On January 25, 2022, the College Board announced a redesign of the SAT®. Planned changes include making the test fully digital, adaptable, and shorter. The goal is to provide a more convenient testing experience for students and families.
What We Know About the New Digital SAT
The College Board has already shared information about the new test format as well as the transition from the current test to the new digital SAT.
The Redesigned SAT Will Be Digital Only
Unlike the 2021 AP exams, which are the most recent time the College Board offered digital testing, students and schools will not be able to choose between a digital or paper option. All students will take the newly redesigned digital SAT. Only students who qualify for testing accommodations that specify a need for pen and paper testing will have that option.
The Digital SAT Will Be Adaptive
Both the verbal and math sections of the new digital SAT will have two sets of questions each. How a student performs on the first set of questions will determine what questions appear in the second set of each section. The level of questions appearing in the second set determines the overall maximum score a student could achieve. This new approach allows the College Board to trim roughly one hour from the total testing time while also increasing the time a student has to answer each question.
Timeline of the Updated SAT
The new digital SAT will be rolled out as follows:
- Fall 2022: Full-length practice tests will be released.
- Spring 2023: International testing centers will offer the digital SAT.
- Fall 2023: Digital PSATs will be administered in the U.S.
- Spring 2024: U.S. testing sites will administer the digital SAT.
Digital SAT Scoring and Administration
Key points about the scoring and administration of the new digital SAT include:
- Tests will only be administered at schools or testing centers.
- Students may take the test on a personal or school-issued laptop or tablet.
- Scores will continue to be reported on a 1600 scale.
- Scores will be available within a few days of taking the test.
Changes to the Reading and Writing Sections
Changes that will be made to the SAT reading and writing sections include:
- The reading and writing sections of the SAT will be merged into a single section rather than a separate reading section and writing section.
- There will no longer be long passages. Each brief text will include a single question.
- Texts may be paired with another short text or a table/graph.
- Topics will be more varied and reflective of the reading students do in college.
Changes to the Math Section
Changes that will be made to the SAT math section include:
- There will no longer be a no-calculator section of the test. Calculators will be allowed for the entire math section.
- Word problems will be slimmed down.
- The test will still include student-produced responses (grid-ins).
What Is Still Unknown About the New Digital SAT
There are still some details that are unknown about the new test format as well as the transition from the current SAT to the new digital SAT.
Students with Learning Differences
Although the College Board has integrated accessibility features into the new testing application, we’ve yet to learn whether the new test format will positively or negatively affect students with learning differences. This may depend on the type of accommodation needed.
Test Date Scheduling
The current SAT is administered in the U.S. seven weekends each year, with additional opportunities for school day testing at many high schools. Since the new test is online and adaptive, it allows for more flexible scheduling of test dates, but it is still unclear whether the College Board will substantially alter the existing test date schedule.
The number of times a student can take the SAT is limited due to the limited number of test dates available. Assuming the scheduling of test dates will be more flexible, as discussed above, this could allow more opportunity for repeat testing unless the College Board puts explicit limits on repeat testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the new digital SAT.
Can I take the digital SAT at home?
No. Although the redesigned SAT is digital, it will only be administered at school or at testing centers.
Should I take the new SAT even if most colleges remain test optional?
Yes. Under test optional admission policies, good SAT scores lend a huge advantage. Submitting strong test scores helps you to stand out and offers admissions officers an additional positive data point to consider. SAT scores can only help your applications!
Will colleges prefer the new SAT over the current SAT or the ACT?
Based on past precedent, all colleges that evaluate test scores as part of the admissions process will continue to consider these tests equally. Students should take the test that they will perform best on—colleges will not give preference to one test over another.
Will the ACT change?
As of now, the ACT has not announced any plans to change its test. The ACT is already offered digitally at international test centers and at some schools. If the ACT announces additional changes, C2 Education will keep you informed.
When will we learn more about the digital SAT?
C2 Education will continue to keep families informed as new information becomes available. The College Board has said that they will release additional details this summer, and practice materials and tests will become available this fall.
How will C2 Education help students prepare for the new test?
With over two decades of test prep experience, C2 Education has helped thousands of students navigate SAT redesigns in 2005 and 2016. In fact, ahead of the 2016 SAT redesign, C2 Education was the first to market with a full-scale, highly customizable SAT prep solution. We look forward to helping students navigate this new SAT redesign with the same high-quality test prep solutions we have always offered.
Should students wait until digital practice solutions are available?
No—early prep is the best prep! Our most successful students spend months or years preparing for the PSAT and SAT, mastering the foundational reading, writing, critical thinking, and math skills required to excel on test day and beyond. The digital SAT will focus on these same core skills, so preparing early using current C2 materials will help students boost scores regardless of which version of the SAT they plan to take. Prepping early with paper materials allows students to establish the fundamentals ahead of time so that they can focus on digital testing strategies when the time comes.
Ready to get started on SAT prep? Contact us today for your personalized test prep plan.