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New SAT Format

While the typical high school experience changes throughout time, one thing that has seemingly remained constant is the SAT test. For years, students in high school, mainly juniors, sign up for multiple dates of the SAT, study countless hours, and some even work with tutors. After practicing to perfection for the current version of the test, College Board just released that they plan to make significant changes come spring 2024.

The largest shift is the platform in which the test will be taken. They plan to forego the traditional pencil-and-paper method for an online platform. The test will still be conducted in person, but digitally. In an interview with NPR, Priscilla Rodriguez of College Board explained, “The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant. With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we meet their evolving needs” (Nadworny). They also aim to ensure that students will not lose progress while taking the test by implementing an auto-save feature.

With this new change in testing, many have called into question the relevance of these entrance exams. Some argue that the exams are “vital to holistic admissions” while others claim they are outdated, a poor measure of intelligence and that the pandemic has shown us that we don’t really need them in order to be accepted into college. However, in an attempt to remain relevant and modern, the content of the test itself has also changed. Shifting from a streamlined, universal assessment, each exam will be unique to each student to eliminate cheating. Additionally, the exam will only be two hours instead of three, reading passages will be shorter, all math questions are allowed a calculator, and scores will arrive faster. College Board cites the latter decision to help students get “information they need to make college decisions quicker” (Tate).

In the midst of the many changes, there are still a few key details that remain the same. The total score possible is still 1600 and the 2016 updated policy stating there are no penalties for wrong answers will stay. Students requiring accommodations will still be available. Most notably, Today says that “the range of content and material in the test itself will remain the same” (Tate). These stagnant details likely provide some relief to upcoming test-takers as well as tutors and college-preparatory businesses. However, the adjustment to digital testing and the other differences may take some getting used to.


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