The SAT to go digital in 2024

Starting+in+2024%2C+The+College+Board+is+trading+out+the+bubble+sheets+for+a+computerized+test.+The+test+will+now+be+shorter+and+administered+online.+

Photo by and used with the permission of Annie Spratt

Starting in 2024, The College Board is trading out the bubble sheets for a computerized test. The test will now be shorter and administered online.

Sashrika Shyam, Staff Writer

3 hours spent staring at a paper, with limited breaks, taking an exam that colleges do not need to know you took, the SAT is an exam that is required by Illinois. Starting in 2024, the SAT will now be taken digitally, the time limit will be reduced to 2 hours, and the non-calculator math section will be removed. After taking two PSAT exams, I believe that the digital SAT would benefit students more. 

The digital exam would seem less tedious for students. I understand the reason behind the decision, as staring at a paper for over 3 hours was tiring. However, the time for the SAT is now being reduced to 2 hours, while still allowing more time per question and scoring on a 1600 scale. This would seem more attainable for students, and a less stressful process.

I found that taking the exam on paper with an official bubble sheet made the exam more intimidating. It felt more serious and made me more stressed over my results. The online exam would help the exam feel less stressful, as we’ve been taking exams online since the elementary school MAP tests. The exam would be in a familiar format and will help students focus on the questions, rather than how well they are doing. 

The College Board has made this decision because it will be easier for more schools to administer it. While the exam moving digital creates more opportunities for technology and internet connection issues to occur, the College Board has designed the program to not delete students’ work incase of disconnection issues. Such was not the case when the AP exams were digital due to the pandemic. This was a major reason I took the AP exam, another College Board administered exam, in person, as some internet connection issues forced students to take the exam again or recieve a voided score. 

The digital SAT restructures the reading and math section of the exam, as it will feature only one question for each shorter passage, compared to multiple questions for a longer passage. In addition, there will be only one math section where a calculator can be used. The test becoming digital also ensures that each student receives a unique exam to avoid sharing answers. While this does mean there will not be as many exam memes, it prevents everyone from the testing site from retaking the exam if it is compromised. 

According to Ashley Weltler, assistant principal, and Carl Krause, college counselor, the digital version of the exam will only be administered in 2024. This means that the digitized exam’s impact on college applications will not be known until then. However, Krause believes that the digital exam is a way for the SAT to stay relevant even when colleges are not requiring them. 

Overall, I believe the SAT’s conversion to a digital form l will benefit students because it will not seem like a tedious process. The shortened length of the exam will entice students and will prevent them from seeing the exam as boring. While the effects of the digital exam are not yet known, the digital exam seems promising to benefit students taking it.