Updated: May 14
November 2021 saw the traditional SAT piloting in a new avatar. From the format to the duration and even the medium of the Standardized Admission Test has undergone a significant transformation.
This blog is all about what these changes mean to the students starting their academic year in 2023 internationally and in 2024 in the U.S, because that’s when the new changes will take effect formally.
The significance of SAT in the current scenario
The new SAT is born owing to the change in the education landscape driven by the pandemic. The changes have been carefully introduced to ease the test taker's journey. Even with the National Center for Fair and Open Testing making SAT optional for admission to more than 1800 colleges across the U.S., 83% of students said they want the option to submit test scores to colleges. The majority of students believe that with fewer students taking the SAT, a good SAT score will still be icing on the cake for them, bettering their chances of securing admission and getting a scholarship.
With the SAT continuing to play a significant role in the college admission process, how will the new changes impact the test taker experience?
What changed and to what extent?
While the SAT Suite continues to be a potent assessment of high school skills gained by the students and a scale measuring their college readiness, here are some significant changes ready to welcome the test-takers:
The all-digital avatar
Matching steps with the digital-savvy generation, SAT is ready to go completely digital. The test taken with pen on paper will now be taken on the computer. Students who got a taste of the new pilot SAT in November came out optimistic and appreciative about the digital facelift of the exam. They claim that the exam felt much easier to take, more precise, intuitive, and on-point. It was easier to focus during the digital test than on the written exam on paper. The interface was simple to navigate.
The transition to digital also significantly shortens the duration of the exam. The digital exam will now be for 2 hours instead of 3 giving students more time per question.
Choice of device
The new SAT allows students to use their own laptop or tablet. Those students who do not have a personal device will be provided one. A proprietary testing app will be downloaded on the students’ devices, however, the test will be conducted at a test centre or school. But what’s most remarkable is that even in case of a power outage, test-takers won’t lose their progress. They can pick from where they left as soon as the connection restores.
The digital SAT will enable each student to receive a unique test which means that if one test paper is compromised, the exam won’t be cancelled for the entire group, which was a huge concern with the traditional SAT.
The new digital SAT is precise, relevant, and short. The reading passages are shorter and crisper with one question per passage, the math problems are sharper and to-the-point and most importantly, the introduction of a built-in Desmos calculator for the math section has made lives easier for the test-takers.
Among the more important changes is the way the questions appear for each test-taker. The new SAT adopts a ‘multi-stage adaptiveness’ format giving each student a unique set of questions.
While the scores will continue to be given on a 1600 scale, the reports will take only a few days to reach the test-taker, which currently takes weeks.
For international students, there will also be seven opportunities to take SAT in a year instead of five.
The new SAT vs the current SAT at a glance
Mode: Pen and paper
Mode: All digital, taken on laptop or tablet
Duration: 3 hours
Duration: 2 hours
Test papers in sets
Test papers unique to each test-taker
Lengthy 750-word reading passage with 10 questions
Ten 75-word passages with 1 question each
Calculators not allowed
Built-in Desmos Calculator for the math section
Score report takes weeks
Score report to be received in a few days
Five opportunities in a year (for international students)
Seven opportunities in a year (for international students)
Changes in SAT isn’t a new thing. There have been more than ten versions of the SAT since its inception. However, it’s important to note that with the recent changes, SAT is trying to be more student and educator friendly. In addition, the new test format is more streamlined and ready to address the challenges in the rapidly changing face of education.
Book a consultation with us to dive deeper into the newly introduced changes in SAT.