... starting March 2023 for non-US test centers and the following year in the United States. I just got off a webinar with the Collegeboard CEO and VP of College Readiness!
One thing I know for sure in today's world... change is constant! So, as we always advise our students, the key is to learn how to adapt quickly.
The College Board bombshell announcement yesterday read: "Digital SAT Brings Student-Friendly Changes to the Test Experience" ... but it isn't really a bombshell is it? We predicted this back in 2020! Let me tell you, if it's one thing you can count on, CollegeBoard WILL make the changes it needs to make to stay relevant!
Here is a quick summary of the changes:
  • A digital SAT to replace the paper-based test. Digital exams will begin in March 2023 in test centers outside the US and by the spring of 2024 in the US. This means that students currently in 5th form / US Grade 10 or earlier will be affected (strategy for this below!)
  • PSAT Digital: Fall 2023
  • SAT Digital: Class of 2024 (non US) / Class of 2025 (US)
  • The digital SAT will be 2 hours (that's a little over ONE HOUR SHORTER than the current test!)
  • Students will take the SAT on a laptop or tablet, using a custom-built digital exam application that they'll download in advance of test day. No two exams will be the same, so sharing of answers is impossible.
  • Students can use their own devices AND there will be loaners for students without devices.
  • Each section (Reading and Writing, Math) will be divided into two parts called modules. Students answer a set of questions in the first module before moving on to the next.
  • The test is SMART / RESPONSIVE ... that is, the questions that students are given in the second module depend on how they performed on the first module.
  • Students will be able to practice with the new digital adaptive format starting this fall on Khan Academy
  • You can mark a question as undone and get back to it (yay!)
  • A Test Timer will be included (and shown at the top of the test so you always know how much time you have left)
  • The digital test will feature shorter reading passages with one question tied to each passage, and passages will reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students read in college.
  • Calculators will be allowed on the entire Math section. A digital calculator will be built into the test, but you can use your own calculator if you prefer.
  • The digital SAT will continue to be scored on the 1600-point scale
  • RESULTS: students can expect to get their scores back in days, not weeks!
IF the internet disconnects OR students' device runs out of battery, all their work will be saved and they will NOT lose testing time.
One potential pitfall:
We're not sure how CollegeBoard plans to get around this BUT - what if a student makes a careless error?
Since the test is adaptive it will potentially give them easier questions and result in a lower score, right off the bat! Some kids actually get easier questions wrong and harder questions right... but in this new dispensation, a careless error early on in the test would limit the students' score early on due to a careless mistake. In the current SAT, all questions are weighted the same so it does not matter if you miss hard ones or easy ones. In the adaptive SAT, missing easy ones would have a disproportionate negative effect.
CollegeBoard MUST make these changes to stay relevant - especially amidst more flexibility, including digital testing for the ACT.... follow the money, even though CollegeBoard is "test-optional" it generates mega $$.

Colleges STILL use (and many require) SAT Scores for Admissions and Scholarships - so students who need scholarships and/or are applying to competitive schools, or schools that require the SAT (e.g. Florida / Georgia public universities) must do it.
Need a HIGH SCORE? Stressed about the SAT? Let AIM's Tutors help BOOST your test score!
Well, my step daughter is class of 2024 and I plan to have her do the paper and TRY the digital but I am not a fan of guinea pigging it... but I think one of her 3 sittings will be digital just so we can see. . . but really I am not sure I want other people to try it first and Collegeboard to work out the kinks.
So, starting college in 2024? You best START SAT prep in June (Ally's CSEC exams end June 1) and then be able to do SATs October and December (paper style). I will keep you posted on this, but this is where I am, so far.
I repeat, after December 2022, outside of the US, there will be NO MORE PAPER TESTS.
Now we have students fly to the US all the time to grab tests on dates when they aren't offered internationally... and the US centers will be paper based up to 2024. So, we do have options to stick to paper only.
Current 4th formers / grade 9 US students will have to take the digital - but at least by that time it won't be as new, kinks worked out, hopefully lots of practice tests released, etc.
Standardized testing - no matter how much we ALL wish it wasn't a thing (trust me, we wish we could focus on helping students get to know themselves, develop their interests and hook, find their passions and prep stellar applications ONLY) ... but, Test Scores STILL give admissions officers additional data points to help them quickly sift through inflated applicant pools with large numbers of students from many different high schools all over the world. College admissions officers are unfamiliar with many of the high school's students apply from, so they don't know how rigorous the grading system is AND at some high schools grade inflation is KNOWN to run rampant.

College Board cited that the share of students graduating from high school with an A average has grown from 39% in 1998 to 55% in 2021!

This is why AIM strongly recommends that you prep for the SAT and do your BEST to achieve your HIGHEST score in order to set yourself apart from the students applying with high GPA only!

REMEMBER: Other test scores - IB predicted, CAPE, AP - these are INCREASINGLY important too!

Using test scores to help sort through applications seems to be the only viable choice for many schools like a NYU or a USC getting more than 100,000 applicants per year!

I really do hope that in the coming years, genuine DECISIVE stances on testing emerge because students and parents really do not know how to read between the lines or use the data to know what the best strategy is for them!

If colleges truly don't care about Test Scores they should just go TEST BLIND (like the California public schools) and not look at or use test scores at all - for any applicant!

Common App data found that:

  • First-generation and underrepresented minority (URM) applicants were less likely to report test scores than non-first-generation and non-URM applicants. Their rates of reporting also declined at sharper rates relative to 2019–20. Wealthier students, and White and Asian students continue to submit scores and continue to be highly represented in the admitted student pool!
  • More selective member institutions, both public and private, more often received test scores with applications than did less selective colleges.
As it stands now, the data suggests that "test-optional" is not really optional if you want scholarships or access to uber competitive universities, all other things being equal.
Be sure to subscribe to the AIM Online Academy Mailing List for more tips, tricks and information on how to get your applications ready, and start WINNING! 
Heading to college in 2023 or 2024? Now is the perfect time to get a head start on college applications. Click the button below to get started with an AIM expert counselor today.
Author: AIM Online Academy
AIM Online Academy (was AIM Educational Services) is the leading college prep provider in Jamaica, that helps students maximize their potential as they make the journey towards college in the US, UK and Canada. For over a decade, AIM's team of College Experts & Essay Coaches have assisted students from all over the Caribbean, the USA and Canada get into the college of their dreams with enough scholarship and financial aid to actually attend.

You can find out more about how AIM Online Academy can help YOU here:

Get AIM College Essentials for FREE
Grab the Major Keys in the Admissions Journey with AIM curated resources and research hubs just for YOU.