You are currently viewing As a first, U.S. students will take the SAT completely online (no pencils needed)

The SAT is a college admissions test that for more than 100 years was administered using pencil and paper has now been made completely digital.

Students from the U.S. will begin taking the brand-new SAT using their personal devices, including tablets or laptops or school-issued devices. The test will also be one time shorter (down from 3 hours) it is shorter in reading and utilizes digital tools such as a highlighter, graphing calculator and bookmarks for returning to the questions that were skipped.

The new test, which eliminates pencil and paper, hopes to make cheating more difficult and the process of grading much easier.

Students may be able to take the test in a test centre or in a high school.

“Today’s students, they do a lot of their living digitally, they do a lot of their learning digitally and they do a lot of their test taking digitally,” says Priscilla Rodriguez, who is the person in charge of the SAT for the College Board, the organization behind the test.

In focus groups that the College Board conducted, students claimed they felt more comfortable and confident conducting tests on a computer device. “They were kind of telling us in so many words, ‘You’re a little behind us at this point, actually. Can you please catch up?’ “

The digital SAT isn’t an enormous leap for a lot of students.

In March and April in the months of March and April, in March, and into April College Board expects more than 1 million students to be taking the brand new digital SAT. Students will be able to take the test on test days on Saturdays as well as at SAT School Days, where participating high schools will offer the test to students in upperclassmen for at no cost during school hours.

Stephany Perez, a high school student from Houston Perez says that the move to online learning is “not that significant.”

“We’re so used to being on our laptops, like it’s something we do on the regular, in every class.”

Perez has been preparing to take the test online of the test in the school with test prep materials that comes from CollegeSpring, a nonprofit that works with high school teachers.

She admits that she’s nervous and anxious about the test, as she’s under an immense pressure to perform well. “It’s a very important test,” she states. “It dictates what’s going to happen for your college life.”

The test is scheduled for this Tuesday at the high school she attends, using school laptops.

It’s not the first time that the College Board has administered a digital test. International students took a digital only SAT in 2023. an online-only PSAT was administered to students in the younger U.S. high school students this fall.

Students will take the online test using Bluebook the app developed on-site and approved by the College Board. Schools were provided with the opportunity prior to testing dates to install the Bluebook app on their devices. Access to the internet is essential for the test to begin however Rodriquez claims that the app requires minimal bandwidth for the test. The app is designed to automatically save locally which means that students will not be able to complete their work or lose time when they lose connectivity to the Internet.

The SAT and ACT remain the most powerful for admissions

All of this is happening while the importance for tests like the SAT and ACT as well as the ACT, a different admissions test for colleges that is in debate for college admissions. Over 1,800 U.S. colleges are not requiring test scores for applicants who want to join in the fall of 2025, as per the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. In recent weeks, several prestigious private schools, such as Brown University and Dartmouth College, have reinstated the requirement for testing as they believe it will provide valuable information for applicants.

Perez will be the first person in her family to attend university within the U.S. Perez declares, “I know a lot of schools say that they’re test optional,” however, when she researched schools she wanted to attend she discovered that they provided the average SAT score on their sites.

“So you do have to care,” she adds, “because [colleges] might still be looking at them, even if they say they’re test optional.”

While many schools have tried to minimize the importance of the tests Rodriquez of the College Board, says the SAT remains an important part of a bigger admissions puzzle.

“[The SAT] can give any student a way to show what they’ve learned in a standardized way, and that’s especially important when other parts of the college application, things like extracurricular activities and essays, are more easily influenced by parental wealth.”

It is important to note that the SAT and ACT remain integrated into the American high school curriculum. Some states require one of these exams for graduation, and many states have contracts with College Board to offer the exam during school hours at no cost to students.

Prior to this new format before this new format, the SAT was already undergoing numerous modifications. In 2014 it was announced that the College Board revealed that it was dropping the penalty for incorrect answers and make the essay section optional, and eliminate the obscurity of the vocabulary section. 

In the early 2021s the board declared that it was going to end the essay component of the SAT along with the subject tests for U.S. language, history and maths, among other subjects.