SAT will soon be all-digital and shortened from 3 hours to 2
By Eric Levenson, CNN
The SAT taken by prospective college students across the country will go all-digital starting in 2024 and will be an hour shorter, the College Board announced in a statement Tuesday.
“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of College Readiness Assessments at College Board. “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform — we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible. With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs.”
The transition comes months after the College Board pilot-tested a digital SAT in November 2021 in the US and internationally. 80% of students said they found it less stressful, and 100% of educators reported a positive experience, according to the College Board.
The decision comes as the College Board has felt increasing pressure to change its stress-inducing test in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and questions around the test’s fairness and relevance.
The test has long been criticized for bias against those from poor households as well as Black and Hispanic students. The high-stakes nature of the test means that those with more resources can afford to take expensive test prep courses — or even, as the 2019 college admissions scam revealed, to cheat on the test.
Schools have increasingly made such tests optional over the past few years. More than 1800 colleges and universities have dropped requirements that applicants take the SAT or ACT, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.
As part of the changes, sharpened No. 2 pencils will no longer be needed, and calculators will be allowed in the entire Math section.
In addition, the new digital SAT will be shortened from 3 hours to 2 hours, with more time per question. It will feature shorter reading passages with one question each and will “reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students read in college,” the College Board said. Students will also get back scores within days rather than weeks.
The move to a digital test will apply to all of the SAT Suite. The PSATs and international SAT will go digital in 2023 followed by the US SAT a year later. Last year, the company dropped the SAT’s subject tests and the essay section.
The College Board said the shorter, all-digital test will give more flexibility to states, districts and schools in deciding where, when and how to administer the test.
Despite these changes, the SAT will still be scored out of 1600 and be administered in a school or test center.
On its website, the College Board highlighted a number of student testimonials praising the digital test, particularly for lowering the pressure and anxiety around its importance.
“I like how easy the setup was overall, the quick instructions on test day, and the VERY MUCH less stressful test format,” Danielle, a US student who took the pilot digital SAT. “It was way less stressful and had less cumbersome instructions.”
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