How to Study for the Digital SAT: A Step-by-Step Guide

It's important to study for the digital SAT to understand the test.

The SAT is an entrance exam that colleges and universities in the US use as part of the college applicant admissions process. While the exam has been administered in a traditional pen-and-paper format in the past, it’s soon going to change! The College Board is making the SAT fully digital starting next year. The digital SAT will be shorter, adaptive, and easy to administer. In this post, we’ll go into how to study for the digital SAT. You can also check out our previous guide to the digital SAT, which gives you a rundown of everything you need to know.

When will the SAT go digital?

The new digital SAT will launch in the United States in March 2024. Before that, the PSAT will become digital in the fall of 2023.

Girl preparing to study for the digital SAT.
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Overview of the digital SAT: What to expect during the exam

Based on the information available, the following information will help you prepare strategies for the SAT:

The order of the sections in the test is:

  1. Reading and Writing Stage 1
  2. Reading and Writing Stage 2
  3. Math Stage 1
  4. Math Stage 2.

Once you complete Stage 1 in each topic, questions for Stage 2 may change based on your performance. Also, in each stage, there are two unscored questions. Even if you get them right, the marks are not considered for the final score.

Tools within the test

There are several tools that the digital SAT format offers you. You have a timer on the screen to pace yourself and know how long you have left in each section. An alert will pop up five minutes before closing time. Once the time is up, the test will close.

Additionally, you can flag questions and return to them later for review. You can also see any questions you have flagged and those you have not yet attempted. This will help you plan how to complete the test. Of course, you can always return to a question and complete it later.

Finally, the Reading and Writing questions have options to annotate and highlight text. A formula sheet and a digital calculator are available for the Math questions. You can even bring your own calculator.

The SAT Math topics cover Algebra, Advanced Math, Problem Solving, Data Analysis, Geometry & Trigonometry. In addition, all the current SAT topics are included in the digital SAT.

More frequently asked questions about the digital SAT

How do you take the digital SAT?

You can take the SAT digitally through an app from the College Board.

How long is the new digital SAT?

The test duration is reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours and 14 minutes.

What is different between the digital SAT and paper SAT?

Well, a big difference is that the digital SAT is an adaptive test. This means that the difficulty levels of the questions in the second stage depend on how you performed in the first stage.

There are two sections. One is ‘Reading and Writing,’ and the other is ‘Math.’ Both sections have two stages. Compared to the traditional SAT, there are also fewer questions on the digital SAT, meaning it will be shorter!

Is the scoring the same?

Like before, the total score is 400-1600. But, again, there are no subscores like there were on the paper SAT.

When do digital SAT scores come out?

The College Board has said that digital SAT scores will come out within days! This is a much faster release than the traditional SAT.

Where can you take the digital SAT?

Students have to take the exam at school or a test center.

Are accommodations the same?

All existing accommodations will be maintained. Visually impaired students or those needing Braille accommodations can still take the paper test.

How to make the most of online digital SAT resources

Students learning how to study for the digital SAT.
Image by Freepik

A variety of online resources (like these budget-friendly hidden gems) are available to help you prepare for the SAT. SAT prep materials are available online, including material for the new digital SAT. Use this material to prep for the SAT. Here is an overview of various prep materials available online:

  1. College Board: The College Board’s website is helpful to help you study for the digital SAT exam. You can take the SAT practice test if you want a good SAT score. SAT prep is easy when you follow the test strategies mentioned on the website.
  2. Bluebook App: Download and install the Bluebook app on your mobile or other device. You can use this device to prepare for the digital SAT.
  3. Khan Academy: Full-length SAT practice tests are available on Khan Academy. Videos, booklets, and other prep materials are available to help you study for the digital SAT exam.
  4. Princeton Review: Use this site to get online practice. You will also get a personalized report with tips on improving your performance.
  5. Kaplan: You can get a question of the day for each day to help you with your SAT prep. Also, take the turbo test to prepare for the actual test.
  6. Spark Notes: This app has various tests on different topics to help you prepare for the SAT exam.
  7. Powerscore: You can take practice tests on this website. Various Prep materials are available to help you in your preparation.
  8. Reddit: The popular online community Reddit has a mega thread with many resources for the digital SAT. Use these resources for your SAT prep.

Tips for taking practice digital SAT tests

Practice makes perfect. You should take multiple SAT practice tests to do well on the new digital SAT. Taking practice tests helps you prepare and gives you the confidence to do well in the SAT exam. Here are some valuable tips for taking practice tests:

  • Take as many practice tests as you can. Each time you take a test, you will feel more confident.
  • Review the answers and go through the performance report (where available). Try to find out where you went wrong for every test you take. Then, use the feedback to improve.
  • Understand your mistakes in order to see how to improve.
  • While attempting to read questions, look for the context. Also, contrasting words like ‘however’ or ‘still’ can change the meaning of a sentence. Read closely to understand each sentence.
  • While reading passages, first skim-read the passage once. It will help you understand what it is all about. Then read the passage slowly.
  • Look for evidence in the passage to choose the correct answers.
  • When you finish math questions, look at the explanation to understand if you got the answer right.
  • Plan the test so you have time to double-check the answers.

Work with a tutor to study for the digital SAT

There are two ways to study for the digital SAT.

One is self-study, where you use books and online resources to prepare for the exam.

The other is to get the help of a tutor. Studying on your own is an excellent way to learn. But what if you don’t understand something? That’s where a tutor is helpful. Tutors are experienced and knowledgeable about the exam and its content!

When you work with qualified tutors like the ones on Lessonpal, you can get a great tutor to help you prepare for the digital SAT. Your tutor can help you with the entire exam, certain sections, or even specific types of questions. In addition, a good tutor can help you organize a study schedule to help you prepare in the best way possible. You can find a tutor today from Lessonpal and get started with your preparation.

Strategies to overcome testing nerves

Feeling tense and anxious before an important test like the digital SAT is natural. When you go to take it, try to be calm and relaxed so your stress doesn’t affect your score. The following strategies will help you deal with stress:

  1. Make a study calendar. Solid preparation will make you more confident.
  2. Practice a lot. Taking practice tests for a test like the SAT will make you feel more secure and ready for the big day.
  3. Sleep well the night before the exam. Getting sufficient rest is crucial to be alert and sharp.
  4. Eat a nutritious breakfast to give you the energy you need for the day.
  5. Leave home early so you reach the test venue with plenty of time.
  6. Don’t worry if you run into a question you can’t answer immediately. Leave it and come back to it later.
  7. Take deep breaths if you feel tense. It will help you feel calm.

The big picture

All in all, if you follow the above suggestions and make sure to study well ahead of your test date, you’ll be prepared to do well on the digital SAT.

While the structure is changing, the difficulty is not. So, don’t be intimidated! Take multiple practice tests and a deep breath.

Plus, if you need more support as you prepare for the test, Lessonpal SAT tutors are available to help!

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