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Boost Your SAT Score: Unleash Success with Expert Tips! Get Inside Scoop on Test Structure, Format, and Acing Strategies

May 7, 2024

The digital revolution has reached the SAT shores, ushering in a new era of test-taking. As a test-taker, you will be guided through the exciting changes in the new digital SAT format. Get ready to explore key differences, understand the tools at your disposal, and uncover essential tips for conquering this digital frontier.

Key differences in the new digital SAT format

In this new digital age, the SAT is undergoing a transformation. Here are the key differences that you need to know:

Computers are replacing pencil and paper

You'll say goodbye to the traditional pencil-and-paper setup and navigate the digital SAT on a computer screen. This shift brings both challenges and advantages, as you'll interact with questions in a whole new way.

Calculator use

As a test-taker, you have a long-time trusted ally in the calculator. However, the digital SAT offers a unique twist in the form of an onscreen calculator. This calculator is not just any calculator, but rather a sleek and efficient tool that seamlessly integrates into your test-taking experience. The onscreen calculator is designed to help you tackle math problems with ease, providing quick and accurate answers to complex calculations that would otherwise be time-consuming. In addition, the onscreen calculator is equipped with a variety of functions that allow for more advanced calculations, making it an invaluable tool for you as you take the SAT. With the onscreen calculator, you can approach math problems with confidence, knowing that you have a powerful tool at your disposal to help you succeed.

The test will now adapt to you

Here's where the digital format truly shines. The new SAT adapts to your performance, tailoring the questions to match your skill level. The better you perform, the more challenging the questions become. It's like having a personalized test experience that zeroes in on your strengths and stretches your abilities.

A shorter test

It's important to note that the digital version of the SAT has been streamlined, which means that there are fewer questions to answer. This can be beneficial for you, as the test is now around two hours rather than three, but it also means that each question carries more weight and should be approached with greater care. Therefore, it's crucial for you to focus on both accuracy and efficiency when answering questions on the digital SAT. You can achieve this by practicing time management skills and developing effective test-taking strategies, such as identifying key words and phrases in the questions and using process of elimination to narrow down answer choices.

You’ll get your scores back sooner

Instead of waiting weeks for your SAT results, you can now receive them within days. One of the most notable advantages of this era is the ability to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. The digital SAT, for instance, is a perfect example of how technology has made our lives easier. Unlike traditional SATs, the digital version offers a faster experience, enabling you to receive your scores in record time. This not only saves time but also allows you to plan your next steps with greater confidence, knowing your academic standing. Moreover, the digital age has made it possible to access a wide range of online resources that can help you prepare for exams like the SAT. With the plethora of study materials available on the internet, you can now supplement your traditional study methods with online resources, making for a more comprehensive and holistic learning experience.

Increased security

The testing system has been designed to ensure that your scores reflect your true abilities, without any external factors affecting the results. The digital format used is both convenient and secure, with measures in place to maintain the integrity of the test. You can rest assured that your test scores will be accurate and reliable, giving you a clear understanding of your abilities and strengths.

The content and timing of the digital SAT

Now that you're acquainted with the main differences, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of the digital SAT's content and timing:

The reading and writing section

This section is crucial in providing you with a comprehensive understanding of language and communication. You will be given a total of 64 minutes to complete this section, which consists of two reading and writing modules. As you engage with the reading passages and respond to the questions, you will have the opportunity to test and strengthen your comprehension, analysis, and editing skills. Moreover, the digital format of this section amplifies your experience, enabling you to highlight crucial details, underline important concepts, and even jot down notes directly on the screen. With this enhanced level of interactivity, you can more effectively engage with the material and retain a deeper understanding of the content.

The math section

The exam will largely focus on numbers and equations, requiring you to demonstrate your understanding of a wide range of mathematical concepts. In addition to traditional multiple-choice questions, you can also expect to see grid-in questions that will challenge your problem-solving abilities. However, don't worry - the digital platform comes equipped with various tools to aid in your calculations and streamline the process of arriving at solutions. This section also comprises of two modules, and each module lasts 35 minutes, with there no longer being a no calculator section, as calculators are allowed for the entirety of the exam.

