The SAT Moves into the Digital Age

The SAT Moves into the Digital Age

For decades now, the SAT has served as a bastion of the college admissions process, with hundreds of thousands of students hunched over their desks, filling in bubble sheets using their sharpened Number 2 pencils. 

In recent years however, questions have been raised about the relevance of the SAT, precipitated by the closure of test centers across the globe when the pandemic hit. Amidst the hullabaloo, Collegeboard has instituted a number of sweeping changes that aims to take the standardized test in a more modern and positive direction.


The most seismic of these changes is the fact that the SAT, along with the PSAT, will be fully administered online instead of its paper-based format. This is a move that Priscilla Rodriguez, the the vice president of College Readiness Assessments at Collegeboard, asserts will make the SAT “easier to take, easier to give and more relevant”. 

Indeed, there are several accompanying changes that students may welcome with open arms: 

  • For one, the test is being shortened, moving from a marathon three hours, to two.
  • Reading passages will be shorter, with more time granted to students in between questions.
  • Reading comprehension passages will be related to a wider range of topics, which Collegeboard says “will reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students will read in college”. 
  • Calculators are fair game on the entire math part of the test.
  • Results will be delivered to students in a matter of days rather than weeks. 

Collegeboard has been experimenting with the digital test both in the US and internationally in November 2021, and an overwhelming 80% of the students polled said that they preferred the online test, finding it much less stressful than the traditional method. 

Collegeboard will begin rolling out the online test in early 2023 for international students, although students in the US will have to wait till 2024 to take the digital SAT.