The digital SAT Suite uses multistage adaptive testing (MST). Relying on MST means the digital SAT Suite fairly and accurately measures the same things with a shorter, more highly secure test while preserving test reliability.
Each assessment in the digital SAT Suite has two sections: the Reading and Writing section and the Math section. In every assessment in the SAT Suite, including the SAT, students have 64 minutes to complete the Reading and Writing section and 70 minutes to complete the Math section. Each Reading and Writing module lasts 32 minutes, while each Math module lasts 35 minutes. When students complete the Reading and Writing section, they are moved to the Math section after a 10-minute break between the sections.
Total testing time for the digital SAT Suite is 2 hours and 14 minutes for each assessment (SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9).
Both the Reading and Writing and the Math sections are divided into two equal-length and separately timed stages, each composed of a module of questions. Students can move backward and forward among questions in each module before time runs out. When time runs out on the first module of each section, the test delivery platform moves students to the second module. The first module contains a broad mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Based on how students perform on the first module, the second module of questions will either be more difficult or less difficult.
The PSAT 8/9
Taken in the eighth and ninth grades, the PSAT 8/9 establishes a baseline measurement of college and career readiness as students enter high school. It helps students and educators determine what students need to work on most.
The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 are the same test, offered at different times of year. They check student progress and pinpoint areas for development. Students can take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of 10th and 11th grade. Instead of offering the PSAT/NMSQT to 10th graders in the fall, some schools offer the PSAT 10 between February and April.
The PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test students take to enter the National Merit® Scholarship Program and to compete for recognition and college scholarships. To enter the National Merit Scholarship Program, which is conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®), students must take the PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of their high school program (usually the junior year) and meet other published participation requirements.
The SAT is an opportunity for students to show colleges they’re ready to succeed on campus. Most students take the SAT for the first time during the spring of their junior year and the second time during the fall of their senior year.
The Digital SAT, also known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, has entered the digital era. This marks a significant transformation in how students take this important exam. Here are some features:
The digital SAT Suite employs MST (multistage adaptive testing), which ensures fair and accurate measurement of students’ abilities in a shorter and more secure way. The digital SAT is computer adaptive, which means success in the first section leads to more challenging questions in the second, with each question being worth more points. Shorter testing time, taking approximately two hours, a reduction from the previous three hours.
There are two sections:
(1) Reading and Writing
Expanded calculator use. Overall, the Digital SAT is a more convenient, secure, and personalized approach to standardized testing.
Why is the SAT changing?
Priscilla Rodriguez, the Vice President of College Readiness Assessments at the College Board, sheds light on the reasons behind the SAT’s transition to a digital format. She states, “We’ve been hearing feedback from students and educators about what it’s like to take the SAT and what it’s like to give students the SAT. Some of the rigidity, stress, and length of the test could only make those kinds of changes go digital.”
The transition of the SAT from a paper-and-pencil test to a digital format is a significant shift because:
The digital SAT aims to make the exam more manageable with a shorter duration. Students will have access to a wider array of digital tools to aid in their test-taking. In an age where students increasingly use digital devices for learning and testing, the move to a digital SAT aligns the exam with these contemporary learning practices. Furthermore, students will receive personalized guidance in their official score report, connecting them not only with four-year colleges but also with local two-year colleges and workforce training programs. The shift to a digital SAT is driven by a commitment to making the test more accessible, relevant, and supportive of students’ college and career aspirations.
Comparison between Paper SAT & Digital SAT
The digital SAT retains the same score scale as the old paper SAT, ranging from 400 to 1600. Here are the changes between the old paper SAT and the new digital SAT:
In addition, there are significant differences in the structure of the math and reading and writing sections compared to the old paper SAT. The table below provides a clear comprehension of the structural differences in the Math and Reading & Writing sections between the old SAT and the new digital SAT.
The digital SAT divides the math section into two modules, each with a time limit of 35 minutes. In each module, test-takers are presented with 22 questions, making a total of 44 questions in the math section. One notable change in the new digital SAT is the allowance of a calculator for all math questions. Unlike the old SAT, which had a “No Calculator” Math section, test-takers on the digital SAT have access to an on-screen graphing calculator during both Math modules.
Marks Distribution in Digital SAT Exam
The digital SAT exam is structured around two primary sections: reading + writing and math. These sections are at the core of the examination. Each section of the SAT has an allocated time duration for completion. In the Reading + Writing section, which includes 54 Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs), test-takers are provided with 64 minutes to address the questions.
Efficient Testing: Reduced duration, taking only about 2 hours, compared to the old SAT’s 3 hours.
Enhanced Security: Utilizes multistage adaptive testing for fair and accurate assessment.
Computer Adaptive: Tailored questions based on performance, increasing engagement, and scoring potential.
These Sections: reading and writing and math, with a break in between, streamlining the test.
Expanded Calculator Use: On-screen calculator is available for both math modules.
Personalized Feedback: Official score reports connect students to various educational pathways.
Alignment with Digital Learning: Matches contemporary learning practices by going digital.
Convenient Accessibility: Easily accessible on devices like desktops, laptops, Chromebooks, and iPads.
Faster Score Reporting: Scores are available in 2-3 days, reducing wait times.
Reduced Stress: Addresses rigidity and stress concerns, making the test more manageable.