Digital SAT Suite: Frequently Asked Questions

Go to the Digital SAT Suite Page

We will continue to provide more information about the transition to the digital SAT Suite of Assessments throughout 2022.

FAQs

Will the paper and pencil SAT still be available alongside the digital version?

We are making a full transition to digital, so once we begin administering the SAT Suite digitally we will no longer offer a paper and pencil version of the tests. Though we will continue to support students who test with accommodations that require a paper and pencil test.

That means:

  • Starting in March 2023, all students taking the SAT at international test centers will take the digital test.
  • Starting in fall 2023, all students taking the PSAT-related assessments will take the digital tests. SAT School Day and SAT weekend administrations in the U.S. will still be paper and pencil.
  • Starting in spring 2024, all students will take the full SAT Suite of Assessments digitally.

 

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When can students register for the digital SAT?

Students will be able to register for the first digital SAT administrations at international test centers starting in fall 2022. We’ll share more information about registration and administration dates later this year.

We’re administering the digital SAT first at international test centers in spring 2023. It will then be offered in the U.S. beginning in spring 2024. Most students who take the SAT do so for the first time in the spring of their junior year. So, for students testing internationally, those in the class of 2024 will be the first to take the digital SAT. In the U.S., students in the high school class of 2025 will be the first class to take the digital SAT. 

Students everywhere will take the digital PSAT 8/9 and PSAT/NMSQT starting in fall 2023. They will take the PSAT 10 starting in spring of 2024.

 

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How will students take the digital SAT?

Students will take the SAT on a laptop or tablet, using a custom-built digital exam application that they’ll download in advance of test day.

 

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How will students practice for the digital SAT?

Students will practice for the digital SAT using Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy. Students can receive free practice—anytime, anywhere. Digital SAT practice material will be added to Official SAT Practice in fall 2022. At that time, we’ll also have full-length practice tests available in the exam application. These full-length practice tests will be adaptive so students can get the full digital SAT experience while practicing. We’ll share more information about practice resources this summer.

 

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How will the digital SAT be more secure?

Currently, if one test form is compromised, it can mean canceling scores for whole groups of students. Going digital allows us to give every student a unique test form, so it will be practically impossible to share answers.

 

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Why are you administering the digital SAT internationally first?

We’re launching the digital SAT internationally first because going digital will allow us to offer two additional international SAT administrations starting when we launch in 2023. Moving from five to seven administrations to match the domestic calendar is an important way to expand access for students around the world.

 

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Why are digital PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 being offered in the U.S. before the SAT?

The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 are being offered digitally in fall 2023 so that students who will be taking the SAT as juniors in the spring of 2024 have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the digital testing experience before taking the digital SAT. Learn more about when the digital SAT will launch here.

 

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Is SAT School Day going digital too?

SAT School Day will be administered digitally starting in the spring of 2024. Today, 60% of all students who take the SAT take it for free in their school during the school day. Independent research shows that universal school day testing leads to higher college-going rates for low-income and rural students.

Some schools already administer the current version of the SAT digitally for SAT School Day. All schools will start administering the new digital SAT in spring 2024. 

Going digital means that schools, districts, and states will have more flexibility for where, when, and how often they administer the SAT.


 

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How long will the digital SAT be?

The digital SAT will be shorter than the current paper and pencil test—around two hours instead of three. It will include two sections (Reading and Writing, Math) with a break in between.

Further, the overall test day experience will be shorter since most preadministration activities, such as downloading the exam application and completing the student questionnaire, will happen in advance of test day. Also, testing staff won’t need to spend time handing out, collecting, or sorting test materials.

 

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How can the test be an hour shorter but still measure the same things just as effectively?

The digital test will be adaptive, so it can continue to measure the same core reading, writing, and math knowledge and skills much more efficiently, shortening the overall length of the test while also allowing students more time per question.

This means that for the digital SAT Suite, each test section (Reading and Writing, Math) is divided into two parts called modules. Students answer a set of questions in the first module before moving on to the next. The questions that students are given in the second module depend on how they performed on the first module. Students will be able to practice with the new digital adaptive format starting this fall.

Many large-scale assessments use adaptive testing, and more than 30 years of research shows the benefits of adaptive testing, including:

  • More precise measurement
  • Tailored questions to meet students’ needs
  • Shorter tests
  • More secure testing

 

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Which devices can students use?

Students can take the digital SAT Suite on a laptop or tablet. They can use a personal device or a school-issued device.

 

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What if a student doesn't have a device?

If a student doesn’t have a device, they can request to borrow one from College Board, and we’ll provide one to use on test day. This applies for students taking the SAT on the weekend internationally as well as in the U.S.

