on pencil and paper, so the exam could not be adapted to fit your knowledge and skills.
Your performance on Module 1 on both SAT Reading and Writing and SAT Math will be used to generate the questions you receive in Module 2. Every test taker’s exam will be different.
Format and content
Passages on SAT Reading will be shorter, and each reading passage will correspond with only one exam question. Questions on both SAT Reading and SAT Math will be more direct and concise.
The pencil and paper SAT included both long and short reading passages. Reading passages corresponded with sets of multiple questions. Questions were not as explicitly focused on aligning with real college material.
Your exam performance will be a better reflection of your college and career readiness.
Exam tools and rules
Students will have access to a digital countdown clock, a way to flag exam questions and come back to them, a built-in graphing calculator, and a digital reference sheet for SAT Math. Also, students may use the graphing calculator for the entire Math section.
Students’ exams were timed by a proctor. Reference sheets for SAT Math were included in the paper exam booklet. Students could not use a graphing calculator on the entire Math section.
All your exam tools will be housed in the Bluebook app, so your exam experience will go more smoothly. You also get to use your calculator to answer more questions.
Official score reports will be delivered much more quickly, likely within a few days of your exam date.
Score reports were delivered in a couple of weeks.
You’ll get your scores more quickly, so you can make decisions about whether to send your score reports to colleges and whether to retake the SAT more quickly too.
Using your digital device and the Bluebook app, you’ll be able to take full-length, adaptive practice SATs before your exam.
You could download and take paper and pencil practice exams, but there was no app you could use to take them digitally. Old practice exams were not adaptive.
You’ll get more targeted, individualized practice for the exam. Also, you shouldn’t use old versions of the SAT to prep anymore, since they won’t familiarize you with adaptive testing.
Take a deep breath…we know, that’s a lot of change for one exam! The good news is that many of these changes will make the SAT easier to take. Over the next several months, the College Board will also release more resources that will help you get comfortable with the new SAT format before your exam day. We’ll update this article as new information is released about the digital SAT!
But what about other College Board exams? Is the PSAT on paper or computer 2022-2023? Keep reading to find out!
3 Tips for Prepping for the Digital SAT
The good news is that while the digital SAT definitely has some changes, there’s actually a lot about the exam that’s the same. That means you can use many of the techniques you’d use to prep for the paper-and-pencil SAT to get ready for the digital SAT.
Here are our top tips for getting ready for the new, digital SAT.
Tip #1: Take (Digital) Practice Tests
So, what’s the biggest change on the new digital SAT? The format! You’ll have to get used to taking a standardized test on a computer screen. Like we talked about above, there are benefits and drawbacks to the new process. The best way you can prepare yourself is by taking digital SAT practice tests.
The good news is that the College Board has already released practice exams optimized for the new digital exam. Take one practice test at the beginning of your prep process so you can figure out where you’re currently scoring. Then you can take the others over the following weeks (and months!) so you can track your improvement.
Tip #2: Use a (Great) SAT Prep Book
The digital SAT tests a lot of the same material as the paper-and-pencil exam. That means a good SAT prep book can go a long way when it comes to helping you improve your SAT score!
Great prep books have a few things in common. First, they provide you with lots of sample questions so that you can get plenty of practice with the exam material. Second, they give you the tools you need to figure out your weakest areas so you can focus on improving them for the biggest score benefit. And finally, they come with in-depth explanations of concepts and problems so you actually learn the test material.
Tip #3: Build a (Functional) Study Plan
All the resources in the world won’t help you if you don’t use them consistently. Building a study plan can give you the structure you need to ensure you’re devoting enough time to preparing for the SAT.
The goal should be building a study plan that works for your needs and fits in your schedule. For some students, that might involve setting aside thirty minutes each night to work through a batch of SAT problems. Other students’ study plans might involve participating in at-school study groups or enrolling in an SAT class.
Your study plan won’t look like your friends’ study plans, and that’s okay! The goal is to create a plan that you’ll stick to so that you can get the most out of your study time.
If you want more digital help to get you ready for the digital SAT, you might want to use some of the test prep websites out there. But be careful: not every website is created equal! Our experts put together a list of the best SAT prep websites so you know you’re using a good quality resource.
Figuring out how to prep for the digital SAT starts with understanding what a good SAT score looks like for you. We’ll walk you through the process of setting a goal score here.
Of course, your SAT scores are just one part of your college application. If you need a little extra help during the application process, that’s okay. Check out our recommended college application resources that can get you on the right track.
Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:
About the Author
Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.
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