College Board enacts major SAT changes


By Mareska Chettiar, Staff Reporter

The College Board is making major changes to the SAT, effective from 2024 onwards in the United States and from 2023 onwards internationally. This includes shortening the test time from three hours to two, removing the no-calculator math section, going completely digital and reducing the length of reading passages. 

“I think College Board is doing this for student flexibility,” said guidance counselor Brian Samson. “With electronic distribution, tests will still be taken in school but will also be taken at test sites. It also sounds like (College Board) will open up more days to take it at an alternative test site.” 

Overall, the changes hint at a standardized test that is more student-oriented. The test will soon be fully online, taken on personal devices or those provided by schools and testing centers. There are precautions in place to save answers and ensure a student does not lose their work if a technical issue arises. However, some students maintain that the current format is superior.

“As someone who has taken the paper test, they are easier for me,” junior Daniel Richard said. “When you go digital, there are a lot more distractions. A paper test just seems more beneficial.”

The new digital SATs also feature shorter passages in the English section. Opposed to the conventional long passages with various questions attached, the test now comprises individual paragraphs linked to a single question. This decrease in the number of questions, despite the reduction in overall test time, allots more time per answer for test takers.

“We have yet to see if it will benefit the students, but it seems like that is what (College Board) is trying to do,” Samson said.

The changes come amidst a growing test-optional trend in college admissions. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about the fairness of standardized testing, many colleges no longer require students to submit test scores like the SAT.  The new SAT, now shorter and more accessible,  encourages students to take standardized tests regardless.

“I feel like standardized testing is starting to become less of a priority, but kids will obviously still take it,” freshman Quinn Donahue said. “It (the digital SAT) might be less of a stressor for some people, and colleges going SAT-optional definitely open up a lot more opportunities for people attending college later in life. I think (the digital SAT) is a good thing.” 

For those who decide to take the SAT, updated practice tests for the digital version will be available starting in the fall of 2022.

Mareska can be reached at [email protected]