2 years ago
Admissions Advice

9th/10th graders NOTE that the SAT is going ALL DIGITAL next MARCH !

Today CollegeBoard announced that they are scrapping the old 3 hour SAT format and going all digital starting next March. The impetus of doing this has to do with 3 major drivers. 1.) CollegeBoard lost 700,000 SAT test takers in 2020, and 500,000 in 2021 2.) The current SAT delivery system makes it very difficult for all college applicants to participate in the test due to COVID-19 restrictions and lack of test centers and staff in countries to support it and 3.) Despite 90% of Top 250 colleges going Test Optional, most high achieving students still wish to take the SAT and submit a test score (about 85%).

The new test format will be made available to laptops and tablets versus paper and pencil. So, like remote learning on ZOOM calls and the modified AP online exams, the new SAT will only be given as an online test. So either you have to provide your own equipment, use school equipment or perhaps in some case CollegeBoard will make the tech. available at test centers.

The new test will be 2 hours not 3 hours.

The test questions will be simpler and the reading passages will be shorter. So expect there to be fewer inference type questions, and more straight forward questions like the ACT format.

DESMOS is partnering with CollegeBoard so expect there to be a online Calculator to help with the math questions.

The most controversial part of the test will be something called "Adaptive" testing. This means that depending on how well your answer the first set of simpler test questions will trigger the test to either give you harder questions that are at your implied level or take you on a path of continuing with easier questions because you did so poorly on the the initial ramp up ones. This means if you bomb the first part, you are going to get the dummy-downed version of the test which will also mean you will not be able to get a 90th to 100th percentile score, but your score will be more accurate because you are going to be given questions at your level. My guess is that they want average test takers to have more granularity with their scores so if you deserve an 1180 you will have the opportunity to get that score versus making you answer questions you have no clue how to answer at getting an 1120 because you had to resort to guessing.

The other piece of the test which is going to be quite different is that each person is going to get a random test on the test date taken from a repository of test questions/forms in some super large database router. This means you can't cheat off the person to your right or left or in front of you because everyone gets a different test form. I don't know if they are going to have 5 versions of the SAT on a given date or 25. This also means that when you are done with the test you can't run to reddit or social media and figure out what you did wrong or how many questions you missed because everyone will be posting only what they experienced which is not uniform to what other people experienced. The bottom line is that in the past one could anticipate whether the Math section was going to be curved hard or easy or the EBRW was going to be curved hard or easy. If CB is moving to some random generated adaptive testing model, then the "CURVE" disappears and you just have to be as well prepared as possible.

Also the PSAT is going to be delivered in the new format as well.

HERE is the link to CollegeBoard


Please let me know what you think in the comments. I'm happy to up-award someone who has something interesting to say.

I'm in FAVOR of a NEW SAT
I'm against the NEW SAT
I'm NOT SURE what to think
I don't care, I'm taking the ACT!
Poll closed83 votes
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2 years ago

It's going to be a big mess if they don't get it right during roll out. I think CB would be smarter if they hedged themselves allowed test takers to choose whether they want the paper/pencil version or digital version until they get all the bugs out of the system and calibrate the scoring. I bet the scoring will be a mess, either inflating or deflating scores which is going to mess up the holistic review process. I think the ACT will be favored over the next 2 cycles.

🎤2 years ago

CollegeBoard couldn't even get the online AP tests to work properly and that is more than 10X easier of a test to deploy because it went out to fewer test takers and only had (1) version per AP.


2 years ago

My first concern is what happens to applicants who don’t have computers at home and/or a quiet and calm place to take the test. It’s easy to forget some families live in tight quarters and not every family is full of supportive adults.

I do hope CB finds a path to make this equitable.

In general, I’m against the tests, because I didn’t have the money to pay for test prep back in the day. I also had an undiagnosed learning disability, so some questions made no sense to me. As a result, I performed “badly” despite having been selected to join honors and AP courses. This made me feel bad about myself for a long time.

Other students in my high school class paid for test prep and did well.

2 years ago

I don't think the tech. availability is going to be the main problem. I think that calibrating the results of the test so they are meaningful as the last SAT is the main problem. And like the old test, the other huge problem is that it doesn't adequately address the college readiness of anyone with a learning disability. Sometimes just giving someone more time, or allowing them more breaks, or more quiet space separate from the crowds at test center is not enough. If CB wanted to help disabled folk, they would create a different test that caters to the disabled community that admissions officers can review and evaluate instead of forcing them to take the SAT regardless of the setting.


a month ago

Hello, I'm in 11th grade. I took the Digital PSAT and loved it! Prior to that, I took a practice Digital SAT and appreciated it, too. The new format is seriously to the students' advantage. There is more time, shorter reading passages, the BEST calculator (you can solve about 90% of the problems with it), and you can use that calculator through both Math sections. I am homeschooled, so the high school provided a Chromebook for the PSAT. ALSO, being homeschooled, I am used to paper and pencil learning, but this test was an exception. LOVED IT! I was more relaxed and less stressed- no bubbles to fill in!! During the paper SAT I was so flustered over filling in the correct bubbles.

If you do not take my word, download the Bluebook app and take a practice exam. You still need to study and I highly recommend watching videos on Desmos but it is so smooth. Can't wait for this spring!


What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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