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  Digital SAT vs Paper SAT

May 12, 2024

Responsible for giving a new direction to a student’s career and paving pathways to continue the education, the changes in SAT paper are important to be well understood. With The College Board announcing that the SAT will go completely digital, the new mode comes along with multiple boons for the candidates. The adaptive testing method will be more student-based, the test time will be lower, and many more differences are to be seen. Let’s understand the basic and comparative view of digital SAT vs paper SAT. 

When is the SAT Starting Digitally?

The SAT has been announced to go digital. Candidates taking the test outside the U.S. witnessed their first digital SAT in the spring of 2023. The U.S. nationals will take the exam in digital mode in the spring of 2024. Moreover, candidates can currently practice with the online format through the officially available practice methods. 


What are the Similarities Between Digital and Paper SAT?

We will be counting all the changes experienced in Digital vs Paper SAT Evaluation Criteria, etc., but before that, let’s count the similarities between the two. 

Digital and Paper SAT Evaluation Criteria: There are clear differences between digital SAT and paper SAT, but they have the same aim: to assess the skills and knowledge of the students. The criteria will be critical to evaluate the candidate’s college readiness. 


SAT Scoring: It is a far-fetched assumption that SAT digital vs paper will have different scores to discuss. Actually, both will have the same scores, making both the offline and online scores comparable. It will allow unbiased evaluation of candidates based on their scores, regardless of the mode of exam they take. For each section, the minimum score possible to be gained is 200, and the maximum score possible is 800. Hence, the final minimum score earned by the candidate will be 800, and the final maximum score earned by the candidate will be 1600. 

Test Centers: Whether candidates take the digital or paper SAT, the test centers will be available at the candidate’s convenience. The slots to take the test will be in schools or designated testing centers.  


Accommodations: The College Board is set to offer similar accommodations for the two versions of the SAT, digital and paper. 

Assessment: The math problems will remain both in (and out of context). The reading and writing passages will cover a broad spectrum of subjects and complexity levels.  


Negative Marking: Another common factor concerning digital vs paper SAT is the absence of negative marking for wrong answers. Hence, candidates are free to mark answers based on their guesswork. 

Access to Questions: Both digital and paper SAT ensure access to all the questions every time. Thus, candidates cannot go back to the question once they are marked or skipped. Hover along the complete module. 


The Difference: Digital vs Paper SAT

The basic distinctions of digital SAT vs paper SAT include the following: 

Parameter Digital SAT Paper SAT
Suite Level Changes 
Time Shorter, with a total duration of 2 hours and 14 minutes Longer with a total duration of 3 hours 
Average time per question More available time to handle each question More questions of longer paragraphs consume more time per question
Result availability Within few days Within few weeks 
Recommendations Candidates will be connected to information and resources about local two-year colleges, career options and workforce training programs No such option was available 
Security Higher with the adaptive testing model Required canceling exam for all candidates on the compromise of one test form 
Flexibility Higher for states, schools and districts Comparatively lower 
Number of questions 98154
Adaptive testing Candidates will get questions of all levels in the first module and of specific levels based on their performance in the second module Candidates were given a test with common to all questions 
Section Level Changes 
Reading and writing sectionSingle section Used to be separate reading, writing and language tests 
Length and frequency of questions RW section will have shorter passages encompassing only one questionLonger passengers encompassing multiple questions 
Calculators Digital calculators will be allowed throughout the math section. Additionally, candidates can use their own approved calculator Candidates could use offline calculators 
Features Digital mode will allow access to the digital timer, highlighting, mark for review, and annotation optionNone of this was possible with paper SAT
Mode Requires digital devices such as a laptop or tablet, Internet connection, and Bluebook app to take the test Required pencil and paper to take the test 

Tips to Prepare for Digital SAT

Regardless of the SAT digital vs paper version, the requirement to practice and get familiar with the format persists. Hence, here are some tips to enhance the preparation for digital SAT: 

  1. Revision: The revision should not be kept until the last minute. Also, it does not need to be performed when the overall course is complete. Revision after completion of a certain topic or chapter must be frequently done to keep the terminologies and concepts fresh. 
  2. Practice: Use the question banks and sample papers to familiarize yourself with the format, test environment, and other settings. 
  3. Using the test app: Since the final SAT will be on the app, familiarity with the app and regular login to keep it updated and smoothly running is essential. It helps to avoid last-minute stress before the exam.  


Digital SAT vs Paper SAT difference discusses the two different testing methods that encompass certain similarities as well. Familiarity with those is essential for candidates taking the test for the first time. With SAT going to be digital from spring 2024, the U.S. nationals must read the article thoroughly for details. The international students taking the test for the first time, it stands true for you, too. 

Moreover, if you are looking for assistance or guidance in preparation for the SAT, Turito welcomes you as a premier educational institute. We have AI-integrated teaching methods, flexible online learning modules, and much more, with exceptional results from alumni. Have a visit to explore aspects of your interest. 



What are the flexibilities for students with disabilities? 

The students with disabilities get accommodation in terms of time, reading or seeing text, recording answers, modified settings, and other accommodations. The type of accommodation depends on the candidate’s needs.

Where should I register to take the SAT? 

Click on the link to create an account or sign in with your credentials for registration. 

What will the question format be in the digital SAT? 

The Reading and Writing section will have multiple choice questions with four options. The math section will have both four option multiple choice questions and student-produced responses. 

 Digital SAT vs Paper SAT


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