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Get Ready for the Brave New Digital SAT Frontier with AJ


The College Board recently announced that the SAT will be transitioning to a digital format starting with the PSAT in 2023. Here at AJ Tutoring, we pride ourselves on helping families navigate the test taking process, including being prepared for changes like these. To help prepare students and parents for the upcoming changes, here’s what you need to know:

What’s changing and when?

The PSAT and SAT are transitioning to a computerized format. The PSAT will be changing first, in fall of 2023, followed by the SAT in Spring of 2024. This means current freshmen and sophomores will be the first groups to take the new test.

In addition to the SAT, the College Board has also announced that a number of AP exams will be offered in a computerized format for the 2023 exams (more info here). While the ACT has not announced any plans to transition to digital testing, they did offer some computerized options during the pandemic, so we’re likely to see changes there as well in the future.

What exactly is a “Digital” or “Computerized” test?

Students will still register for SAT exams as usual, with a specific date and location. However, when they arrive, instead of a paper test booklet, they will use a computer (either personal or school-provided) for both reading and answering questions.

At AJ Tutoring, we’ve had experience working with students for many other digital exams such as the ISEE exams, the GRE, GMAT, and MCAT. We’re excited to share the best practices we’ve developed working with these exams to the students preparing for the SAT.

What will be tested on the new SAT?

The SAT will still be testing much of the same content as in recent iterations of the exam. However, there are number of structural changes to be aware of:

Instead of a “Reading” section and a “Writing & Language” section, the new test will consist of a single “Reading & Writing” section, broken up into two modules. Each module will consist of a mix of questions testing both reading comprehension and writing skills (grammar, punctuation, word choice, etc.). The reading passages will also be significantly shorter, consisting of a few sentences or a single paragraph instead of a page long passage.

Similarly, instead of splitting the math section into “Calculator” and “Non-Calculator,” there will be a single math section (with calculators allowed) split up into two modules.

Current SAT Time   New SAT Time
Reading 65 min   Reading & Writing Module 1 32 min
Break 10 min   Reading & Writing Module 2 32 min
Writing & Language 35 min   Break 10 min
Non-Calculator Math 25 min   Math Module 1 35 min
Break 5 min   Math Module 2 35 min
Calculator Math 38 min      
Total 2 hr 58 min   Total 2 hr 24 min

Overall, the test is around a half hour shorter than the old format, which should hopefully relieve some burden for students who struggle to maintain focus for such a long duration.

The other structural change is the introduction of “adaptive testing” between the modules of each section. Adaptive testing means that the level of difficulty of the test will change based on the students’ performance. For the SAT, this means that the 2nd module for both the Reading & Writing section and the Math section will be either easier or harder depending on how well a student performed on the 1st module.

What is AJ doing to prepare?

We strive to ensure that all our tutors are not only excellent teachers, but also intimately familiar with tests we help students prepare for. As tests change, it’s important for us to plan ahead to be ready to help students with these new challenges. In light of this, there are number of steps we’re currently taking to prepare for the digital SAT:

  • We’re updating all our training and teaching materials to match the new content and format of the computerized exam
  • We’re rolling out digital practice exams which mimic both the appearance and functionality of the real test
  • We’re applying our experience with other digital exams to offer the best strategies for students
  • We’re keeping on top of new information as it comes out so we can continue to adapt to future changes

To learn more about how we support students preparing for the SAT or other exams, call a director and let us answer any of your questions!


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