What will the digital SAT format look like?

You might wonder how this digital transformation will manifest on your screen. Fear not – the new SAT format is designed with user-friendliness in mind:

Tools featured in the new SAT

  • The Desmos onscreen calculator: Your trusty calculator now lives on the screen. It's versatile, intuitive, and seamlessly integrated into the test.
  • The online notepad: Juggling ideas? Use the online notepad to jot down thoughts, sketch diagrams, or outline your essay. It's your digital canvas for brainstorming.
  • The countdown clock: Time is of the essence. Keep track of the ticking clock and manage your pace effectively.
  • Mark-for-review and strikethrough tools: Flag questions for later review or strike through answer choices you want to eliminate. It's a digital toolkit for strategic thinking.
  • A math reference popout: Stuck on a math concept? The popout reference guide is your instant lifeline, providing formulas and definitions at your fingertips.

How does the adaptive format work?

Let's demystify the adaptive format, shall we? Here's how it unfolds:

  • Start strong: You kick off with a question of moderate difficulty.
  • Show your skills: Based on your response, the test adapts. If you ace it, brace yourself for a tougher challenge. Struggle a bit? You'll get a slightly easier question.
  • Build momentum: As you continue, the test hones in on your skill level, ensuring an engaging and personalized experience.

Tips for taking the digital SAT

Navigating the digital SAT requires finesse. Here are tips to help you shine:

A student surrounded by stack of papers, studying practice questions, with bookcases in background
Using practice tests to practice the SAT can help you find your weaknesses quicker

Use practice tests to prepare

One of the best ways to prepare for a digital test is to practice as much as possible. Taking official practice tests can help you get familiar with the digital interface and the types of questions you may encounter. This way, you can build confidence and fine-tune your digital test-taking skills. In addition, practice tests can help you identify areas where you may need extra help, so you can focus your study efforts more effectively. Plus, taking practice tests can help you get into a routine and develop good test-taking habits, such as managing your time wisely and staying calm under pressure. So, make sure to take advantage of practice tests as much as possible to maximize your chances of success on test day!

Focus on working swiftly but accurately

Effective time management is a crucial aspect of achieving your goals. In order to achieve a balance between speed and accuracy, it is important to prioritize your tasks and allocate your time accordingly. Digital tools can be incredibly useful in streamlining your work processes, but be sure not to rely on them too heavily at the expense of precision. Remember, taking the time to double-check your work and ensure that it is accurate will ultimately save you time and prevent errors down the line. By striking a balance between efficiency and attention to detail, you can maximize your productivity and achieve success in all of your endeavors.

Use the embedded tools

In order to maximize your productivity and efficiency, it is important to take advantage of all the resources available to you. One such resource is the suite of built-in tools that come with your device, including the onscreen calculator and notepad. By utilizing these tools, you can enhance your problem-solving and note-taking process, ultimately leading to more effective and efficient work. Additionally, exploring other available features such as voice-to-text and multi-tasking capabilities can further optimize your workflow and increase your output. Don't limit yourself to the basics - take the time to explore and master all the tools at your disposal.

Use the process of elimination

When faced with uncertainty during a test, it is recommended to eliminate unlikely answer choices. One useful technique is to use the strike-through tool to visually cross out options that are unlikely to be correct. This approach can help narrow down your choices and increase your chances of selecting the correct answer. Moreover, it helps to reduce the time spent on each question by ruling out clearly inappropriate choices, thus allowing more time to be spent on the remaining options. Additionally, by eliminating non-viable answers, you can also avoid being swayed by distracting or tempting choices that may lead to incorrect answers. Therefore, using the strike-through tool to eliminate implausible answer choices can be a valuable strategy for achieving better results on exams.

Double-check your work

The digital format provides you with a great opportunity to review your answers with ease. You can take advantage of this by going over your responses carefully before submitting your work. This is especially important since it helps to ensure that you haven't missed any crucial information. Additionally, reviewing your answers can help you to identify any errors or mistakes that you may have made, giving you the chance to correct them before you submit your work. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take the time to carefully review your answers before submitting them.

What’s next?

