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Unlocking Your Digital SAT Success: Get an Early Start Now!

Getting an early start has always been important when preparing for standardized tests. Since Academic Approach was founded in 2001, our data has shown that students who begin regularly working with us 6-9 months ahead of their test dates have the greatest score growth. In a year of change to the SAT, planning ahead for the 2023-2024 school year will be more important than ever. Families should start figuring out a test preparation plan now. Why so early?

College Board begins rolling out its new version of the PSAT this fall, and the SAT in Spring 2024. These new test forms will be both digital and adaptive and replace the existing paper-and-pencil forms. While the overall skills that are tested—mathematics, grammar, and reading comprehension—remain the same, the testing experience for students will be very different. Students and families need to take these changes into account.

Students graduating in 2025 or 2026 will not be able to choose the format of their PSAT and will be given the digital version of the PSAT in the fall. However, students who plan ahead can still have a choice when it comes to the format of the SAT.

Students who had planned to take the SAT during the 2023-2024 school year will want to carefully consider the testing date they sign up for because it will determine which version of the SAT they receive. See more on this strategy below.

What are the differences between the existing and new SATs?

The biggest changes to the SAT include:

  • Digital administration
  • Multistage adaptive testing model

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  • Combination of Reading and Writing into a single subject
    • Passages are shortened and have a single accompanying question
  • Calculators used throughout the Math test

For more detailed information on the changes to the SAT, call us at (773) 985-3551.

What do these changes to the SAT mean for students?

In short, students who plan to take the digital SAT must prepare differently. Academic Approach has released new curriculum specifically designed for the digital SAT and we can prepare your child for the PSAT and SAT digital exams.

Students who wish to take the paper-and-pencil SAT will need to sign up for a Fall 2023 testing date, which will require earlier and perhaps more frequent tutoring sessions than originally planned. Students involved in fall extracurriculars or sports may especially want to consider beginning a tutoring program this spring or summer when they have more availability.

Studying for the Digital SAT - Teen girl student looking at laptop screen learning online at home. Smiling biracial teenager schoolgirl doing homework sitting at desk. Distance education concept.

What are the advantages of taking the digital SAT?

The biggest advantage of the digital SAT is that it is shorter. Instead of 3 hours, the digital SAT is 2 hours and 14 minutes. Additionally, there are overall fewer questions and more time allotted per question.

Students who struggle with the No-Calculator section on the current SAT may appreciate that calculators are allowed on the entire digital SAT. Students who struggle with reading comprehension, particularly of long, complex texts, may appreciate the shortened Reading and Writing passages and the fact that only one question accompanies each passage, eliminating the worry that a misinterpretation of a text could cost a student up to 10 questions.

Additionally, some students may simply prefer the digital format.

What are the disadvantages of taking the digital SAT?

Simply put, the digital SAT is a new test form, which means we don’t know everything about it yet. For example, College Board has not released much information about scoring or scaling. Teachers may not be very familiar with digital or adaptive testing. Some students may struggle with reading online in general or with reading dozens of short passages.

How does the digital SAT form impact your student’s decision to take the SAT or ACT?

Ultimately, determining whether a student should take the SAT or ACT comes down to the particular strengths and challenges of the individual student, along with their personal preferences. This remains true, even with the changes to the new SAT.

The chief distinctions between the SAT and ACT (SAT’s greater emphasis on Math and ACT’s formal Science section) do still hold when comparing the digital SAT and ACT. However, the introduction of the digital SAT does mean that there are now more factors to weigh when making the SAT vs. ACT decision.

With so much to consider, and time being of the essence, be sure to call Academic Approach now at (773) 985-3551 to set up a consultation. We’ll help your student determine the best test (and format) for them and develop a customized plan for success.

Are you ready to start tutoring?

Start with a diagnostic test or receive personalized guidance on where to start. 

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