SAT goes 100% online starting in March 2024

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – For students in the east planning to take one college entrance exam, instead of sitting behind a desk with a pencil in hand, it will be 100% digital.

According to The College Board, the makers of the test, the new SAT will be completely online everywhere in the United States, beginning in March.

ECU student Joy Taboh says she took the paper version in high school and has mixed emotions about the changes.

“It’s cool that it will be online which means we’re saving paper, saving trees, but also means that everyone has to be very, very computer savvy, and if not they would be lagging on the test just because they have to figure out what goes where, but other than that I think that it’s pretty cool,” says Taboh.

The company says the transition comes after they pilot-tested a digital SAT in 2021 in the United States and internationally, with 80% of students reporting they found it less stressful and 100% of educators reporting a positive experience.

Sylvan Learning Center Owner and Tutor Melissa Britner says the new test is adaptive and personalized to a student’s individual strengths.

“So, they will take the language arts portion and a math portion but they will do each of those twice so how they do on the first portion will decide what questions they get on the second portion of the test,” says Britner.

The College Board says the original paper format used to take 3 hours to complete, but the new digital version will take 2 hours and 14 minutes and include an on-screen calculator for the first time.

Officials say another major change is students will get test results back in weeks rather than months.

“If you are taking the SAT for online or paper, I will say practice a lot because it’s a lot about timing, making sure that you are up to pace because the SAT is not really difficult, it’s just a lot of the time,” says Taboh.

Britner says for parents who are concerned about their child passing the SAT, the center offers free diagnostic testing to highlight a student’s individual needed areas of improvement.

Meanwhile, officials say the ACT is not transitioning exclusively to digital and students will still have the option to choose the paper format.