If The Word “SAT” is Stressing You Out – Read This

Catherine Ryan ’24

 The College Board announced noteworthy changes to the SAT in January, including a new digital format. These updates will go into place beginning in 2023 for international students and 2024 for U.S. students. The announced changes include:

  • A two-hour test (instead of three hours)
  • Shorter reading passages, followed by a single question
  •  word problems in the math section
  • The ability for students to use a calculator for all math problems 
  • Quicker test results (days instead of weeks)

 Students will still have to take the test at a school or other testing site, and the test will retain its 1600 point scale.

 College admission offices have moved away from the SAT during the pandemic: it is now optional at more than 76% of four year colleges and universities. The University of California system permanently eliminated the tests altogether. Reacting to these alterations, executive director for FairTest, Bob Schaefer, says that these changes will do nothing to make the test more valid for assessing success in college. 

 Students who have taken the test as part of a pilot program report that the revised format is less stressful. Chistal Wang, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, said, “I definitely preferred that 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.”

 These new tests will dramatically change the college admission process in America. The future is uncertain but should not impact any students applying in the next two years.


Bellini, Douglas. “SAT Changes Will Make Exam Shorter, Simpler and Digital.” The Wall Street Journal, 25 Jan. 25, 2022. https://www.wsj.com/articles/sat-to-go-digital-11643115606


Saul, Stephanie. “Put Down Your No. 2 Pencils. Forever.” The New York Times. 25 Jan. 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/25/us/sat-test-digital.html?smid=url-share