Are you a current Sophomore or younger who might be taking the digital SAT? Or are you a Junior internationally wondering how you can study for a test with zero practice tests available? Whether you’re a student, teacher, parent, or counselor, we’re going to share the latest information on the digital SAT.
Brooke recently attended a conference where she heard a presentation from a CollegeBoard representative, and she also personally asked her a few questions on the new, digital SAT. Now we can share this new information with you.
Recap of the Situation
In March 2023, the digital SAT will roll out internationally. In the fall of 2023, the PSAT will be on the new digital platform. The PSAT will also be the same length as the SAT. And then, in March 2024, the digital SAT will fully roll out in the US. In terms of testing, this new test has basically the same content. While it’s trying to say the same as much as possible, there are some differences as well we’ve recently heard about.
You will be allowed to use scratch paper. There will be no separate reading and writing scores, although the test is still graded on the same scale. So, it will still be 800 points for Reading and Writing and 800 points for Math for a total of 1600. While the scoring is basically staying the same, there won’t be as much detail because the test is adaptive. For example, you won’t be able to tell how many history questions you missed in the Reading section.
CollegeBoard Will Be Releasing an Update Soon
CollegeBoard will be releasing an official update in a few weeks that will give us more information about what is actually on this test and how it’s going to work. This update will include a few select sample items so you can see what the questions are going to look like. They’re also going to get into how the test is designed, which should help us learn what’s going to be expected of students and what’s on the test.
New Practice Materials
Previously, the CollegeBoard said we’d receive practice materials starting in the Fall of 2022, but they didn’t specify when exactly. Although they’re not promising anything, the latest information is that these materials may drop in late Summer of 2022. This is great news for international students.
Whether these practice materials will release in the Fall or the late Summer, it looks like there will be four practice tests. Again, this is great for international students who will get four tests to practice with before 2023.
Additionally, CollegeBoard will also release problem sets in late Summer or early Fall. These problem sets will be in addition to the four practice tests. So you will have question banks where you can practice your skills in addition to the practice tests.
Finally, after this, CollegeBoard will continue to release materials annually. After the first four tests drop this year, they will add to that content every year from the material that has been exhausted through the testing process throughout the year.
Khan Academy is redeveloping SAT practice materials for the new test. They will be using some of the old material in the new material, but they’re doing an audit right now to figure out what overlaps, what’s basically the same, and what needs an update. Additionally, both the SAT prep for the current test and SAT prep for the digital test are going to co-exist on Khan Academy at the same time on two different sites. They’re also going to make sure that students get to the correct site and don’t accidentally start prepping for the wrong test.
How Will This Impact QAS and the Testing Laws
One question we had was how this new test would comply with Truth in Testing Laws. Essentially, there are laws in New York and California that say you have to release a standardized test if you give it to people. In the past, the CollegeBoard complied with these laws by releasing QAS tests. CollegeBoard said they are currently working on figuring out how they will comply with these laws in regards to the new, digital SAT.
How You Can Take the Exam
As mentioned before, you can use your own laptop or tablet to take the new exam. You can also use a managed Chromebook. What’s new is that you can also use certain peripheral devices. For example, if you bring a tablet, you can also use a keyboard to go along with that tablet, and a stylus or pen. We’re not sure if they will place any restrictions on what kind of styluses you can bring. You can also bring a mouse with your laptop just in case you have an issue with your trackpad.
Connection Issues and Testing
One of the features built into the new exam is the ability for your computer to cache the entire test. This means that if there is an issue with wifi in the middle of your test, you can continue taking the test without any disruptions. All you have to do is get back online within a certain amount of time after you’ve completed the test to submit your results. During their pilot tests, about 12% of students lost connection while taking the test. However, only 1% of students were even aware they lost connection. Furthermore, 0 students had an issue submitting their tests.
More Flexibility on Start Times
Schools will have the opportunity to give the digital test throughout the day at different times to different students. They can also give the test across a whole window of time at a single school. So schools don’t have to give the SAT in school for just one Wednesday for everyone in their school.
There will be accommodations for students who need to take the test on paper. However, the paper test will not be adaptive. It will be a longer, linear test. So if you’re getting accommodations to take the new, digital SAT on paper, chances are it will look a lot like the SAT does right now.
The online tools on the new SAT will include highlighters with different colors available, and the ability to underline and strike out parts of the reading passages. We are still unsure of the functionality of these tools on the answer choices themselves. CollegeBoard will also be releasing a mini demo of the platform at some point, which will give us more information.
Students are going to be on different timing windows. This means breaks will happen at different times, and people may be getting up from their break while you’re still working and trying to focus. If you get distracted easily, you may consider this when choosing SAT vs. ACT.
CollegeBoard is also introducing a career exploration tool that will tie into the PSAT. When you get your score back, you will be offered access to a career exploration tool. This tool will take into account how well you did on different sections and types of questions.
The Reading section will only have one question per passage. This means we will lose those 2-part evidence questions on the current Reading section. Additionally, you will get more time per question. Students who took the pilot ended up with extra time at the end of their test and felt relaxed. Another content update is that the Math section might have more Geometry.
Additionally, the Reading portion of the new SAT is changing what kind of documents they’re pulling from. It will no longer be a requirement that a certain percentage of documents be founding documents. Founding documents are primary sources written by a person that lived in that time period. An example would be reading a passage about Alexander Hamilton where the document is Alexander Hamilton’s speech. This could change the nature of the kind of passages that we see on the SAT. This may be a welcome change, as students often find founding documents more boring or difficult.
Finally, CollegeBoard is changing how they test experimental questions. Currently, they add the experimental questions into the 5th section of the test. However, with this new, adaptive test, they can work experimental questions into each section of the test. For example, if there are 40 questions in the Reading section, two to four of those questions will be experimental. The rest will count for your score.
Those are all the updates we have for now! We hope you’ve found them insightful.