SAT Changes for 2024: Guide to the Digital SAT

February 12, 2024

digital sat changes 2024

Starting in 2024, the famous three-hour, pencil-and-paper, bubble-filling, 1600-point test that has been a gateway to college for decades will now be replaced by a shiny, new, digital version.  That’s right: the SAT will no longer be administered in a physical format, and test takers from 2024 onward will now take the digital version.  While nearly every college and university in the United States decided to make the SAT optional during the pandemic, millions of students still took the test. The College Board—the company that administers the SAT—decided to take advantage of the shifting educational landscape to pilot a digital version of the exam. The digital version was so successful that the College Board decided to institute those changes to the exam. Not only will the SAT now be taken digitally, there are a slew of other changes that have come on board. 

SAT Score Calculator – 2024

Use our accurate and up-to-date SAT Score Calculator as your practice for the exam:

SAT Score Calculator (Digital)

Additional Changes in the Digital SAT 

  • The digital SAT is shorter: about two hours instead of three, with more time per question 
  • Reading passages will be shorter with just one question tied to each passage
  • Reading passages will reflect a wider range of topics, including more of what students will read in college 
  • Calculators will be allowed on the entire Math section 
  • Scores will be returned in days, not weeks 
  • New digital SAT Suite score reports will link students to information about community colleges, vocational training, and career options 

You will be able to use your own laptops or desktop computers to take the exam. Alternatively, you can use one provided by your school. If you can’t access a computer to take the SAT for any reason, the College Board will provide a device to the student. The test has also been engineered so that you won’t lose progress on the exam if you somehow lose internet connectivity or if your power suddenly goes out. 

Dates and Deadlines 

March Digital SAT 

Friday, February 23, 2024 is the Registration Deadline for the March Digital SAT. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 is the Late Registration Deadline for the March Digital SAT. 

Saturday, March 9, 2024 is the test day for the March Digital SAT. 

Changes in Digital SAT (Continued)

May Digital SAT 

Friday, April 19, 2024  is the Registration Deadline for the May Digital SAT. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 is the Late Registration Deadline for the May Digital SAT. 

Saturday, May 4, 2024 is the test day for the May Digital SAT. 

June Digital SAT 

Thursday, May 16, 2024  is the Registration Deadline for the June Digital SAT. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 is the Late Registration Deadline for the June Digital SAT. 

Saturday, June 1, 2024 is the test day for the June Digital SAT. 

Anticipated test days for the rest of 2024 are as follows: 

  • August 24, 2024 
  • October 5, 2024 
  • November 2, 2024 
  • December 7, 2024 

Changes in Digital SAT (Continued)

A Note About Devices 

If you need to request and use a device from the College Board, you’ll need to formally make the request 30 days before the test day. Anyone who needs to borrow a device will be prompted to make the request for the device when they register for the test. This is before the Registration Deadline for the Digital SAT dates above. In that way, if you might need to borrow a device, you should plan far in advance. This will ensure that you are able to make a request. If you do need to borrow a device, you can find out more information on how to do so on the College Board’s website.  

According to the College Board, the rules for devices are as follows: 

“You can take the digital SAT with any personal or school-managed Windows laptop or tablet, personal or school-managed Mac laptop or iPad, or school-managed Chromebook (personal Chromebooks aren’t permitted). 

If you don’t have a device, we recommend you borrow one from your school, a family member, or a friend, so you can download the testing application and get familiar with the device.”

The College Board also provides a site to outline the digital testing technical requirements, which you should definitely check out before test day arrives.  

“A Lot Less Stressful” 

As the SAT goes digital, it’s obvious that some of the things about the pencil-and-paper version of the test will go by the wayside. 

Take it from former 11th grader Natalia Cossio, who participated in the College Board’s pilot of the digital SAT. 

About the exam, Cossio said, “It felt a lot less stressful, and a whole lot quicker than I thought it’d be. The shorter passages helped me concentrate more on what the question wanted me to do. Plus, you don’t have to remember to bring a calculator or a pencil.”

