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The SAT will soon ditch paper and pencil in favor of digital testing



The deadline for SAT tests to go fully digital for students.

College Board


The College Board announced earlier today its plans to move the widely used, highly debated SAT test entirely online, along with a host of other changes to the exam format, timing, and security. By 2024, stateside high school students will no longer know the pain of showing up to their SATs with a backpack stuffed full of No. 2 pencils, an overpriced calculator they use approximately three times a year, and a Snickers bar rapidly melting in their pockets.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, the College Board’s vice president of College Readiness Assessments. “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.”

You wouldn’t believe the number of multiple choice test close-up stock photos out there.Shutterstock

A number of other welcome alterations — In addition to the shift online, the College Board outlined many other revisions to the SAT due in the coming years, including a reduced test time from 3 to 2 hours, shorter reading passages with a single question each, and increased safeguards against cheating. In an attempt to address economic and technological disparities, the College Board also promised that any student who wishes to take one of its tests will be provided with a computer or laptop if they don’t have access to one themselves.

Past their time limit — The major change comes as standardized testing faces increased criticism over issues regarding accessibility, demographic bias, and its longtime overweighted influence on college applications. This attention increased even more during the course of the pandemic, as in-person paper-and-pencil testing proved unsafe or outright impossible for school systems. All this, as more colleges move to making tests like the SAT and ACT optional for their applications processes. While the test’s content might not be drastically altered, it’s good to see the College Board at least technologically keeping up with the times.