You may have heard that it will soon be possible to take the SAT online. It’s true! The SAT will go digital soon, but the Digital SAT won’t become available to all high school students at the same time. So, if you’re wondering, “When will the SAT go digital?,” be forewarned that the answer is different depending on where you are in the world.
So, in this article, we’ll discuss exactly when the SAT will change from a paper test to a digital one for various test-takers. We’ll also answer other common questions about the new SAT format, including whether you can take the SAT at home, use a laptop or tablet for digital testing, still access a paper test, and more.
Here are the topics we’ll cover:
- What Is the Digital SAT?
- When Can I Take the Digital SAT?
- Will Paper-Based Testing Still Be Available?
- Key Takeaways
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What’s Next?
Let’s start by reviewing what the digital SAT is.
What Is the Digital SAT?
The SAT is switching from paper-based testing to digital testing, meaning that the new SAT format will be online, or computer-based.
So, you’ll take the test on a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet. For example, a Chromebook or an iPad will be an acceptable device for taking your SAT. In fact, you will have the option to take the test on a school-owned device or your own device. Furthermore, the device can use either a Windows or Mac operating system.
There are a few restrictions, however, to the new digital platform. For one, you will not be able to take the SAT on a cell phone. Secondly, the SAT will still be available only at designated test centers and high schools, just as the paper test is now. So, you will not be able to take the digital SAT at home. SAT School Day is not going away when the paper test does — it’s just going digital.
Students can take the digital SAT on a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet.
Now that we know how the digital SAT will be administered, let’s discuss when you’ll be able to take the SAT online.
When Can I Take the Digital SAT?
As I alluded to earlier, College Board is not releasing the new SAT format to all high school students simultaneously. Rather, College Board is rolling out digital testing in phases. So, how soon you’ll have access to the SAT online will depend on where you are in the world. Let’s take a look.
High school students outside of the U.S. will be the first who can take the SAT online, starting in March 2023. In fact, international students who want to sit for the first testing date with the digital platform, on March 11, will need to register for their SAT by February 24.
Additional 2023 digital SATs are currently scheduled for May and June. You can see an updated international schedule, with registration deadlines, here.
International students who want to sit for the first-ever digital SAT, on March 11, 2023, must register for the test by February 24, 2023.
High school students within the U.S. will be a year behind international students in terms of when they can access the digital SAT. Digital testing in the U.S. is expected to begin in March 2024.
Currently, it’s expected that the first of the digital tests will be administered in the U.S. in March, May, and June of 2024 — the same schedule as the 2023 international rollout. However, the dates may be subject to change. So, if you’re a U.S. student planning to take the SAT in 2024, track the latest test dates and registration deadlines here.
College Board has scheduled the SAT to go online in the U.S. in March 2024.
Students Taking the PSAT
The SAT isn’t the only test going digital; the PSAT is as well!
In the case of the PSAT, wherever you are in the world, digital testing will be available in the fall of 2023 (expected October 2023). So, whether you’re in the U.S. or in a country outside of the U.S., the next group of students to take the PSAT will take a computer-based test.
Both U.S. and international students will switch to the digital PSAT in fall 2023.
Now, with the SAT going digital, you may be wondering whether paper-based testing will still be an option. Let’s discuss.
Will Paper-Based Testing Still Be Available?
The transition to digital testing means that, once the digital SAT is available in your area, the current paper test no longer will be. In other words, College Board is not simply adding a new testing option for students. Rather, the digital test is replacing the paper SAT.
Nevertheless, College Board wants to make sure that every student who needs access to the SAT has access. So, while the SAT will go digital, paper versions of the test will still be available to students who need them. In fact, College Board has stated that it will maintain the “same range” of test accommodations that it currently offers, some of which are paper-based.
That said, even if you take a paper-based SAT after the digital rollout, you will not take the “old” version of the SAT. Once the digital SAT becomes available in your area, all SAT tests will follow the same structure and contain the same content as the digital test. So, you’ll see the exact same test that students taking the SAT online see, just in paper form.
Paper-based testing will still be available to students who need accommodations.
- In March 2023, SAT test-takers outside of the U.S. will switch to digital testing.
- In March 2024, U.S. students will switch to digital testing.
- Both international and U.S. students taking the PSAT will switch to digital testing in October 2023.
- Students can take the digital SAT on a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet — either a personal device or a school-owned one.
- Students will still be able to request an accommodation to take a paper-based SAT.
- Students will not be able to take the SAT at home. The digital SAT will be administered in schools and test centers only, just as the paper test is now.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is the SAT going digital?
Yes! The SAT is switching from a paper test to a digital platform. So, after the switch, all SAT test-takers except those who need paper-based accommodations will take the test on a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet.
When is the new SAT coming out?
The digital SAT will become available in March 2023 for international students and March 2024 for U.S. students.
Is the SAT on paper or computer in the U.S. in 2023?
The digital SAT rollout in the U.S. will occur in 2024. So, all SATs administered in the U.S. in 2023 will be on paper.
Can the SAT be taken online in the U.S. in 2023?
Students in the U.S. cannot take the SAT online in 2023. Computer-based tests will be available in 2023 only to high school students in countries outside the U.S.
Is the digital SAT easier than the paper test?
Since the test is so new, it’s tough to say whether most students will find the digital SAT easier than the old, paper version.
However, there are several features of the digital SAT that may make the test feel somewhat less strenuous for many students. Here are a few:
- The digital test will be an hour shorter than the current paper test (2 hours instead of 3).
- The digital test will feature fewer questions than the current paper test.
- Reading passages on the digital test will be shorter than those on the current paper test, and there will be only one question associated with each passage.
- On the digital test, students will be allowed to use a calculator for both math sections, rather than just one.
All that said, I would caution any SAT test-takers against assuming that they won’t still have to put in a significant amount of time and effort to properly prepare for the digital SAT. College readiness assessments such as the SAT are designed to challenge students, not be a walk in the park. A new digital format won’t change that fact.
Now that we’ve answered the question, “When is the SAT changing?,” you’re probably wondering what exactly will change on the test. Our guide to the new SAT details all of the differences between the old, paper SAT and the upcoming digital one, including the changes to the math sections and reading and writing sections.
Just beginning your SAT test prep? These 5 steps for success will get you started on the right foot. And check out our article with advice about what SAT scores you may need for college.