All you need to know about the new digital SAT

All you need to know about the new digital SAT

This article is a guide to the new digital SAT that has been introduced by the College Board and will be implemented in 2023 for International students.

It was announced by the College Board that the SAT will be converted to digital format for international students in 2023. The same digital format will undergo conversion for students from the US in 2024. As opposed to 3 hours for the current SAT, the digital SAT test will be reduced to 2 hours. 

This change reaffirms the importance and relevance of standardized testing in the post-COVID-19 era. As the administration has been eased, there is a significant increase expected by the College Board in 2023 in the number of digital SAT test-takers. The test takers will receive their SAT scores within a few days rather than the traditional months.

When does the SAT go digital?

For International exams in March 2023, the first round of digital SATs will be available, according to the College Board. International students will be able to take the exam in 2023. However, US students will be able to take the Digital SAT exam in 2024.

The digital SAT has already arrived in some ways. A digital SAT Pilot exam was quietly administered by the College Board to select students in late 2021. However, in exchange for this testing, $50 or $100 gift cards were offered to the students but no official SAT score was given.

Digital SAT pilot test takers, at the beginning of 2021, were invited to take the test and they were accepted. They were given the official SAT scores. In addition to this, they were given the option to keep or cancel the test scores after viewing them.

Digital SAT: how many questions and how long?

The Digital SAT exam that is to be introduced on March 2023 will be simple. The time of the test has been reduced to two hours. In addition to this, the test will allow more time per question across the board. The major changes to the test are as follows:

  • A single question per passage with shorter reading passages.
  • Passages that are taken from a wide range of college-level exams.
  • Calculators can be used for the entire Math section
  • The scores of the Digital SAT will be released faster. This will help students and educators to make college decisions in a quick fashion.

Advantages of Digital SAT 2023

  • Secure: If there are any external or internal issues, the paper-pencil version of tests may be cancelled. Each student will have a unique test form in the digital SAT and it will be more secure. They will be able to use their own device or the one issued by the school.
  • Faster Score: Students can access their scores within a few days rather than weeks.

Differences between the Current SAT and Digital SAT

When compared to the Current SAT, the Digital SAT will be a simplified version. The new format will place more emphasis on college readiness skills and place less emphasis on endurance and speed. The Reading Section of the current SAT consists of long passages. Moreover, the History passages that frequently occur require patience to solve.

However, the digital SAT will be including passages from the sciences and humanities. It delves into more contemporary issues in economics, finance and the environment. It will also cover a broader range of short passages.

There may also be a greater emphasis on combining passage text with graphical information in order to answer questions. However, all speculation of these is just speculation at this point.

Also, calculators will be allowed in the entire Math section. The questions will also be more straightforward, similar to the ACT Math section. Also, more geometry will be included along with trigonometry problems. SAT will also offer emphasis on Algebra and Word Problems.

The test content is being revised by the College Board to better accommodate digital delivery. However, the digital SAT exam 2023 will continue to assess the same knowledge and skills of the students learnt in high school. The knowledge on topics that are most important for college and career readiness will be assessed.

Similarities between the Current SAT and Digital SAT

  • The knowledge of the students and their skills will be assessed by the Digital SAT, similar to the current SAT. This is the most important part of college and career readiness.
  • The Score of the Digital SAT will be on the same 1600 scale. Educators and students will be allowed to track their growth over time across the suite.
  • A proctor will be present while administering the digital SAT in a school or a testing centre. The examination will not take place at home.
  • Students can directly access scholarships.

Devices that can be used

A laptop or tablet can be used by the students to take the digital SAT Suite. The device that they use can either be personal or school-issued. A student can request one from the College Board if they do not have a device. They will be provided with a device to use on the test day.

The format is the same for the students who take the SAT on the weekend both in the USA and internationally. The College Board has built the exam application as efficiently as to withstand internet outages.

Thus, if any difficulty is faced by the student with their device or connectivity on the test day then they can still progress through the test without any disruption. They will not lose testing time and all their work will be saved.

