SAT test to be all online, shortened in 2024

Major changes are underway for the SAT college entrance exam that has been long associated with paper and pencil


Photo by Aryanna Martinez

Fewer colleges are requiring the SAT test for admissions, but the College Board hopes a new, digital format will appeal to students in 2024.

The SAT, taken by prospective college students across the country, will now retire No. 2 pencils and bubbled in answers. On January 25th, College Board announced that their Standardized Aptitude Test (SAT), will soon be taken exclusively on a computer.
This standardized test, taken by high school juniors and seniors, is widely used for college admissions in the US and debuted in 1926. While the grading scale for the test has changed several times, this is the first major change to how the test will be administered. Beginning in 2024, the exam will be completed on laptops or tablets, provided for students if needed, at testing centers and results of the test will be received within days rather than weeks.
“My experience with the SAT was bumpy but I think that an online version would definitely have made it less stressful. I think we have all gotten more comfortable using a computer so I think everyone’s overall performance on the test would improve,” junior Melina Eftekhari said.
In addition, the new digital exam will be shortened from three hours to two hours, with more time for each question. It will feature shorter reading passages with one question each, that reflect a wider range of topics. The College Board will also allow calculators for the entire test rather than having separate calculators and no calculator math section.
“While I didn’t take the SAT myself, I think that if the test had gone online sooner I would have reconsidered my choice. It makes the test seem a lot less intimidating and stressful, so it is definitely a positive change for the test,” senior Alex Change said.
The transition comes months after the College Board pilot tested a digital SAT in November 2021. Of the recipients, 80 percent of students said they found it less stressful, and 100 percent of educators reported a positive experience. The College Board is trying to rework the exam after feeling additional pressure due to questions of the test’s fairness and relevance.
A growing number of colleges have chosen to eliminate the requirement that applicants submit scores from the SAT, or the competing ACT, and the trend of “test-optional” admissions have accelerated greatly during the pandemic. More that 1,800 schools did not require standardized test scores for 2022 admissions.
“I personally chose not to take the SAT because a lot of the schools I was looking at didn’t require it like UCs and even some private schools and that was a reason, but I also thought that the classes I took and the activities I participated in where more of an accurate representation of me and my skills,” senior Brennan Ortega said.
While major changes are being made to the test many things still stay the same. The SAT will still be scored out of a possible 1600, students must take the exam in a supervised location and accommodations will still be available for approved students due to learning differences or medical needs on test day. To find out information on how or where to take the SAT, visit the College Board website.