New Digital SAT in 2024 - What Does This Mean?
Starting in 2023, College Board is planning to shift to a different format of the SAT and any relevant exams: a shorter and digital version. The overall objective is to make the SAT “easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant.” In March 2023, international test centers will begin to administer the new SAT. In Fall 2023, all test centers will begin to administer the new version of the PSAT. And finally in March 2024, test centers in the U.S. will begin to officially administer the new SAT.
What Exactly Is Changing?
Test Format (Time, Number of Sections)
The overall test time will shrink from 3 hours and 15 minutes to about 2 hours. Not only is the test time decreasing, but the average time per question is also increasing, making time a lot less significant obstacle for students during the exam. The number of sections for the exam is also decreasing from 4 to 2. The original Reading and Writing sections are now being combined into one section, and the math sections are now combined into just one calculator section. This means that students will no longer receive sub-scores for reading and writing. Moreover, with the test becoming digital, students will now receive their scores in matter of days rather than weeks.
Use of Calculator for Entire Math Section
The current SAT has two math sections: one calculator section and one non-calculator section. The new SAT, however, allows students to use a calculator for the entire math section. The digital testing application will have a built-in graphing calculator for students who do not own their own calculator. This resolves the disadvantage that students and schools with fewer resources have had in the past.
Each Test is Unique
Now that the exam is digital, College Board is generating a different set of questions for each student. Questions will be unique but highly comparable so that fair scores will be given for students. This will prevent cheating and any test security related issues that have occurred in the past as questions and answers will be practically impossible to share.
Multistage Adaptive Testing (MST)
The new SAT will implement a multistage adaptive testing methodology. What this means is that each section (Reading/writing and Math) is divided into two modules during the exam. In the first module, students are given a wide variety of easy, medium, and difficult questions. Based on the student’s achievements and results on the first module, the second module will consist of questions that are adjusted to match the student’s performance level. This will shorten the test yet retain the precision and reliability of longer non-adaptive exams as the second module of questions is now personalized based on the student’s results in the first module. Overall, this results in a more efficient and tailored experience to the student as they will no longer waste time on questions that are far below or far above their current performance level.
With the test becoming digital, various new tools are being provided to the students during the exam. This includes not only a built-in graphing calculator in the testing app, but also a timer, reference sheet, and a flagging tool to mark pending questions for review. Students will have a live clock on the screen as well as a feature that allows for simple switching between questions and math formulas.