In the past, the SAT® was administered on-site at local high schools or testing centers. Students would arrive early on Saturday mornings and spend around three hours bubbling in their answers on a scantron. Once complete, students would wait about two weeks to receive their test scores.
By spring 2024, the digital SAT will be the new normal and students will submit their answers digitally. This influx of technology in education and online tutoring opportunities have caused students to reconsider available test prep methods.
Is it better for students to prepare for their SAT in-person or online? The answer to this question varies based on a variety of factors. Before delving into this question, let’s briefly cover the rationale behind the new digital SAT format.
About the Digital SAT
Since 2020, schools have pushed for and created more online learning opportunities for students. During this time, the College Board researched ways the SAT can be adapted to meet the evolving demands of education. After extensive research, design changes, and thorough pretesting, the digital SAT’s new format was created.
With this new format came changes in course content and adjusted timeframes for each section. We covered this topic in-depth in a previous blog, however, some major changes include:
- Shorter overall time: The digital SAT takes about two hours to complete.
- Adaptive exam modules: The digital SAT is divided into a Math section as well as a Reading and Writing section. These sections are split into two modules. Upon completion of the first module, the test analyzes a student’s performance and shows questions more appropriate to their level in the second module.
- More time per question for each section: Students have 64 minutes to complete the Reading & Writing section of the digital SAT. Students have 70 minutes to complete the Math section and may use their calculator throughout this entire section.
Who Should Prepare for the Digital SAT?
SATs are administered between March and June, in August, and between October and December. At C2, we encourage students to finalize their SAT scores by the fall of their junior year. However, we understand this timing may not work for every student.
With this in mind, we recommend the class of 2024 and class of 2025 prepare for the traditional SAT. We encourage students in the class of 2025 finalize their SAT scores by December 2023. This can alleviate stress by providing extra time to work on college essays and preparing for AP exams.
How to Prepare for the SAT
Students have the option to prepare for their SAT online or in-person. We strongly recommend students choose the study method best suited to their personal schedule and learning style. This allows students to make the most of their test prep and optimize their test scores.
In-Person SAT Prep
In-person SAT prep provides an immersive experience for students preparing to take their SAT. It provides a designated time, space, and an encouraging atmosphere for students to focus on test prep. It also provides structured schedules and allows students to receive instantaneous feedback from their teacher or tutor.
In-person test prep holds students accountable, surrounds them with other students striving toward the same goal, and increases productivity. This can improve student participation, engagement, and increase retention.
In-person SAT prep works best for students who:
- Can commit to and prefer set learning locations
- Require face-to-face interaction with their instructors
- Enjoy collaborative learning environments
- Prefer studying in physical classrooms
Online SAT Prep
At C2, our online SAT prep program combines flexible locations with set class times. Students can receive instant feedback and live instruction from our tutors. We offer small group sizes to ensure each student receives individualized attention to maximize each session.
Online test prep works best for students who:
- Want small group sessions
- Need flexible tutoring locations to accommodate busy schedules
- Are self-starters
- Want a wide range of options to prepare for their SAT
Which Method is Best?
The answer to this question depends on a student’s individual needs, barriers, and learning style. When trying to decide which method works best, consider:
- How the method works with pre-existing obligations (sports, transportation, extracurricular activities, etc.)
- How the method aligns with the student’s learning style
- How accessible the method is to the student
- How the method works with existing budgets
Regardless of the method students choose, in-person and online SAT test prep will prepare students for the same goal. How students prepare for the upcoming SAT should align with their lives, so they can focus only on test prep.
Flexible SAT Test Prep with C2
Whether our students are in-person or online, C2 Education is committed to helping them reach their academic potential. Our SAT Prep services begin with an SAT diagnostic test to determine each student’s current strengths and weaknesses. Our expert tutors use this information to create an SAT prep program tailored to each student’s needs.
Our tutoring sessions are conducted in small groups to allow each student ample attention from our instructors. Each instructor at C2 is a subject matter expert who undergoes training to stay informed on SAT policy changes. In addition, our experts teach students test taking tips and strategies to improve their chances for success.
C2’s SAT prep services are available in-person and online, so students can choose the best method for them. Whether our students see us in person or virtually, they have full access to our customized curriculum and expert tutors.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for the SAT. The method students choose should work with their learning style, schedules, and the method’s accessibility. Regardless of the method, we encourage students to use the resources available to them to prepare for the SAT.
The SAT is a challenging exam, so we recommend students start preparing as soon as possible.
Ready to receive a customized SAT prep curriculum and full access to our team of expert tutors? Get started today.