Here’s everything we know—and you need to know—about the forthcoming SAT changes.

A blog post we wrote about the upcoming SAT changes was published in March (What new changes are coming to the SAT). The College Board has recently updated the information accessible to the public, providing a better idea of what we will find when the new SAT is implemented. Zinkerz always presents its readers with the most recent and accurate information. As a result, we have been working hard to find answers to all the questions we encountered in March.

First, let’s recap what we learned about the digital SAT early in the year:

When will the new SAT be used instead of the old one?

The new digital version of the SAT will be administered to students taking the exam outside the United States, beginning in the spring of 2023. Starting in the spring of 2024, they will administer the digital version of the SAT to students in the United States who have registered to take the exam.

The procedure for giving the test is that they will administer the new SAT solely in digital format (except for students needing paper-based accommodations). Students can take the SAT on a computer or tablet, either bringing their device to the exam or renting one in advance from the testing center.

Our previous blog is a great place to learn more about other formerly disclosed information on the new SAT, including information about the test’s sections, length, questions, and software tools; however, in this post, we will discuss newly released information that was unclear before they made it public.

New information is available!

Do you think there was too much room for interpretation in the released SAT information? Well, we did too! We have compiled all of our resources to find answers to the questions that are likely to be asked by our community regarding the new test. Even though we don’t have all the answers to every question, we do have some answers. We can now get a better idea of what the test will be like when it is administered at international test centers in the coming spring because of new information that has become available from the College Board. The following is a list of questions for which we have the following answers:

What are the specific details of the exam?

We now know more about the number of questions, the time allotted for the test, the scoring, and details about new topics.

Reading and Writing
Total Time: 64 minutes
Total Questions: 54
Total Time: 70 minutes
Total Questions: 44
# of Modules 2 2
# of pre-test questions in each module 2 2
# of questions per module 27 22
Time allowed per module 32 minutes 35 minutes
Average time per question 1.19 min / question 1.59 min / question
Types of Question Multiple Choice Multiple Choice and Student-Produced Response (SPR)
What’s being changed?
  • More challenging texts
  • Shorter passages replace long texts
  • Alterations to some familiar question types.
  • Calculator access throughout the entire math portion
  • Word problems are becoming shorter
Total possible points 800 800

What is a pre-test question?

This is a question being tested on students taking the exam. It is used for research by the College Board and may be included in future exams, but they do not factor it into the final score of that exam. In the past, the experimental 5th section contained these questions. They are mixed into each section, so students do not know which ones they are.

Will the difficulty of the questions increase from one module to the next?

The questions in each module are organized from the easiest to the most difficult, and they are categorized first by the level of skill required, then by the level of difficulty of the questions. Both modules will cover every subject, but they might organize the material differently depending on its difficulty level.

What does it mean to be stage adaptive?

We knew from the time the changes to the SAT were announced that the digital form of the test would be adaptive, meaning the test would become harder or easier depending on a student’s success rate while answering questions. But we were unsure precisely in what way it would be adaptive. However, now much of that information has been cleared up. When students start Module 1 of verbal or math, they will work through their problems in that section. The questions are predetermined for that test-taker, so they do not become easier or harder based on previous answers. At the end of the section, your score will determine which second module you will be given.

The specific method of calculation is unknown.

They may count all responses and use that as their minimum required score. Therefore, if you reach that number, you will move on to the “harder” Module 2, and if you do not reach it, you will move on to the “easier” Module 2. There is also the possibility that the examination will use a weighted method, in which each question will be worth a different number of points based on the difficulty it presents. The precise method of scoring has not yet been made public.

What will the digital test look like on the computer?

The College Board has released a sample of what this may look like. While the exact aesthetics are still unclear, a few things are certain about the resources available:

  • Mark for review: You may mark a question if you want to come back to it later
  • Timer: You will see how much time remains
  • Calculator: You will have access to an online calculator
  • Reference sheet: Each question will have access to a reference sheet in math

Students can leave notes about the questions.

The tech team at Zinkerz is working to create a simulation for the exam. It will be the most effective way to practice for the test and give you a real test-taking experience. We will release our digital mock exam this winter (along with classes and preparation), which will be the undisputed best way to prepare! 

Will I have to use the digital calculator?

No! You can bring your own approved calculator or use the one provided online.

What about sub-scores?

Sub-scores and cross-test scores will no longer be provided on the digital SAT score reports.

What we do not know:

Even though we have the most recent information available, we are still seeking some answers concerning the digital version of the SAT. Zinkerz will update you with any new information, including these and other answers, as it becomes available.

  • Will super-scoring be allowed?
  • How will the scores of each section be calculated?
  • Will you ever see the total number of questions you have got right?
  • Exactly how long will my score take to get back?
  • Are start times fixed or varied?
  • What specific alterations are being made to verbal section question types?

Do you have questions?

Put them in the comments below, and we will make it a point to add them to the list of things we need to investigate. Zinkerz continues to be the undisputed leader in SAT preparation. During the winter, check out our digital mock test!

by Karly Burke

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