In 2020 and 2021, we provided a device for any student who needed one to take the digital AP Exam at home. We’ll implement a similar solution for the SAT. We’ll have more information about the process for requesting to borrow a device later this year.

 

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What happens if students have problems with their device or connectivity on test day?

We’ve built the exam application to withstand internet outages. If the internet disconnects during testing, students will still be able to progress through the test with no disruption—all their work will be saved, and they won’t lose testing time.

 

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How will you address test day issues and technical support challenges?

We’ll have dedicated customer service resources ready to troubleshoot issues on test day for students and test centers. We’re also introducing the role of technology coordinator for each test center to provide additional support, and a help room so students have a place to troubleshoot device issues, with the assistance of the Technology Coordinator.

 

 

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What kinds of tools will be available for students taking the digital SAT?

The digital testing application will include many test tools for students. Here are some examples:

  • A way to flag questions in order to come back to them later 
  • A countdown clock, which students can choose to show or hide at the top of their testing screen, that will alert them when they’re running out of time 
  • A built-in graphing calculator students can use on the entire math section (or they can bring their own calculator)
  • A reference sheet, for each math question, consisting of common formulas

 

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When will students and educators get their scores?

Scores will be delivered much faster with the digital SAT Suite, in days instead of weeks.

 

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How will SAT score reports change for students and educators?

Score reports for the digital SAT Suite will continue to include information on how students performed and how they can grow and improve. Reports will continue to connect students to college planning information, scholarships, and recognition programs.

But we’re making important changes that will mean the digital SAT Suite will be a useful tool for even more students.

A major change is that digital SAT Suite score reports will also connect students to information about local two-year colleges and workforce training programs tied to their achievements, interests, and financial goals. Students will also receive relevant information about how their SAT score connects to career opportunities that will help them set goals and make more informed decisions about their future.

We’ll share more about score reports for the digital SAT Suite later this year.

 

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Can colleges use scores from the digital SAT in the same way they use paper and pencil scores?

We’ve consulted with groups of higher ed enrollment leaders throughout 2021 to get their insights and feedback on the development of the digital SAT, and they’ve indicated they’ll continue to use SAT scores from the digital test as they do now, as one part of their holistic admissions process. We’ll continue to listen and engage with our members as we move toward launch in 2023.

 

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Will SAT scores still be on a 1600 scale?

The SAT will still be scored on a 1600 scale, and educators and students can continue to monitor growth across the suite over time. And scores on the SAT will mean the same thing, so a score of 1050 on the digital SAT corresponds to a score of 1050 on the paper and pencil SAT.

 

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How will test questions on the SAT look different?

While we’re making changes to test content to better fit digital delivery, the digital SAT will continue to measure the same skills and knowledge that students are learning in high school and that matter most for college and career readiness.

Questions throughout the digital test will be more direct, and closely focused on assessing what students need to know to succeed in college and career. In the Reading and Writing section, instead of a few long reading passages with multiple questions per passage, students will see many shorter texts, each tied to just one question. For the Math section, questions in context (word problems) will be more concise than those on the current test.

 

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How do you know scores will be predictive of college success?

We expect that the digital SAT will maintain strong reliability and predictive validity. We’re conducting extensive research and analysis, including comprehensive predictive validity studies, as we transition to a digital SAT:

  • Spring/summer 2022: Validity study examining digital SAT relationships with other educational measures
  • Fall 2023: Preliminary predictive validity study examining college outcomes
  • Ongoing: Extensive research to ensure the digital SAT offers comparable levels of reliability to the current paper and pencil SAT

We’ll share results of these studies, as well as more results from additional pilots and research, when they become available.

 

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Why is College Board making these changes? Why now?

The pandemic has accelerated our transition to offering a digital SAT Suite of Assessments. Students are now doing more of their learning and testing digitally, and the SAT shouldn’t be the exception. We’re listening to input and adapting to ensure we continue to meet the needs of students and educators.

We’re not just putting the current SAT Suite on a digital platform, though. We’re taking full advantage of what it means to deliver an assessment digitally. Going digital allows us to offer much more flexibility in terms of when, where, and how often the SAT is given, particularly for states, districts, and schools offering the SAT to all their students as part of SAT School Day. School Day is an important driver of access and equity and has been shown to lead to higher college-going rates for low-income and rural students.

 

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Does the SAT still matter if most colleges are test optional?

The SAT continues to play a vital role in a holistic admissions process. When viewed within the context of where a student lives and learns, test scores can confirm a student’s grades or demonstrate their strengths beyond what their high school grades may show.

