Rio Americano High School

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Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

SAT Launches Online Exam

Rio students like the new format—but not the shortage of seats at testing sites
SAT Launches Online Exam

Students who took the new SAT on March 9, did not need a pile of No. 2 pencils—three-hour attention span. 

But they may have needed a full tank of gas to get to the exam. 

The college admissions exam is now fully digital and about two hours long instead of three. 

“I took the (online) SAT,” said junior Paulo Tolentino. “It went amazing! However, I never took the written version, making it unfair for me to say whether it was better or not. Nevertheless, I appreciated how this version was an hour shorter, which probably helped me go into each question with a less exasperated mindset.”

Reading passages are shorter on the new exam, with one question following a paragraph rather than about seven questions following a long passage. The new test is also what the College Board calls adaptive, meaning the math and English sections are divided into two parts. The second parts are easier or harder depending on how the student did on the first part.

The new exam will continue to be scored on a 1600-point scale, and the College Board says that students won’t be at a disadvantage if they are given the easier second section.

Students will get their results back much sooner.

Students took the exam on their own personal laptop or one provided by the test site, but they had to test in person. 

With relatively few testing sites and an increase in colleges that are again requiring the test, students had to drive as far away as Chico and San Jose for a testing spot. A problem that doesn’t seem to be improving.

“I’m signed up for (the SAT) in May, and I have to drive three hours to Fresno to take it,” said junior Matteo Reyes. “This is just another example of College Board’s corrupt and monopolistic control over the lives of high school students.” 

The College Board reports that more than 1.9 million students in the high school class of 2023 took the SAT, up from 1.7 million for the class of 2022. 

The increase follows a pandemic-era decline when many universities dropped their test requirements when test centers were closed or went test-optional, following a decade-old trend. The University of California and California State University do not require the SAT or ACT, another standardized test used in college admissions. 

Over 2,000 U.S. colleges and universities do not require test scores for 2024 applicants. But in recent months elite universities such as Yale, Brown and Dartmouth have announced that they will require test scores in future years.

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  • GenevieveApr 14, 2024 at 4:41 PM

    It is very interesting that everything seems to be online now. I prefer paper tests, but I wouldn’t mind an online one.

  • Olivia HuangApr 12, 2024 at 10:11 PM

    With College Board and other testing sites moving towards online exams, I feel like I am living in a digital world. I will miss the paper tests. Even though typing may seem faster and it is easier to correct mistakes, I rather enjoyed marking up papers and flipping pages.
    Although the digital SAT has shorter reading portions, I don’t think this is beneficial. Students should be able to focus their time and energy on one long task. Short reading sections just cater to the fast-paced, but easily distracted mind of teenagers.
    Schools are beginning to require SAT scores again, but I think that they should just be optional. The SAT is only used to gauge your test-taking competence; it does’t really tell schools how well you will do in real life or how successful you will be in college. This just isn’t how the real world works.

  • Daphne PannellApr 12, 2024 at 5:44 PM

    I’m glad that the SAT is going digital. I took the paper SAT back in October, and the digital PSAT right after it, and I liked the digital format a lot more. It’s crazy how hard it is to get signed up for the SAT, I can’t believe that some people have to drive hours away just to take it.

  • KatieApr 12, 2024 at 9:55 AM

    I really wish that the College Board would allow students to choose the method fo testing that they prefer, so many students struggle with paper etsts already and I feel that this issue may be exacerbated by digital tests.

  • Kaser WinnApr 12, 2024 at 9:27 AM

    Great article outlining the SAT changes. It is an interesting choice by the college board but seems to be providing benefits in efficiency and an increase in test takes.

  • Karina BApr 12, 2024 at 9:18 AM

    I took the digital SAT this March and thought it was a pretty good experience, especially since the English passages were pretty short so they didn’t take long to read. The math section for me was much harder, especially the second section, maybe due to the adaptive style. I will say that the sign-up process was very difficult as nearly every spot was taken and I almost had to drive multiple hours just for the test.

  • Grant E.Apr 11, 2024 at 10:52 AM

    I heard about the SAT going digital but I wasn’t sure what it entailed. This article has been very informative about the positives and negatives of the SAT moving online. Although I am not taking the SAT, this has given me new light on a topic I had known little about and has done a great job!

  • Mia GoldenApr 10, 2024 at 8:21 AM

    I took the paper SAT in November and enjoyed the paper format. While I haven’t taken the digital SAT, I’ve heard from my friends that the adaptive nature meant that the math section was very difficult. Even with the paper test, I experienced difficulty signing up for a seat at a testing site. I initially wanted to take the test in August, but couldn’t get a spot at a center near me until November. This just shows how many people want to take the SAT.