Everything You Need To Know About The New Digital SAT

Last Updated On June 5, 2023 By Arikaran Kumar

Greetings! If you're reading this, you likely already know how important the SAT is for college admission. However, you may have heard a lot of buzz lately about a new type of SAT - the Digital SAT. In this blog post, we're going to dive into the Digital SAT and explore how it differs from the traditional SAT.

Over past several decades, besides the high school transcript, SAT has become the de facto standardized score for admittance to undergraduate degree programs for a majority of US colleges, universities and many foreign universities. Over the years it has changed adapted to the changing needs of the high school education.

Throughout its more than nine decades of its existence, it has undergone several major changes. The last major make over was in the year 2016. Now, the college board, the administrator of the SAT exam worldwide, have announced yet another major make over to the quintessential SAT exam.

Keeping in tune with the changing times, the college board is implementing three major changes to the SAT exam. Let us examine one by one.

SAT is going digital:

When the whole world is going digital, SAT is a little late to hitch the digital band wagon. Starting spring 2023 exam dates, the college board is transitioning to computer adaptive test format. First it will be rolled out to international testing centers.

Later in the spring 2024, all US centers will offer the digital SAT exam. No more paper cuts.

What is computer adaptive test?

Traditional paper-based exams present students with a set of questions. If a student encounters an unfamiliar topic or question, the student has the option to skip and move on to the next section. Later the student can revisit ‘tough’ questions or revise the earlier responses. In other words, the students have the option to revise or revisit the responses till the allotted time is up.

On the other hand, in a computer adaptive test, the students have will be presented with one question at a time. If the student answers correctly (of course the student will not know whether they answered correctly or not), they will be presented with the next question that may be a little more challenging than the previous set. If the student struggles (computer knows the best ) the student may be presented with a simpler problem to solve or move on to the next section or set of questions. This not only protects the student feeling low, but it also saves time. Afterall there are finite number of questions in the SAT exam, the major difference is you can reduce the number of questions, BUT not increase the number of questions presented to a student.

The digital SAT test administered time also decreased.

The current paper-based exam takes 3 hours (180 minutes). The students are presented with 155 questions. In the digital exam, the students will be presented with x no of questions to be completed in x no of minutes.

​“The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same” - Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

The digital SAT still will carry the same score points i.e. 800 for the English language proficiency, and 800 for the math proficiency modules. Thus the SAT composite score will remain 1600.

Since it is digital, the student’s do not have the option to take wherever they want but need to take the digital SAT at their school or a testing center of their choice.

The academic proficiency being tested will remain the same.

What will be different?

Instead of three hours (180 min), the student will finish the digital SAT exam in 2 hours 14 Mins.

The students can take the test in their own devices or school/testing center provides one.

Now, students do not have to carry a graphing calculator. The digital testing app has an inbuilt graphing calculator. This also means you must familiarize yourself with the type of online graphing calculator. The best way to tackle is always practice the online SAT test practices with your choice of graphing calculator.

Paper based SAT vs Digital SAT

Paper based SAT test

Digital Computer adaptive SAT test

Phased out Fall 2024 (June 2024)

Spring 2024 (August 2024)

Three hours

Two hours

Results out in 4 weeks

Results in 2 weeks or less

Students should bring calculator

Inbuilt digital calculator. No need to carry a calculator.

Bring pencils, erasers, analog clock

No more pencils and erasers needed

Calculator allowed only for section 4

Calculator use is allowed for all the math sections


You can revisit the questions

Revisiting the question is not possible in a computer adaptive test

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SAT?

What is Digital SAT Exam?

What is the difference between SAT and Digital SAT?

Will Digital SAT Be Easier?

Is Digital SAT Accepted By Universities?

How Should I Prepare for Digital SAT?

How many marks are on the digital SAT?

How long do Digital SAT Scores take?

Can I bring my own calculator to the Digital SAT?

What are the benefits of taking the Digital SAT?

Mrs. Emimmal Sekar Proofread this article. Mr. Arikaran Kumar manages the website and the social media outreach.