The difficulty level of Digital SAT

A candidate may be concerned about the online version of the test if they wish to take the test online. However, it was found by the majority of students in the pilot test that this new format was simpler and more intuitive and simpler.

This shows that it is simpler to navigate between questions and simpler to answer without fatigue. The interface of the digital SAT will include a Student Clock. Therefore, the test takers will find it easier to keep track of time.

Options such as highlighters, strikethrough and mark for review will be available. Also, a built-in calculator along with a reference feature with standard mathematical formulas will be available. All the tools will be available for the test takers to solve questions in one place.

Available Tools for the Students

In the digital testing application for students, many test tools will be included:

  • You will have the option of flagging the questions which will help you come back to them later.
  • A countdown clock will be given to the students. They can choose to hide or show it at the top of their testing screen. This will alert them of the time that is left over.
  • A built-in graphing calculator can be used by the students throughout the math section. However, they can also bring their own calculator.
  • For each math question, a reference sheet will be offered with common formulas.

How to study for Digital SAT?

In 2023, if you wish to take the SAT, you have a lot of time which will help you to develop strong writing, reading, language, as well as math skills. You must start studying for the Digital SAT as soon as possible. You must make visible improvements in all areas.

Use your current SAT tests in order to track your progress. You need not take tests at full-length. However, you can always solve the Writing and Language sections. Also, you can solve the Math sections. You must try to achieve a perfect score on practice tests.

Also, Focus must be given to developing a foundation of comprehension skills. Moreover, before beginning to read, you must develop an awareness of current global debates and issues. Thus, your vocabulary and reading speed will be automatically increased. You can, thus, successfully transition to SAT reading in the future.

How to prepare for the Digital SAT?

  • Reading: Start reading about a variety of science and humanities topics. Begin your reading with Economists, New York Times, New Scientists and Washington Post. Start reading the editorials right away and the current geopolitical and environmental issues in them. Also, you must work on becoming a more informed reader in general. Cultivate opinions instead of being a passive receiver of facts.
  • Writing and Language: Rules of Punctuation and Grammar are compulsory practices under standardized tests.
  • Digital SAT Math Section: All of the math topics covered on the current SAT must be practised. Also, you must pay special attention to trigonometry and geometry problems from official tests of ACT. Formulas and Facts are required in Maths. Thus, you can respond to questions more efficiently and accurately. Thus, you must learn the formulas and facts that are related to the current SAT topics. Moreover, you must understand why and how they work.

Impact on College Admissions

It is difficult to predict how the new digital SAT will affect college admissions as these changes were just announced. Moreover, this will not go into effect for another year or two. However, it is believed that there won\’t be any difference.

Colleges are expected to view the digital version of the SAT as similar to the current version as the general content, scoring system and difficulty of the SAT will not be changing much. Colleges are also making an effort to hold students accountable for circumstances beyond their control.

Therefore, there will not be any negative impact of taking one version of the SAT on your college applications when compared to students who opted for the other versions. However, the ways in which SAT has been viewed by colleges has been shifted significantly in recent years.

Colleges have currently shifted their emphasis away from standardized test scores. They are looking towards other application components such as high school classes, GPA and extracurriculars. This trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult or impossible for many students to take standardized tests for months.

Practically every college became test-optional in 2020 and 2021. Moreover, hundreds of schools chose to remain test-optional for an indefinite time period. You can choose to submit SAT or ACT scores or not as part of your application if a school is test-optional. The other components of your application will be given more weight if you do not submit the standardized test scores.

These trends are well-known to the College Board. The test is made more appealing by the implementation of many new changes in SAT to the students who may have been discouraged by taking such a long and difficult test.

According to a College Board poll, the option to submit test scores in their college applications was requested by 83 per cent of the students. Moreover, tests are allowed by nearly every college. Therefore, the SAT is not going away anytime soon.


It is expected that colleges will view the digital SAT in a similar fashion to that of the current SAT even though standardized test scores are becoming less important for admission. Therefore, you can go with the one that you think is the best to support your strengths.

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