What You Need to Know About the Digital SAT in 2023

By Huntington Learning Center

The new digital SAT is coming soon, and parents of college-bound students need to be prepared for the changes. Many elements of the SAT will change significantly, while the purpose of the test will stay the same. Make sure you’re up to speed on SAT updates and what is changing with the new digital SAT. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know, including digital SAT dates 

  • The paper-and-pencil exam will not be around much longer. The SAT and PSAT are going digital but not at the same time. The timeline for each test is as follows:
    • Fall 2023: Digital PSAT 8/9 and digital PSAT/NMSQT only
    • Spring 2024: Digital PSAT 10 only
    • Spring 2024: Digital SAT only
    • Spring 2024: Digital SAT only in schools that administer SAT School Day
  • The biggest change is that the Digital SAT is a multistage adaptive test. The test contains two groups of questions, known as modules. Performance on the first module determines which second module will be administered next to the student.   Here’s what that looks like in concept:
    • The Reading & Writing and Math sections are each divided into two equal-length and separately timed modules of questions. 
    • Module 1 contains a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. 
    • Module 2 could be more or less difficult depending on how a student performs in module 1. 
    • This testing approach adapts to a student’s performance level which allows lower and higher-achieving students to maximize their potential. 
  • The most noticeable change for students? A shorter test. The digital test will be 2 hours and 14 minutes long, which is a big change from the current paper-and-pencil SAT which is three hours long. The Reading & Writing section has replaced long passages with shorter passages.  The math section removes the wordiness in the word problems as well.  
  • Students can use a calculator for the entire Math section. Another noteworthy change on the new digital SAT, students are allowed to use a calculator in the entire Math section. They can bring their own approved calculator or use the graphing calculator that is built into the testing app. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all questions will require the use of a calculator, but students are allowed to use one if they wish. 

These are some of the key changes that you and your student need to know about the digital SAT, but what does this all mean for your student? Here are a few important takeaways:  

  • Testing now is wise. There’s no downside to taking the current paper-based version of the SAT now. The current SAT is familiar to and trusted by colleges and universities. Taking the paper-based SAT this year would be beneficial to your student since they know the test format if they’ve taken it or the PSAT before. If your student does plan to take the SAT this year, summer is the best time to prep since your student can focus without the distraction of schoolwork, homework, or extracurricular activities.
  • Scoring of the digital SAT can vary dramatically. The multistage adaptive test format of the digital SAT can greatly impact a student’s test score. As mentioned above, the second module of each section (Reading & Writing and Math) is not the same for every student. Students who perform well on module one more than likely get the harder module two. 
  • Prep this summer. Huntington is enrolling students now for summer SAT prep. In 2023, there are only five more opportunities to take the paper-based SAT before digital only SAT dates are introduced in 2024:
    • June 3
    • August 26
    • October 7
    • November 4
    • December 2

Call Huntington today for more information about what we know about the digital SAT transition and how we are ready to best prepare students. If your student is starting to make plans for college, it’s not too early to begin thinking about the SAT and the digital SAT. Let’s discuss your student’s college goals. We’ll help them build test-taking skills and strategies to achieve the highest score possible on the SAT, which will benefit them in all school subjects as well. Contact us at 1-800 CAN LEARN or visit www.huntingtonhelps.com/sat-test-prep