We are proud to publish this guest post by Lara Kilgore, founder and CEO of Beyond Education, an educational advisory firm for parents and mentorship program for students, offering advice for high school students and families preparing for the digital SAT and other important changes to the college entrance exam.
It’s been six years since the last major SAT change—when the test went from 2400 to 1600 and got rid of those pesky vocabulary-out-of-context questions—so I guess we’re all due for some updates. This time it’s all about going DIGITAL. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. In recent years, so much of education has shifted to online platforms; there are many causes, including but not limited to Covid–19. Between distance learning and the increased demand for asynchronous learning and homeschool programs to support students of various learning needs, we’ve seen many schools and curriculums move entirely online. In fact, at Beyond Education, the company I founded and run, when we work with homeschool families, we’ve noticed it has become harder and harder to find any type of textbook in-print or hybrid curriculum. So the fact the SAT is going completely online is sort of expected.
So How Is the Digital SAT Going to be Different?
There are two big differences between the current SAT and the digital version of the SAT launching in two years.
1️⃣ There will be no bubbling in with a pencil. The entire test will be on a tablet or computer. Students will be given login details the day before, and according to the College Board—the nonprofit organization that creates and administers the SAT—students can use either school-provided or own laptops or personal devices to take the test.
2️⃣ The new digital SAT will also be adaptive. This is a big perk of going digital, and it means that the test will adapt in real time as the student answers each question. Each section (those are staying the same: Math, Reading & Writing sections) will be further broken down into modules. After a student completes a module, the computer will assess their performance and give them either more or less difficult questions in the next module. This is not the first standardized test to do this. Many, like the GRE, already do, and the GRE is basically the SAT for graduate school. The College Board boasts that the adaptive feature will also ensure that cheating will be nearly impossible since each student’s test will be unique to them.
How Long Will It Be?
This is exciting news . . . the new digital format will be almost an hour shorter . . . and high schoolers everywhere shouted, “Hooray!” Instead of the 2 hour 55 minute SAT, the digital SAT exam will be only 2 hours flat. The College Board also states that since all of the pre-test administration and prep will be done the day before, the time students will sit for the exam on test day will be even shorter because a proctor doesn’t have to spend time passing out paper copies.
Will There Be Any Way to Still Take a Paper Test?
Yes, for those who show proof for needing those accommodations. If a student can prove via a psychologist or diagnostician that their 504/IEP requires access to a paper copy, then the College Board will be able to make those arrangements. Just know that you can’t just ask for a paper copy, you have to follow testing policies and file specific documentation through the College Board to qualify.
When Will this New Digital SAT Take Effect?
The official transition to the full length digital SAT in the US will take place in spring 2024. The PSAT given fall 2023 will be the first digital PSAT in the US. So, the class of 2025 (this year’s freshmen/first years) will be the first junior class to take the digital SAT. The interesting part is that—if they plan well—the class of 2025 could take the paper SAT in the fall, then the digital SAT in the spring, compare test scores, and decide which (with the highest score!) to submit with their college applications.
International testing centers will start offering online exams to international students in March 2023.
College Board has said they will have FREE digital SAT tests available in fall 2022 on Khan Academy for students who want to get a jump start.
So What Do We Do Now?
As with all new roll outs, I would expect some further updates as they work out all of the kinks of transitioning to a digital platform. (Has anyone ever heard of a perfect roll out of any new tech???) If you have a class of 2025 student, make sure they are prepared to take both the current and new format. Take advantage of the free online resources for both the current and new SAT to see if they prefer one over the other. It’s always better to have a plan rather than to wing it.
If you want to chart out a plan to make sure your student will be ready to apply confidently to college, please reach out to us at Beyond Education to chat. This is our bread and butter, and I would love to talk through your student’s specific needs with you.
Charter Moms Chats
Lara Kilgore is founder and CEO of Beyond Education, an educational advisory firm for parents and mentorship program for students. Over the last ten years, she has worked with hundreds of struggling students from public schools, private schools, charter schools, and home schooling environments to utilize the tools necessary to become confident and successful adults by using her proprietary methodology through parental advising and student mentorship. She is widely regarded by parents as a go-to resource for family stress management as well as how to create a path through students’ high school careers and on to college success, and is invited to speak on these topics throughout the San Antonio area. She provides a fresh and unique take on how doing education right can help kids become confident, empowered, and secure young adults.
Read More About College Readiness
- “The SAT Is Going Digital,” Lara Kilgore, Beyond Education, February 10, 2022
- “KIPP Forward Ensures that All Students See a Path to Success,” Ruben Rodriguez, San Antonio Charter Moms, February 9, 2022
- “The SAT is Changing: Here’s What to Know,” Sarah Wood, U.S. News & World Report, February 7, 2022,
- “SAT going digital in shifting college admissions landscape,” Carolyn Thompson, AP, January 25, 2022
- “Digital SAT Brings Student-Friendly Changes to Test Experience,” College Board, January 25, 2022
- “Fight Covid Slide with Expert Resources,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, December 9, 2020
- “Discussing College and Career,” Lisa Cunningham, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 30, 2020
- “Adapting to Distance Learning and Homeschooling — Beyond Education & San Antonio Charter Moms,” YouTube, March 19, 2020
- “Higher Education Remains Committed to the SAT, But Scores of San Antonio Students Tell Us More About Income Than Aptitude,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Current, October 24, 2018