The Digital Adaptive SAT and PSAT

The final paper-based SAT test will be in December 2023, and the new digital adaptive SAT will launch in March 2024. Our first look at the digital adaptive format will be in October 2023 when the PSAT begins using the same structure. Schools will choose the date(s) in October to administer the digital PSAT. The PSAT scores will be posted in November, earlier than previous years.

The digital SAT will be administered in proctored settings at schools and test centers, not at home. Students may use their own laptops or tablet devices. This ‘section-adaptive’ testing can assess students’ skills accurately in two hours, 14 minutes instead of the current three hours for paper tests. As shown on the diagram, the digital SAT test has four sections — two for Reading-Writing and two for Math. The results on the first sections determine the level of difficulty of the second sections.

The digital Reading-Writing sections will have a combination of reading and writing questions, unlike the current test with two separate sections. Reading passages will be much shorter (about 200 words) and have only one multiple-choice question per passage. That’s a big change from the current SAT with longer passages and 10 questions per passage.

All math questions on the digital SAT are calculator-allowed, so the current non-calculator section will be scrapped. Students may use their own approved calculators, or the graphing calculator built into the SAT platform. Like the current SAT, the digital math test will include some grid-in questions, where students must supply the numeric answer (not multiple choice).

The digital SAT will continue to be scored on the 1600 scale. Until now, all SAT questions have been equal in weight regardless of difficulty. On the digital SAT, harder questions will count more than easier ones. The score reports will no longer show the number of correct answers. There will be no more Question & Answer Service (QAS), a helpful study tool that shows which questions the student missed. According to the College Board, each student will have different questions to prevent cheating, and the official digital SAT test questions will not be revealed at any time. While digital tests are more secure than paper tests, this new process is considerably less transparent.

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