By Miles Kelly | October 9, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
Mark your calendars! The SAT is undergoing a significant transformation on March 9th, 2024. For the first time, the test will be conducted entirely online, Digital SAT. Students will take the exam on a laptop or tablet and submit their answers through the Bluebook App, which they must download beforehand.
The Reading Section has recently undergone some changes. The passages are now shorter, which makes the whole experience much less intimidating and more enjoyable for students. This is great news, as it will help you feel more confident and less overwhelmed when studying for exams!
However, the new digital SAT also comes with its challenges and traps… The new format is “adaptive,” meaning it will adjust the difficulty of questions in the second half of the test based on how a student performs in the first half.
The Difficult Vocabulary and Science-based questions (similar to the Science on ACT) have been added to the newly combined Reading and Writing Section.
Another major drawback of the new test is simply that it’s a new test. This is not the first time that The College Board has revamped the SAT. In 2016, the SAT went through a major revision, and in the wake of those changes, scoring for the test became highly unpredictable over the next year.
This is in part because every time the SAT is given, the scores are “equated” to the historical scoring patterns of previous SATs. They use the term equated, but you can think of it as a curve. It allows them to curve scaled scores up or down to account for tests that are “easier” or “more difficult.”
But when they give a brand new test, they don’t have enough sample data to know where it will sit on the scale of difficulty. It means they will likely have more exaggerated curves, and scores will become unpredictable.
That being said, students should still plan to take this new SAT. Some students will adapt well to it and score well on it.
For many students, though, the ACT will become a safe harbor during these sea changes from the SAT. The ACT has been the same for many years, and that steadiness helps us to prepare students and more accurately predict how to improve scores.
Prepping for and taking both tests will help ensure that students are well-positioned to maximize their test scores, college application success, and scholarship opportunities.