Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The SAT test is completely on the computer now

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The SAT college entrance test is now available online. Instead of using a pencil to fill in bubbles on paper, American test-takers will use a computer. This digital version of the SAT will be used on Saturday, March 9.

Students still need to go to a testing site but can use their own laptop, tablet, a school-provided device, or one borrowed from the College Board, the organization behind the test.

The new online SAT is shorter, taking about two hours instead of three, allowing more time for each question. Reading passages are shorter, each with one associated question, and there’s a built-in calculator.

The College Board describes the new SAT as “adaptive.” It means that the difficulty of the math and reading sections depends on the test-taker’s performance in the first section.

Scores, still on a 1600-point scale, are returned in days instead of weeks.

The changes were announced about two years ago after testing a digital SAT version in 2021. Students outside the US started taking the digital SAT in spring 2023, and the digital PSAT, a shorter practice exam, began last fall.

Over 1.9 million students in the high school class of 2023 took the SAT, up from 1.7 million the previous year.

While many schools made SAT and ACT scores optional due to the pandemic, some elite schools like Brown, Yale, and Dartmouth are now requiring them, arguing that test scores, along with high school grades, predict future academic success and bring diversity to their campuses.

Students need to register for the SAT and sign up at least 30 days in advance if they need to borrow a device from the College Board. The test is usually on Saturdays, but some high schools offer it during regular school days.

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