2024 : The New Era of the SAT

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is an entry level exam used by most colleges to make choices on admission decisions. It’s a three hour test that has two different sections, one being math and the other focusing on evidence-based reading and writing. Each section is scored on a scale of 200 - 800 points, allowing for a maximum score of 1600 points. In high school, both juniors and seniors have an opportunity to take this exam. The test is completed in a very traditional way; students get put into a classroom with their seat chosen based on their last name and get a scantron. They are only allowed to use #2 pencils, and are provided with two breaks after both units, one being 10 minutes and the other being 5. All electronic devices get collected by your teacher and are given back to you at the end of the test taking time.

In the year 2023, the SAT will become digital for students in other countries, and in 2024 the digital version will be accessible for students in the United States. This exam is also getting shortened in length from a three house period to a two hour period. That means each section will have less questions and readings will be shortened. On the test, there will still be multiple choice sections and the grading Going from paper and pencil to the grading system will still be out of 1600 points. keyboard and screens.

Testing will be at a school or a test center, since some students might not have access to two hours at home with good internet connection and zero interruptions. However, if a student does happen to lose connection to the test for some reason, the test will automatically save whatever work that has been completed and no time will be lost. This new SAT will also be adaptive, meaning it changes based on the students’ answers. According to the National Center for Fair & Open testing, “more than 1,800 U.S. colleges are not requiring a test score for students applying to enroll in fall 2022.” The University of California system completely removed ACT and SAT scores from their admission as of November 2021. CPR News states that more than a dozen states require either the SAT or ACT to graduate from High School.

Should one test define your academic capabilities and possibly prevent you from getting into the school of your dreams? Kirsten Amemastro, a junior at Potomac High School, has something to say about that. "[The test] definitely doesn't offer the full profile of who a student is, it's not like the missing piece, but it can make your application better. It just kind of speaks to what you can accomplish in your testing ability," Amemastro said. With many colleges making these college level entrance exams optional, it begs the question if students should even spend 55 dollars to take this test. Kirsten’s mother says, “even if the test is optional, taking it will be a ‘cherry on top’ of my daughter's application.” The SAT isn’t one of the only tests that has gone electronic. College Board allowed students at the start of the pandemic to take their AP (Advanced Placement) tests online, which let students take their college exams at home. The New York Times took an interview with Christal Wang, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology who took both the paper and pencil SAT and the electronic version. She stated that she enjoyed that the online version had shorter passages in the reading section, and overall took less time to complete. After the test, she said she felt less drained after taking the online SAT due to the shortening of length. Christal stated that it was easier for her to focus more on what the questions were asking as well.

One of the most prestigious schools, Harvard University, claimed that it is also not going to require the SAT or ACT in the next 4 years for their college admissions. With the SAT going digital, will this make it easier for more students to score higher on this exam, or is it even worth taking if most colleges are getting rid of these tests as a requirement?

Story by : Jax Chou