The digital SAT format has presented a new frontier for test-takers, and it is understandable to feel apprehensive about the changes. However, there are many tools available to help you conquer this innovative test-taking experience. Alongside embracing the changes, it is important to put in the necessary practice and preparation to adapt to the new format. With this in mind, it is recommended to take advantage of the practice tests and online resources available to help you build your confidence and refine your skills. Additionally, it is crucial to remain adaptable and open-minded to the changes in the test format as they may require you to adjust your approach. Remember, practice, preparation, and adaptability can be your strongest allies in tackling the digital SAT format.


1. How do I prepare for the digital SAT?

Preparing for the digital SAT requires a strategic approach to ensure success in the new format. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the preparation process:

  • Familiarize yourself with the digital interface: Take advantage of official SAT practice tests available online. These tests will expose you to the digital format, tools, and features, helping you become comfortable with the new test-taking environment.
  • Practice time management: The digital SAT comes with embedded tools like an onscreen calculator and notepad. Practice using these tools efficiently to save time during the test. Develop a time management strategy that allows you to allocate sufficient time to each section while maximizing your use of the available tools.
  • Utilize official SAT resources: College Board provides official practice tests and study materials specifically designed for the digital SAT. Work through these resources to familiarize yourself with the types of questions and content you'll encounter on the test.
  • Adapt your study strategies: Since the digital SAT offers unique features like highlighting and note-taking, adapt your study strategies accordingly. Practice annotating and organizing information on the screen to improve your comprehension and problem-solving skills.
  • Simulate test conditions: To replicate the test-day experience, take practice tests under timed conditions. Mimic the actual testing environment as closely as possible to build your stamina and test-taking endurance.
  • Seek additional resources: Supplement your preparation with reputable SAT prep books, online tutorials, and educational platforms. Utilize Khan Academy's resources for targeted content review and practice.
  • Stay consistent and confident: Consistency is key. Create a study schedule that suits your routine and stick to it. Maintain a positive mindset, stay confident, and believe in your ability to adapt to the digital format.

2. What are the 3 essential SAT taking tips and strategies?

Mastering the SAT requires a combination of effective strategies and techniques. Here are three essential tips to help you excel on test day:

  • Pace yourself: Time management is crucial. Each section has a designated time limit, so allocate your time wisely. If you encounter a challenging question, consider moving on and returning to it later. Prioritize questions that you can answer confidently and efficiently.
  • Utilize process of elimination: When faced with multiple-choice questions, use the process of elimination to narrow down your options. Cross out answer choices that are clearly incorrect. This increases your chances of selecting the correct answer and saves valuable time.
  • Read carefully and analyze: Reading comprehension is a key skill. Take your time to carefully read passages and questions. Underline or highlight important details to aid your understanding. For math problems, identify the given information and determine the steps needed to solve the problem before proceeding.

3. Is digital SAT easier?

The difficulty level of the digital SAT is comparable to the traditional paper-and-pencil format. However, the digital format introduces new tools and features that can enhance your test-taking experience and potentially improve your performance. While the overall content and question types remain consistent, the digital format offers benefits such as the onscreen calculator, highlighting, and note-taking features.

It's important to note that the perceived difficulty of the test can vary from individual to individual. Some students may find the digital format more intuitive and engaging, while others might need time to adjust to the new interface. With proper preparation, practice, and familiarity with the digital tools, you can perform just as well on the digital SAT as on the traditional format. Remember, practice and familiarity are key factors in achieving success on the digital SAT.


In the realm of education's digital evolution, the SAT has undergone a profound change, and you've embarked on a guided expedition through its uncharted territories. You've ventured into the heart of the new digital SAT format, unraveling its intricacies and embracing its novel features. Shifting from paper to screen brings forth challenges and opportunities, marking the dawn of a new era in test-taking.

As you embark on your SAT journey, consider joining Aha, a dynamic learning website with a plethora of quality sample questions. Aha harnesses the power of AI to analyze your strengths and weaknesses, providing tailored insights that guide your preparation. Don't miss this opportunity to unlock your full potential and thrive in the digital SAT era. Sign up for Aha today and take your test preparation to the next level!

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