Changes in Digital SAT (Continued)

While Cossio’s comment is endearing, the College Board does recommend that you bring a pen or pencil. Your testing site will provide scratch paper, and you’re allowed to solve problems and write notes to help you process your answers while you take the test. 

Additionally, make things easier on yourself by checking out our list of the twenty SAT grammar rules that will help you score higher on the exam. 

What to Bring on Test Day: The College Board-Approved Checklist

Must Haves: 

  • Firstly, your fully charged laptop or computer 
    • Be sure to bring a power cord and/or a portable charger 
    • The College Board does not guarantee that you will have access to an outlet during the SAT 
    • Further, your computer should be able to hold a charge for 3-4 hours 
  • The digital SAT app fully installed on your device and exam setup complete 
    • You need to download the digital SAT app and complete the setup before test day 
    • Make sure you plan ahead and leave time for troubleshooting 
  • A pen or pencil 

Changes in Digital SAT (Continued)

  • A calculator
    • The digital SAT app has a graphing calculator built in, but you can bring your own external calculator if you want, too 
  • Computer accessories that help you navigate your device 
    • An external mouse, if you use one 
    • An external keyboard, if you use one 
    • External keyboards can be used only with tablets, not with laptops  
  • Also, if you’re homeschooled, an approved photo ID 
  • If you’ll be testing at a school that’s different from the one you usually attend, an approved photo ID 

Nice to Have: 

  • A watch without an alarm 
  • Extra batteries for your calculator and backup devices 
    • Those batteries will have to be tucked away when you’re taking the test
    • You’ll have to ask permission to access extra batteries 
  • A bag or a backpack 
  • A drink or snacks 
    • You can eat and drink during the break 
  • EpiPens and other types of epinephrine auto-injectors
    • If you have specific allergies that require this kind of medication, you don’t need to have an accommodation 
    • The EpiPen/auto-injector needs to be in a clear bag and kept under your desk during the test 

Practice and Preparation Tips and Tricks 

The College Board suggests a whole timeline for you to prepare and practice for the digital SAT. And the new digital format allows you to take practice tests more easily on your own device. 

So, how should you prepare? 

  1. Go to the College Board’s website and download the Bluebook app, which you’ll also need on test day. If you’re going to take the digital SAT, there’s no sense in waiting. So download the app now and start getting familiar with how it works. 
  2. Two weeks before test day, take a full-length practice test in the Bluebook app.  
  3. Five days before test day, complete your exam setup and get your admission ticket. 
  4. On test day, arrive with everything you need and want from the lists above. Check your admission ticket, and take the digital SAT. 

Expanding Access 

One of the things that the digital SAT can allow for is the potential for increased access to the exam. This could mean that more diverse groups of students can take the exam. Ultimately, this makes accessing a college education easier for traditionally underserved groups of people. 

Educators who participated in the College Board’s digital SAT pilot said that it was as easy or easier to administer than the paper exam. This ease could allow school districts to host more exam dates and times to cater to student needs, rather than a simple fixed date and time for the proctored paper exam, according to the College Board. 

The College Board also points to independent research that shows that students are much more likely to take the SAT if it is offered in school, for free, during regular school hours. Additionally, in states where students are required to take a college entrance exam (and are provided the means to do so) exam completion rates jump to 99 percent. 

Changes in Digital SAT (Continued)

“It’s encouraging to see the positive feedback from students and educators who participated in the pilots for the digital SAT. The changes to the test are timely and clearly centered around improving the student experience,” said Ronné Turner, Vice Provost for Admissions & Financial Aid at Washington University in St. Louis. “I’m pleased that the greater flexibility in administering the test will expand access to SAT School Day, which research shows increases college-going rates for low-income students.”

Additionally, if you feel like you want to beef up your study skills, check out our other blog posts about the best SAT and ACT tutors

If you want to quell your nerves about your score, check out our breakdown of the digital SAT scoring process.

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