Important Changes to the SAT and ACT Coming in 2023

By Huntington Learning Center

In the world of SAT and ACT test prep, a lot has changed in the last few years. Both exams were impacted by the pandemic, sparking a number of changes (to join some that were already underway). At Huntington, we’ve seen plenty of SAT and ACT updates, ranging from minor adjustments to sweeping overhauls. Taking SAT and ACT tests in 2023 and 2024 will be different for students. Here’s what parents and students need to know:  

SAT updates 

  • The SAT and all PSAT-related assessments are going digital. In January 2022, the College Board announced its plans to go completely digital. Here’s the timeline: 
    • The digital SAT will be offered at international test centers starting in March 
    • The digital PSAT 8/9 and PSAT/NMSQT will be offered everywhere starting in fall 2023. 
    • The digital PSAT 10 will be offered everywhere starting in spring 2024.
    • The digital SAT will be offered in the U.S. starting in spring 2024. 
  • The digital SAT will be shorter. The current paper-and-pencil SAT is around three hours long and tests students in Reading, Writing and Math through four different sections. The digital SAT will be around two hours long, still testing students in Reading, Writing, and Math, but will only have two sections.
  • The digital test will be adaptive. The digital SAT will consist of two sections, Reading & Writing and Math, and each section will contain two parts, or modules. Students take the first module and their performance in that module will determine which questions the student will receive in the second module. 
  • SAT School Day is going digital also. Some schools currently administer the current version of the SAT (same format as the paper) on a computer during SAT School Day. In the spring of 2024, both the current paper-based SAT and computer-based SAT administered on SAT School Day will be replaced by the new digital Keep in mind the digital SAT released in 2024 will be very different than the versions currently offered.
  • The entire Math section of the SAT will allow a calculator. A graphing calculator will be built into the testing app or students can bring their own. 
  • Eventually, paper PSAT/SAT exams will no longer be offered. After the SAT suite transitions to digital in 2024, there will no longer be paper-and-pencil versions of the PSAT/SAT except for students with accommodations that require them. 
  • Students can use their own computers. Students can take the digital SAT on a laptop or tablet (either a personal device or a school-issued device). If needed, they can request to borrow one from the College Board. 
  • The shorter digital SAT will measure the same core knowledge and skills. The digital SAT will be more efficient in measuring what students need for college and career success. In the Reading and Writing section, for example, students will see shorter texts with one question each (vs. long reading passages with multiple questions per passage). For the Math section, word problems will be more concise. 

ACT updates 

ACT has not made any recent announcements about changes to the ACT exam. In the last few years, the company announced that several big changes would be forthcoming, including online testing and section retesting—the ability to retake individual sections of the ACT after sitting for the full exam.  

However, section retesting was postponed, and no further updates have been made as to whether it might still happen. The same goes for online testing: no recent updates. As of now, the ACT is still a paper-and-pencil exam for students taking it in the United States. A computer-based version of the paper-and-pencil ACT is offered in some states and school districts on school-day test dates only as well as at international testing centers. As for national ACT test dates, these are all still paper exams. The ACT content and scoring are the same for its paper-based and computer-based formats.  

Learn more about SAT and ACT changes by visiting the College Board and ACT websites.  

Taking SAT and ACT tests is important 

Even with some colleges and universities being test-optional, taking SAT and ACT tests is worthwhile. Strong SAT or ACT scores can open up opportunities for students to earn scholarships and direct admission into certain colleges or programs within a university. Also, strong scores can help strengthen a student’s overall profile, especially if they are trying to counterbalance a GPA that isn’t as high as they want it to be. Scores help round out the picture for admissions officers of a student’s academic abilities.

SAT and ACT test prep with Huntington is an excellent way to improve a score and open the door to more competitive colleges. Huntington begins every program with a comprehensive evaluation that identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses. We feel it is important to personalize each student’s SAT/ACT test prep program to their abilities and goals. In a Huntington test prep program, students strengthen their knowledge, learn test-taking tips that will help them on the exam, get comfortable taking practice exams and improve their confidence.   

Learn more about Huntington’s exam prep tutoring for the SAT and ACT by calling 1-800 CAN LEARN.