A Welcome Change: CollegeBoard Announces SAT Modifications


Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu of Unsplash

SAT tests starting 2024 in the US will be online.

Jason Rong, Opinion Editor

Are you a student that’s stressed out about taking the SAT? Don’t be. College Board recently announced that they decided to switch the SAT from in-person to online. This new and improved digital test comes with many modifications, including having a runtime of two hours instead of three. This change could help students maintain their focus and perform to their best abilities. Are you a student who hates doing mental math? If so, this news will relieve your stress. College Board plans on combining the two math sections into one and getting rid of the calculator inactive portion. Students who struggle with reading are in luck because College Board has just made things easier for them. The reading passages will be significantly shorter, meaning you won’t have to search through a wall of text for answers. These changes are promising as students have already provided positive feedback.

According to College Board, 80% of students who took the new digital test found it less stressful than the traditional paper version. The New York Times has insight from test-takers. Christian Wang, a high school junior who took the digital and paper, provided her thoughts, stating, “I preferred the digital format with the shorter passages, just because it was a lot easier to read and easier to stay focused. I also felt less drained at the end.” It’s great to see that future scholars do not have to take the same hectic test that the class of 2022 and previous years took. 

When I walked into the test session last year, I felt a sense of nervousness in the air. My fellow test-takers were visibly stressed out. During the exam, I was constantly distracted by the noise of flipping pages from other students. The sound of others flipping pages gave me a false sense of perception that every test-taker in the room was ahead of me. The removal of this stressor for the digital exam could improve students’ ability to focus. 

The SAT has been a big part of college admission. Doing well on the test could strengthen the academic aspect of your application and get you one step closer to getting into your dream school. However, if you feel pressured by its significance, don’t be. Many schools are adopting test-optional policies, meaning that they don’t require you to submit a score. Also, remember: at the end of the day, the result of an exam doesn’t define you.