The SAT will be digital in 2023: Deciphering the benefits for students

The SAT, an important global gold standard for university and college preparation, is going digital. Launching in 2023, the digital SAT will be shorter, more concise, and use state-of-the-art technology to improve test access, quality, and delivery to students around the world. Refreshing the test will create a fairer playing field and make the test a more positive experience for all students.

Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid at Yale University, believes this is a win for all students — and especially international applicants. “The new format will be more familiar and the test easier to administer, more accessible and secure,” Quinlan said.


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At many universities, SAT scores are a key factor in predicting and demonstrating college readiness. “We first use the test result and the student’s exam scores to determine their English proficiency and whether the student can do the job,” he explained. “Once that answer is yes, we look at the other parts of their app.”

A March 2022 pilot of the new format has received praise from US and international students and test proctors. A large majority (85%) of participating students found the testing experience to be a good or excellent experience.

Bisr Kaur Jauhar, a student at Strawberry Fields High School in Chandigarh, India, praised the pilot. “It was very convenient and I was less stressed. It definitely took away a lot of the pressure that comes with the SAT.”

Greater opportunities at home and abroad for Indian students

Hundreds of colleges and universities around the world accept the SAT, including many higher education institutions in India. From Ashoka University to Symbiosis International University, SAT scores continue to help determine student admissions and scholarship decisions at leading institutions.

Through the India Global Higher Education Alliance, educational institutions strive to improve and simplify the process of admission to higher education. The digital SAT will continue to be a passport exam, making it easier for students to apply to multiple universities both inside and outside India.

The digital SAT also opens the doors to multiple scholarship opportunities for Indian students. By passing the SAT, students may be eligible to apply for scholarships at participating schools in India through the India Scholars Program.

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Shorter passages, faster results

The test will now be shorter (about two hours instead of three) and students will have more time to answer each question. It will include shorter reading passages that reflect a wider range of topics. Calculators are now allowed throughout the math section and will be provided in the test application.

Test takers will also be able to clearly see how much time is left to reduce stress levels during the test and flag test questions that may need more time and want to return to. Worrying about lost points due to lost pencil marks or incorrectly filled bubbles on an answer sheet will no longer be a cause for concern now.

“It’s much easier, smoother and less cumbersome than paper-and-pencil administration,” said Shabnam Singha, coordinator of the SAT Digital Pilot Testing Center at Strawberry Fields High School.

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Adapt to changing needs

The new format best reflects how students will need to work to succeed at universities around the world. This shift online comes at a critical time when schools around the world are finding innovative ways to support digital learning due to the pandemic.

“This generation of students are digital natives,” said Kelly Walter, associate vice president of enrollment and dean of admissions at Boston University. “It’s a platform that they’re not only familiar with, but that works 24/7. I think because of that, there will be trust in the adoption of this new format.”

The SAT continues to serve as a passport test that opens access to global institutions of higher education for students around the world who wish to pursue post-secondary education. Despite recent changes to testing policy requirements at many US universities, in a survey, 83% of students wanted the ability to submit standardized test scores for college and university admissions and scholarships. of the whole world.

“I look forward to being able to tell students that this will be a better experience for them,” said John Barnhill, associate vice president of academic affairs at Florida State University.

Preparing students for success

All students taking the SAT will be able to use their own laptop or tablet, a school-provided device, or a device loaned by the College Board.

Recognize that internet access has been a constant struggle for many students during the pandemic, especially in rural and low-income areas; the digital SAT is designed to ensure that students will not lose work or time if the internet goes down and they have to reconnect. Tests will continue to be proctored in secure test centers and real-time technical support will be provided if there are any issues on test day. The digital format can also easily provide accommodations for students with disabilities and special needs.

“Everything from downloading the app to setting up our devices to SAT went very smoothly,” said Aidan Bimbrahw, a student at British School New Delhi, New Delhi, India. “I was much less stressed.

With the digital SAT, students will have a better testing environment and can receive their results in days, not weeks. This gives them choices and enough time to decide how to use their scores and gives them the opportunity to retest if necessary.

More flexibility and security

The digital SAT will be shorter, more secure and more flexible, which will continue to facilitate a better experience for test takers and those who administer the test. Applicants outside the United States will now have seven opportunities to take the annual exam, up from five. For students, this means more opportunities to identify and address areas for improvement and a greater chance of achieving the desired score.

Going digital also means much more secure testing as each student will see a single test form, which greatly reduces the possible cancellation of tests for security reasons.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback from students and coordinators on the pilot highlighted the increased ease of taking and administering the test.

“Digital SAT is efficient, easy and above all convenient,” said Sudarshana Shukla, Coordinator of the Digital SAT Pilot Testing Center at John Connon Cathedral and School in Mumbai, India.

Shukla also shared that while international shipping used to be a huge hassle and security challenge for admins, the new format solves that problem. Administrators no longer need to securely receive, gather, distribute, or collect test booklets or responses.

“Tracking a student’s progress during the test was reassuring and effective in reaching out to a student in the event of a technical issue,” Shukla added. “The test day was hassle-free.”

Join the upcoming webinars: Digital SAT Update for International Students on March 31 or April 1, 2022. Learn more about the Digital SAT and what it means for students, parents, and educators here.

Disclaimer: This article was produced on behalf of the College Board by the Times Internet Spotlight Team.

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