U.S. students to begin taking SAT exam online in 2024

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As it will turn completely digital in 2024, the current paper and pencil version of the SAT exam will soon no longer be available to students and staff.

Jessica Majors, Photo Editor

What do you see yourself being when you are older? Are you thinking about enrolling in a college or university in the future? If the answer is yes, there are a few new changes on the road to receiving an acceptance letter from your future school that you were ecstatic to receive. The College Board announced on Jan. 25 that they will begin to deliver the standardized university admission electronically to U.S. students starting in 2024, and will begin to offer the test to international students beginning in 2023. 

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” vice president at The College Board, Priscilla Rodriguez, said, “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform — we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible. With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs.”

The traditional paper test that is provided by The College Board takes about three hours to complete with a variety of questions involving sections of reading, writing and language, math and an optional essay at the end of the exam. With changing gears to the new platform online, students will still have questions in the same sections as before, but now will be allowed to use a calculator on the entire math section of the exam. The online version will be scored out of 1600 and will be shorter than the first, with only taking around two hours to complete instead of three. The College Board reports that this new testing will allow for test-takers to have more time per question and that the reading sections will be shorter and will cover a wider range of topics for many to enjoy. 

With the new changes of going to an online exam, a key factor that test-takers enjoy is the time frame from taking the test and receiving their scores. On average, when taking the paper-and-pencil exam, the test-takers would expect to wait about three to four weeks after taking the test to receive their scores, but with the online exam, the test-takers can expect to wait a matter of days for results instead of weeks. This will help students when applying for colleges that require SAT scores for admission. 

Starting in 2024, students will take the exam on a personal laptop or a provided laptop or tablet that will be administered by a proctor in a school or a testing center. In the current paper-and-pencil exam, one compromised test form can mean voiding scores for a whole group of students, which makes the digital version more secure for students. 

“With the current paper and pencil SAT, if one test form is compromised it can mean canceling administrations or canceling scores for a whole group of students,” a representative from The College Board said, “Going digital allows every student to receive a unique test form, so it will be practically impossible to share answers.”

No. 2 pencils, long waits for results and bubble sheets will be a thing from the past starting internationally in 2023, as students turn their papers into digital, where they will be logging into a computer to take a test that helps set them up for a future of endless possibilities.