The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

The student news site of Vista del Lago

The Vista Voice

The New SAT Format: What You Need to Know


The SAT has shifted to a fully digital format in the United States starting this year. 

College Board, the organization that runs the SAT, has transitioned from paper-and-pencil to digital to offer a test that is more relevant, less stressful, and easier to administer. This shift brings several benefits for students, including a more engaging test experience and a reduction in test anxiety.

The digital SAT is not just the paper-and-pencil test but on a computer. College Board has made numerous changes to the test. 

The new test is shorter, about two hours instead of three, which “can help students not get as fatigued during the test,” said Kristine Kleinle, a counselor at Vista del Lago High School.

There are two sections: a Reading and Writing section and a Math section. Each section is divided into two modules. The digital SAT uses a multistage adaptive design. The first module of each section is a combination of easy, medium, and hard questions. The student’s performance in the first module will determine what questions he/she gets in the second module; so, if a student does well in the first module, the questions he/she gets in the second module will be harder, and if a student does poorly in the first module, then the questions they get in the second module would be easier. The adaptive design will make it “harder for the students,” said Steven Kuzhipala, a junior at VDLHS.

There are also some content changes in the test. The digital SAT will contain shorter passages instead of a few long texts, which will be “easier for the students,” said Kuzhipala. 

In the Math section, students will be allowed to use their own calculator or the built-in Desmos Graphing Calculator for the entire section. 

The PSAT has also transitioned to the new digital format and is almost identical to the Digital SAT. If you took the PSAT/NMSQT this fall, you can expect a similar format and interface in the digital SAT. This continuity in format and interface will help students feel more prepared and confident for the digital SAT.

Max Schiappacasse, a sophomore at Vista, took the PSAT this fall. He said it had a “very good” interface.

Despite these changes, many parts of the SAT are staying the same. The test is still graded on a 1600-point scale and will still be administered in schools or test centers.

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