SAT to Go Digital in 2024

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The SAT is a standardized test that some high school students fear and others welcome, but nonetheless it is a right of passage for high school students. Established in 1926, roughly a century ago, the SAT is administered to over 2 million high school students a year. However, beginning in 2024, the College Board is enacting a drastic change: they announced that the SAT will be entirely online. A common question following this is: will this change be problematic or beneficial? To begin to answer this question, it is imperative that we understand the basic changes. The College Board has changed the length of the test to 2 hours and 15 minutes, but the scoring format will remain the same. Subsequently, since the test is shorter, the reading and writing section-passages will be shorter and only correspond to one question and the math section will be similar to the current paper test.

Although the College Board announced that 80% of the students that participated in the digital SAT pilot found the test to be less stressful, some students at ‘Iolani feel otherwise. Tatum A. ’24 shares that since her most recent SAT was on paper, she felt less pressure. Sage M. ’25 has similar views about the change to going digital. She feels that because the standardized test was on paper, it is less distracting and easier to focus on compared to if it was on a screen. On the other hand, Kazumi H. ’25 puts cheating into perspective. He shares the possibilities of the SAT being easier to be cheated on and shared among peers when online. 

Mr. Jeffrey Andrews, ‘Iolani’s Test Prep Coordinator, explains that the change in the SAT was for security purposes. Within the new SAT test, all students will receive questions that differ from their peers’, ensuring the scores are individual to the student. Therefore, each question that you complete then offers you additional questions that compliment your performance. Along with advantages to the students, the SAT will continue to be conducted on the school campus, so proctors can now conveniently monitor the students’ assessments simply from their own device. There will also be the absence of filling out forms, saving 20 minutes for both the proctor and students. 

Through experimental tests, the College Board reached the conclusion through comparing paper and online SAT equivalents that the scores of students were relatively the same. Further exploring the positive virtues of the online SAT test, Mr. Andrews also shares the following: since the new digital SAT is taken on the College Board app, you also have the ability to flag questions, see the time left in your designated section and a means to stop and start your exam at your own will. Ultimately, the College Board’s decision to alter the configuration of the SAT was for the sole purpose to positively affect students. And as SAT season is near, good luck!