SAT to go Digital 2024

The College Board announces important changes to standardized test


Photo courtesy of lecroitg (CC0)

Say goodbye to the infamous bubble sheets—the SAT will soon be online, though still in a proctored setting.

The College Board announced on Tuesday, Jan. 25th that it has made modifications to the content and formatting of the SAT taking effect around 2024. The biggest change will be moving the exam online.

According to the College Board, the transition to the digital version of the SAT will be made in March 2023 for international students, and in the spring of 2024 for students in the U.S., making the freshman class of 2025 the first group of students who will complete it online. 

“The relevance of standardized testing is decreasing,” junior Chuyang Zhang said. “This changes the admissions process because supplementary essays will probably be much more important in the future.” 

The SAT will also decrease in length from three hours to two, a move largely seen as a way to incentivize students to sit for a test which is becoming increasingly optional in college applications. 

“I just wish the changes applied to me,” junior Evie Johnston said, who still has to take her SAT on paper. “The length and format of the test is what’s most stressful, so having that change would’ve been very nice.”

According to the College Board, these changes are being made because student learning evolved over the pandemic. Since students attended virtual school across the country and the College Board held Advanced Placement (AP) exams online for two school years, they have become accustomed to using computers in school.  

Furthermore, the College Board wants to ensure that the SAT tests skills that are most important for college and students’ future careers. The decision will also include shortening reading passages and allowing calculators on all math questions, instead of splitting the test up into calculator and no-calculator sections. 

“The changes to reading and math questions makes it easier to not have to worry about test scores to get into colleges,” Zhang said. “Those who don’t normally do as well have a better opportunity to emphasize [the SAT on] their application”. 

Despite these changes, many aspects of the SAT will stay the same. The exam will maintain its 1600 point grading scale, and students will still be taking it at a registered school or testing center with proctors present.

“This [change] means less stress,” said Johnston. “This is great for future students.”