SAT Changes



Manwela Katas

On January 25, 2022, the College Board announced new changes happening to the SAT exam. The paper-pencil test will be taken digitally on a computer or tablet that is provided by the school or a personal device. This test will still be taken at testing centers or schools. The exam will be shortened from three hours to only two hours, students will be allowed to use their calculators throughout the whole math section unlike before where a calculator was not allowed in certain sections of the test. In addition the reading passages will be shortened, with only one question associated with each passage. Lastly, students will be able to receive their score within days instead of week. These changes will take place in 2023 internationally and in 2024 in the U.S.

The College Board has seen a major decrease in the number of students that are taking the SAT as a result of colleges no longer requiring the test. According to the College Board reports, from 2018 through 2020 over 2 million students took the SAT exam in the U.S compared to 2021, about 950,000 students took the test. Because of this issue, the College Board has been generating a low amount of money, so the change to digital testing is easier and less expensive for them than the paper-pencil test. In a recent Forbes article they mention, ”The College Board is under immense pressure to justify why students should still take the SAT now that test-optional colleges are here to stay. Therefore, the College Board will use the 2024 SAT redesign as an opportunity to tout how the new version of the test will accurately measure what students learn in high school and correctly predict how they will perform in college.” In response the College Board says, “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform—we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible. With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs.”

However, this change does not only benefit the College Board, but it also benefits students as they grew up around technology, and with the recent change of online school as a result of covid-19, students are now very comfortable using technology to complete their assignments and tests and may find it easier than doing them on paper. A student being interviewed by NPR that was able to take the digital test says, “It’s just not as easy for me, honestly, to focus on the paper as it was on the computer.” This student also goes on to explain how it’s more comfortable than the paper test since her generation grew up constantly using technology. The shift to digital testing will also save instructors the time and effort of having to ship and sort through exam materials. As a student I’m anticipating this change, in hopes that it would open more academic opportunities for me, and I’m sure other students would agree.