Preparing for the digital SAT® requires students to familiarize themselves with exam content and the testing application. Since we discussed exam content in previous blog posts, this post covers the items required for the new digital format. We’ll also answer some common concerns to better prepare students and parents for Digital SAT prep and exam day.
Digital SAT Prep Before Exam Week
Bluebook is the official digital SAT testing application. In it, students can work through sample questions, take full-length SAT practice tests, and review their performance on practice tests. Students can review detailed explanations for incorrect answers on practice tests within Bluebook and download PDFs of each practice test.
Bluebook will also be used to administer the SAT on exam day. As such, we encourage students to use the application as much as possible during test prep. This helps students confidently use Bluebook’s unique features and tools as well as navigate the application prior to test day.
Step 1: Secure a Personal Testing Device
Students are allowed to use personal devices such as Macs, iPads, and Windows devices on test day. Students cannot use a personal Chromebook or cell phone to take the digital SAT. Prior to test day, students can download the Bluebook application onto their device, sign in, and take practice exams.
While students can access the exam on a personal device, they cannot take the digital SAT at home. Students must take the exam at a testing facility on specific dates.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s address a concern some students and parents may have regarding devices.
What if I Don’t Have a Personal Device?
Students without access to personal devices or who only have access to a personal Chromebook have 3 options:
- Ask to borrow a device from a friend or family member
- Use a school-issued device
- Request a device from the College Board
Students who borrow a device from a friend or family member will need to verify it meets the following requirements:
- Windows devices
- Must run Windows 10 or later
- Needs 250 MB of available disk space for one exam and an additional 50 MB for each additional exam
- Mac devices
- Must run macOS 11.4 or later
- Needs 150 MB of available disk space for one exam and an additional 50 MB for each additional exam
- Must run iPadOS 14 or later
- Need 150 MB of available disk space for one exam and an additional 50 MB for each additional exam
Students who use Chromebooks as a personal device cannot use it for the digital SAT. Students can only run Bluebook on a school-managed Chromebook. These Chromebooks can be issued through a student’s school or by request with the College Board.
Students interested in borrowing a device with the College Board must:
- Indicate they don’t have a personal device during registration
- Select “request a device” at the end of registration
- Answer a brief questionnaire
- Provide desired test day and location
- Request a device at least 30 days before their test day
Students taking the digital SAT with a laptop cannot use an external keyboard during the exam. However, students taking the digital SAT on a tablet or iPad are allowed to use external keyboards during the exam. External mice are allowed for laptop, tablet, and school-managed Chromebook users during the exam.
Step 2: Practice Using Tools Embedded within Bluebook
Students will need their College Board username and password to sign in to Bluebook. Having this information allows students to access Bluebook on any device compatible with the application. This gives students the flexibility to practice at school, in a public library, at home, or on a friend’s device.
Bluebook has several useful tools embedded within its software for students to access throughout the exam. Students can access a reference sheet and graphing calculator within Bluebook throughout the Math section. In the Reading and Writing section, students can use Annotate to highlight texts or leave notes throughout the passage.
In both exam sections, students can:
- Zoom in and out of text
- Cross out answers on multiple choice questions to narrow their options
- Mark questions for later review
- Select the “help” icon to troubleshoot any issues they have during practice tests or the actual exam
- Check the embedded timer to gauge how much time remains on each section
The Bluebook application was designed to work with a variety of assistive technologies (AT) to better serve students with disabilities. We encourage students to complete practice tests using their preferred AT to test its compatibility with Bluebook.
Digital SAT Prep During Exam Week
Five days prior to test day, students can obtain their admission ticket and complete their exam setup in Bluebook. Students without access to a borrowed device can complete their exam setup the morning of their test. However, they must complete Step 3 prior to the test day.
Step 3: Obtain an SAT Admission Ticket
Without an SAT admission ticket, students cannot enter the testing center to take their SAT. Accessing a student’s SAT admission ticket can be done through the College Board website. Students can sign in to My SAT, find “My Upcoming Tests,” and select “Print Your Admission Ticket.”
Students can print a physical copy of their admission ticket, take a screenshot, or email a copy to themselves. This ticket will contain the test date, test center address, a message to the students, and student information. Please make sure the student information is correct prior to their test day.
Step 4: Complete Exam Setup in Bluebook
This step can be completed before or on the morning of the SAT depending on a student’s access to their testing device. Students who complete this step the morning of their exam should arrive 30 minutes before their exam starts. This gives students ample time to complete their exam setup before the exam begins.
Regardless of when students complete this step, students are responsible for installing the exam setup on their device. About a week prior to the exam, a “start exam setup” button will appear in the Bluebook application. Students can click this button to install the official digital SAT exam onto their device.
Preparing for Test Day
We have created an SAT checklist to ensure students bring everything they need for a successful day of testing. We have divided this list into mandatory and optional items.
What Do You Need to Bring to the SAT?
Students must bring the following items to the testing center on exam day:
- A valid photo ID
- An SAT admission ticket
- A fully charged testing device
- A power cord or portable charger for their testing device
- A pen or pencil for scratch work
Students using a school-issued device or College Board device may pick them up at the testing center.
What Can You Bring to the SAT?
These items are not mandatory to take the SAT, however they can improve a student’s overall comfort and SAT experience:
- A drink and snack for breaks
- A watch without an audible timer
- An approved graphing calculator
- A backpack or bag to store a testing device
- A wireless mouse
Digital SAT Prep with C2 Education
C2 Education’s Digital SAT prep program was designed by content experts with decades of experience writing test prep curriculum. This curriculum is customized by our expert tutors to suit each student’s needs and help them reach their goals. Students receive continuous feedback as they work through sample questions and practice tests.
Our tutors teach students the best ways to use the tools embedded in Bluebook to optimize their test scores. This includes learning to annotate content, narrowing incorrect answers, marking questions for later review, and more.
Preparing to take the digital SAT may seem overwhelming, but it can be broken down into smaller steps. Before their exam, students should secure a testing device and familiarize themselves with Bluebook. Students can also work with tutors to better understand test material and ways to use the tools within Bluebook.
The week of the exam, students should take a screenshot or print a copy of their SAT admission ticket. Students can complete their Bluebook exam setup five days before or the morning of their exam. We recommend reviewing the checklist in this article the morning of the SAT to ensure students are prepared for testing.
Want to learn more about the digital SAT? Call us at (888) 312-3814 or submit this form for more information.