When nearly every college went test optional during the pandemic, millions of students still took the SAT. That trend has continued with the high school class of 2022. Most students want to take the SAT, find out how they did, and then decide whether they want to submit their scores to colleges. When surveyed, 83% of students said they want the option to submit test scores to colleges. This finding remains consistent whether or not students have taken the SAT and across race/ethnicity and parents’ level of education.

 

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Will homeschooled students be able to take the digital SAT?

Homeschooled students will still test at test centers as they do now, through our large network of weekend test centers.

 

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Will students still be able to use scratch paper?

Yes, students will be provided scratch paper and can bring a pen or pencil.

 

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When will we get information on test specifications and scoring?

We will share more information this summer when test specifications are available. This will include information about:

  • Sections
  • Timing
  • Number of questions
  • Scoring information

Also this summer, we will share sample questions so students can start to get an idea of how content will look different from that on the paper and pencil exam.

 

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Will training and practice materials for students and educators go fully digital as well when the digital SAT Suite launches?

All educator guidance resources and materials for the digital SAT Suite will be digital. Administration manuals and information will be included in Test Day Toolkit for test center staff to access. We will continue to release detailed preparation information for students, and all practice resources will be available digitally on our digital testing app and through Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy.

 

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Can you tell me more about the technology coordinator?

This is a new role that isn’t required for SAT Weekend paper testing but will be required for digital SAT Weekend testing. The technology coordinator ensures the test center wi-fi network is working and assists students and staff who encounter connectivity issues. The technology coordinator will also help students troubleshoot minor device issues in the center’s help room. As we get closer to digital administrations, we’ll provide troubleshooting guides to support technology coordinators.

 

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Do I need to provide a power source for all students testing at my test center?

Students will be instructed to arrive with a fully charged device that will last three hours, ; however, you may provide access to power for test takers if it can be done fairly and without disrupting other students.

If available, you should plan for optimal use of the power supplies in the room, such as arranging desks in proximity to power outlets, power strips, and surge protectors.

Test Centers will be responsible for providing a power source for students testing with an extended time accommodation, though it does not need to be continuous. We'll work with test centers to make sure they are equipped with adequate power sources, and we'll provide more information on this requirement later this year.

 

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What if a student arrives without their testing app downloaded, or their device isn’t charged?

Students are responsible for arriving at your test center with their testing application downloaded and their device fully charged. We’ll communicate with students ahead of test day these expectations and we’ll provide you with information to post on your school or test center website.

We know some students may arrive without their app downloaded or without a full battery. You can provide them the opportunity to download the app in their testing room, or to charge their device if feasible. Please note, Test centers are responsible for providing students power if they have an extended time accommodation since they will be testing for more than three hours, though access to power does not need to be continuous.

 

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What if a student shows up without a device?

If a student doesn’t have a device, they will be able to request to borrow one from College Board, and we’ll provide one to use on test day. Students must make this request ahead of test day. If a student shows up without a device, and they have not gone through the process of requesting to borrow one from College Board, you should dismiss the student. If the student has questions about rescheduling their test, they should be directed to contact College Board Customer Service.

 

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Will spacing and room requirements remain the same?

Most testing room and seating guidelines for digital testing center are the same as those for current paper and pencil SAT Weekend administrations:

  • Enough seats for your assigned students
  • Chairs with backs that face the same direction
  • 3 feet of space between students
  • Remove or cover materials related to test content
  • Working clock visible to all students

We will provide more detailed policy information prior to your first digital administration. As always, we’ll continue to monitor the covid-19 pandemic and communicate any changes we make to ensure health safety.


 

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Do I need to plan for more/fewer staff?

Test centers should plan to have about the same number of staff for digital testing as they do for paper testing. There will be a new role of technology coordinator who will oversee the test center wi-fi and help students troubleshoot minor device issues.

 

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Will my staff need to be well-versed in technology in order to administer the digital SAT?

Coordinators and proctors do not need technical expertise to administer the digital SAT. In our November 2021 global pilot, 100% of proctors said the experience administering the digital SAT was as good as or better than administering the paper test.

 

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Will test coordinators/proctors need devices to be able to administer the assessments?

Yes. Test coordinators and proctors will administer the digital SAT using Test Day Toolkit, which requires a device—a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

Proctor quote from November Pilot: “This was much much much much much easier—no paper materials, no serial numbers. This should be the way forward and it should be soon.”

 

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What is Test Day Toolkit?

Test Day Toolkit is a web application for test center management. Coordinators, proctors, and monitors will use it on test day to check students into rooms, read the script, and share the start code that students will enter to start the test, and monitor student progress. Coordinators will also use it to access their test center roster and prepare their test center for upcoming administrations. Learn more about Test Day Toolkit.

 

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