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Digital SAT: What You Need to Know

As technology continues to shape our educational landscape, the College Board has announced a significant update to the SAT. Enter the Digital SAT, a revamped version of the traditional exam that brings the test-taking experience into the digital age, while maintaining the integrity and rigor of the assessment.

Test Format and Scoring

First and foremost, it is imperative to understand that, with the Digital SAT, the test sections and scoring remain unchanged. Students will still encounter the familiar sections—Reading, Writing and Language, and Math—presented in a format similar to the traditional paper-based test. Furthermore, the scoring methodology remains consistent.

Test Navigation and Features

Students can now bring their computers into the test center, creating a more personalized and user-friendly testing experience. It is recommended that you use your computer since you are most familiar with its functionalities and interface. Make sure to fully charge your computer as you may not have access to an outlet. If you don’t have a device, the College Board recommends you borrow one from your school, friend, or family member. Be sure to check with the College Board for more detailed information. SAT DeviceLending.

To streamline the process, students are advised to download the digital application the night before the test, to alleviate stress and avoid last-minute technical issues.

During the test, a proctor will provide an access code, granting students entry into the digital exam environment. Once the test is accessed with the code, all other applications and functionalities on the computer will be disabled to maintain test security and integrity.

Navigating the Digital SAT is intuitive and user-friendly. The test interface displays questions at the top of the screen, with answer choices conveniently listed below each question. A timer is featured at the top of the test, allowing students to monitor their progress and pace themselves accordingly.

One notable feature of the Digital SAT is the ability to flag questions and return to them later within the same section. This allows students to manage their time effectively and revisit challenging questions without feeling rushed.

Additionally, students taking the Math section will still be provided with a formula sheet, ensuring fairness and consistency in problem-solving. Furthermore, there will be a calculator embedded in the online test, which will be available to students throughout all the sections.

Adaptive Exam Structure

The adaptive nature of the Digital SAT introduces a dynamic testing experience tailored to each student's proficiency level. Upon entering the Math section, you will find that the first module serves to establish a baseline, determining the initial difficulty level of the questions presented.

As students progress through the exam, the test adapts the questions to each student’s performance, adjusting the difficulty of subsequent questions accordingly. This adaptive approach not only shortens the overall duration of the test but also ensures a more personalized and efficient assessment of a student's skills and knowledge.

Managing Test Anxiety

With the new changes comes the need to manage test anxiety effectively. The Digital SAT's adaptive format may initially catch some students off guard, especially as they encounter questions of varying difficulty levels. The more familiar you become with the types of questions and timing of the test, the more relaxed you will be on test day. One of the important factors in taking the digital SAT is practice. Try taking a full-length practice test simulating the test day environment. This should be one using a computer adaptive test.

That means no cell phones or other distractions. After receiving the results, you will know which areas to focus on. Continue this process until you have achieved your desired results. Learning breathing techniques to focus and calm your nerves will also help on test day. Get to the test site early so you can settle in. Make sure to get enough sleep and eat a healthy dinner and breakfast before the test.

For those who want to opt out of taking the SAT, make sure to check to find schools that are test-optional.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by The College Advisor, and prepared for our clients and their families.


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