Put Down Your Pencils: The SAT Is Going Digital

The new, shorter test will be administered entirely via laptop or tablet.

The SAT, the college admissions test we all know and love begrudgingly tolerate, will have a different look in the coming years as it undergoes a digital transformation.

For starters, say goodbye to your No. 2 pencils. The new test will be administered entirely via laptop or tablet; students can either bring their own device or have one supplied.

It will also be shorter, down to two hours from the current three-hour written test, featuring shorter reading passages spanning a broader range of topics and more time to answer each question.

A digital-only format also means scores will be returned in days instead of weeks, and may cut down on cheating. Every test will be unique, so students who copy answers are in for a rude surprise.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of college readiness assessments at the College Board, said in a statement announcing the changes. “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform — we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible.”

The College Board said students and proctors who tested a digital version of the SAT in November responded favorably, with 80% of students finding it less stressful than its written counterpart, and 100% of the educators endorsing the new format.

The digital changes will roll out internationally in 2023 and in the U.S. in 2024. Other tests administered by the College Board will follow a similar timeline. The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 will be delivered digitally in 2023, with the PSAT 10 following in 2024.

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