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The changing landscape of College Board's SAT and the new digital SAT
Kathleen Leishear | High School & College Counselor

There have been some pretty palpable changes to college admissions testing in the last 4 years, the most notable being most universities in the United States have declared themselves test optional through next year's application cycle. However, there are still many reasons why students should still take the SAT. For one, if a student scores competitively on the SAT, they can and should absolutely send this score to universities. Secondly, some scholarships at US and US universities abroad tie some scholarships to SAT scores. This is not the norm for scholarships, but it's not unheard of either. Third, there are some universities in the US (and abroad if not applying with the full IBDP) that require the SAT. Lastly, as quickly as universities declared they were test-optional, they may just as quickly revert back to requiring it. It will absolutely never hurt students to take the SAT and have it in their arsenal for applications, because, after all, students do not have to send their scores if they don't perform well. 

Another very significant change to the SAT will kick in on March 11th. As of this date, the SAT will now be completely digital! However, this isn't the only change that the College Board is implementing with regard to the SAT. The new digital SAT will consist of only two sections: reading and math, and will be much shorter than the original SAT. The new test will take just over 2 hours as opposed to the former test that took almost 4! So how will this new digital SAT work? Well, pretty simply actually. Before registering for the test, students will need to ensure that their laptop is compatible. See the list of approved devices here. If students do not have an approved device (almost all will), it's not a problem because the College Board will actually provide a device for students who do not have an approved device or any device for that matter!  

Once this information is reviewed, students will create a College Board account if they don't already  have one, log in, and register for the SAT of their choice. During this time students will have the opportunity to indicate whether or not they need the College Board to send an approved device. From there College Board will give them specific instructions on what to do next. The main step is that students must download and install the application bluebook ahead of time, as this is the application that all students will use during the test. After students have downloaded the bluebook application, they actually gain access to several different resources. One resource of great significance is the ability to take 4 practice tests using bluebook. This gives you the exact simulation of taking the real test with comparable problems and exact length. This is an excellent way for students to see the type of questions they will encounter on the test, and also practice with timing. 

In summation, have there been some impactful changes to the SAT? Absolutely. Are they bad? Certainly not. I am optimistic that the new digital SAT is going to be a positive change for all students, especially those who are international. As we move forward, I will continue to provide updates about any new SAT changes and feedback from our students who are taking the March administration!

Kathleen Leishear
High School/College Counselor