Starting in 2023, the College Board has been administering the Digital SAT outside of the United States, which will follow suit in 2024. Whether you have had any exposure to the paper-based version of the SAT or not, this article will demystify the Digital SAT. We'll discuss three different aspects: Content, Format, and Adaptive nature.
Content: As before, the Digital SAT also has two sections, English and Math. The Math topics and concepts did not have any significant changes. English, on the other hand, thankfully to most students, no longer has the long passages followed by multiple questions! More on this in the format section. As before the maximum score is 1600, divided equally between Math and English.
Format: Of course, now the test is a digital one i.e an online exam. The Math section has two modules, just like English, and is 70 minutes long, with each section given equal time. Similarly, English has two equally divided sections for a total of 64 minutes – the total length of the test is 2 hours and 14 minutes, with a 10-minute break in between the sections. As stated earlier, the biggest change is in the English portion: the Reading and Writing & Language are combined into one section of two modules. Instead of long passages followed by 10 or 11 questions, now a paragraph has replaced the passage, for both Reading and W&L, followed by a single question. The question types, however, remain.
Adaptive Nature: This is perhaps the other big, much bigger, change. Recall, each section, Math and English, has two modules. Every student gets the same module 1 in both sections. However, the questions and, thus, the difficulty level of module 2 in both sections is dependent on the score achieved in module 1 – the higher the performance of a student in module 1, the more challenging module 2 will be. Before you panic or get confused, understand that the questions are now weighted: It's not just the number of correct responses that matters, but the difficulty level of the questions is the key. A student with fewer right answers, but one who attempted the higher difficulty module 2, will achieve an overall higher score than a student who did poorly in module 1.