A Digital Shift? The Future of the SAT 

What is the SAT? 

The well-known SAT is a standardized test that most colleges and universities use as a factor in the admissions process in the United States. This test, administered by the College Board, is a traditional multiple-choice exam that covers math, reading, and grammar. The SAT score consists of the scores from all three sections being added together to make a total of 1600 points. This exam has been used for many years as a tool for universities to assess the knowledge of students. 

How is the SAT changing? 

The main change to this standardized test is that it will be entirely digital. To be more specific, the digital SAT will be shorter in length, taking around two hours rather than the original three. In addition to the shortened time, students will also get more time per question with the shortened exam. This will include “shorter reading passages with one question tied to each, and passages will reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students read in college”(College Board). 

The SAT has always been delivered in person, as a paper-pencil test. While this has been seen as a tiresome yet traditional process, security issues were always present. The College Board, which addressed the shift to a digital exam, explains how exams have been canceled before for groups of students when there is a test compromised due to cheating. This is a common occurrence when large groups of students take the same printed exam. With the upcoming change to the SAT, the College Board states that the digital platform will allow for students to receive a unique test form, which makes it incredibly difficult to share answers between students.

Do people like this change? 

The answer is, YES. If you ask any student who has taken this exam in the traditional paper-pencil form, whether that be once or many times, they will tell you that it is not enjoyable. Thus the switch to digital is much more accepted by students. College Board released that from their pilot of the digital exam, “80% of students responded that they found it to be less stressful and 100% of educators reported having a positive experience”(College Board). The shift to a digital exam follows the elimination of the SAT requirement by many universities. For many students, their score is what made them stand out in a sea of 4.0 GPAs. Now, the SAT is not always required for admission into college. Students can now choose if they want to take the exam and if they want their score sent to a university. 

The College Board released that 83% of students surveyed in the class of 2022 wanted the option to send their scores. They state that “[m]ost students want to take the SAT, find out how they did, and then decide if they want to submit their scores to colleges”(College Board). Students love the idea that they now have more control over their scores, including the fact that 

they now can get their results in a matter of days, rather than weeks, with the digital exam. It is clear that the SAT is seeing some major changes. Students are going to be able to take a much shorter test and have less stress when receiving their scores. The new test will begin operations internationally in 2023 and in the US in 2024. To conclude, it was stated by a student that “In a 

largely test-optional world, the SAT is a lower-stakes test in college admissions. Submitting a score is optional for every type of college, and we want the SAT to be the best possible option for students”(Rodriguez, College Board). 

By Hannah Mangold 

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