Going Online- College Board’s new decision on the SAT

Student Suzane Nazir prepares for the SAT using The Manual for SAT.

Photo courtesy of Joe Raedle and NBC News

Student Suzane Nazir prepares for the SAT using The Manual for SAT.

On January 25, 2022, CollegeBoard (CB) announced its decision to change the SAT to digital

The SAT is a standardized test taken by “over two million” per year. It is used to academically judge applicants in a college’s admissions pool. The changes for the SAT are being made to help students have “easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant test,” said Priscilla Rodriguez.

This is not the first time CB has subdued the SAT to change. CB last changed the SAT in 2016, which involved altering the critical points of the test. Before 2016, the test was scored out of 2400 and consisted of penalty points for the incorrect answers. This was changed as the SAT by changing the scoring out of 1600 and no penalty points. 

This year, the SAT plans to change the test by going digital and reducing the time required.

“I don’t think they making the test digital would make a big difference, because when they’ll still have things like lockdown browsers…” CVHS junior Fatima Ahmed said. 

CB has explained that the new digital SAT will have a lockdown browser similar to their online tests during the Covid-19 pandemic for AP tests, which helps to reduce the possibility of cheating. Another thing CB is making the entire math section calculator active. Like a Desmos calculator, the calculators will be attached to the digital test system. “The experience will be different for the kids who are taking the digital test because they have a calculator for all of it, so they don’t need to know those skills [to solve math sections without calculators],” said Ahmed. 

While the students’ responses to the test have been generally positive, students have been talking about the start dates of the test. CB has decided to make the digital tests available for international students in Spring 2023, but they will be available by Spring of 2024 for US students. That’s a year difference between the availability of the tests, which may create some advantages for students abroad.

“I feel like students taking the digital SAT will get a higher score because of the calculator policy and having less time, so they will be less stressed during the test,” Ahmed said. 

CB’s website had advertised similar testimonies by the pilot students (students who took the digital test before it came out). The data showed that 80% of the research study’s pilot students found the test less stressful

“I like how easy the setup was overall, the quick instructions on test day, and the VERY MUCH less stressful test format. It was way less stressful and had less cumbersome instructions”, said Digital SAT pilot student Danielle. 

“When we all come to the online SAT, I think we will have the same advantage,” said Ahmed.