How To Prepare For The New Digital SAT

The SAT is a standardized test that has been around for nearly 100 years. Any adjustments to the test may change the way students and educators prepare. That’s one reason why the shift to the digital SAT is so significant. But what are the most important things to know about this format?

In this post, we’ll explore what’s different about the digital SAT. Plus, we’ll cover how to prepare for the SAT and how high-impact tutoring can help students get better results. 

3 Key Considerations To Prepare for the SAT

While it takes on a new format, the new SAT has largely the same material — with the general sections of Reading, Writing & Math remaining largely unchanged. This means that most of the tried-and-true SAT preparation strategies will still apply. However, there are a few key adjustments to be aware of.

1. Elimination of paper answer sheets

When taking the digital SAT, students interact with questions directly on the screen. This means some test-taking strategies are no longer applicable. For example, you won't be able to physically underline keywords, jot cues, or mark questions as you move through the test, as papers of any kind, including scratch paper, are still on the prohibited items list.

Instead, students will have to use the “Annotate” feature to highlight parts of the text and jot down notes for themselves digitally. They can also use a tool called the “Option Eliminator.” This tool enables students to cross out any answer they want to eliminate.

2. Differences in administration & accommodations

The digital format obviously changes the way the SAT is administered. Students will use a new testing application called Bluebook instead of pencil and paper.

Another thing to note is that some accommodations are administered differently on digital tests than on paper and pencil tests. For example, students who've been approved to use a human reader on paper tests may use a screen reader for digital tests. Some SAT accommodations will no longer be needed. For example, the zoom tool that is available to all students makes large print accommodations unnecessary.

All students will have access to the following:

  • Testing Timer
  • Calculator
  • Reference Sheet
  • Mark for Review
  • Line Reader
  • Question Menu
  • Zoom
  • Color Contrast

See how all approved accommodations will be administered on digital tests here

3. Increased need for digital literacy

While it's easy to assume that today's students all have high digital literacy skills, that's unfortunately not the case. According to research, some students have been left behind, with 30% of K-12 students lacking adequate internet or devices. Many of these learners lack access to both. 

Students need digital literacy to perform well on digital tests, especially on tests that are timed. Taking it a step further, students must get to know Bluebook's digital interface for the best possible performance on the digital SAT. This includes everything from understanding how to navigate between questions to using on-screen tools. Working with students on these digital skills can help alleviate test anxiety and boost confidence.

Learn more in The New Digital SAT: Here’s What To Expect

How To Improve Your SAT Score: 5 Effective Preparation Strategies  

How should students prepare for the digital SAT? It demands a strategic approach. Explore these effective digital SAT preparation strategies to maximize the chances of success in this new format.

1. Start early: Establishing a timeline

The key to getting enough review and practice is starting the SAT prep journey early. Designate specific periods for studying each SAT section to ensure there's time to cover all topics and leave extra study time to address knowledge gaps that pop up during reviews. 

2. Create a study schedule: Succeeding with time management 

A well-structured study schedule is a cornerstone of effective SAT preparation. By setting up and adhering to dedicated time slots for SAT study sessions, you can ensure a balanced and thorough coverage of all sections. Consider using planners or apps to organize your study schedules, as they can be invaluable tools in your preparation journey.

Remember to be realistic when setting up this schedule. Students will need to consider existing commitments and responsibilities. It’s important to block out time for breaks as well.

Scientific research has shown that taking short breaks can be beneficial for learning. During these breaks, our brains replay compressed memories of what was just practiced, aiding in the learning process.

3. Answering practice questions: Knowing the SAT question types

Incorporating practice questions reinforces understanding and can help to sharpen critical thinking skills. By working through different question types, students can find strategies that work best for them.

The first module of each section in the digital SAT contains a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Based on how students perform in the first module, the second module of questions will either be more difficult or less difficult. It's important to include all difficulty levels in the mix of practice questions.

FEV Tutor offers specialized test prep sessions designed for 10th and 11th graders preparing for the SAT. These sessions provide students with targeted instruction with SAT-specific content and strategies. Test prep sessions like these equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to score well.

4. Set a score goal

Setting a target SAT score is an important step in the preparation process. This goal is a motivating factor. It also provides a clear benchmark to work towards. That said, it's crucial to set an attainable score goal. This should be based on a student's academic profile and future plans.

Start by researching the SAT score ranges for colleges. Most schools provide this information on their websites or in admissions materials. Consider factors like current academic performance and the amount of preparation the student will put in.

According to the College Board, the average SAT score is around 1050. Any score above that would be above average. A score of 1350 would put students in the top 10% of test takers and help make their application competitive at more selective schools.

With a clear target in mind, students can stay motivated throughout digital SAT preparation. This increases their chances of getting the score they want.

5. Take practice exams: getting used to the digital SAT

Practice exams serve a few purposes. First, they make it easier to understand the testing environment and get familiar with the format. Practice exams also help to prepare for the pace of the test itself. Lastly, they serve as a way to evaluate student readiness.

Practice exams can be taken at different stages of the preparation process. For example, students may take their first practice test in their Sophomore year to assess where they're at and how ready they are. If they don’t attain their desired score, the results serve as a guide for continued practice.

Four full-length digital adaptive test forms are available through Bluebook™, College Board’s test delivery platform. Use this resource to take practice tests 1–4 using the same interface, format, and scoring as the digital SAT.

With effective preparation strategies, it’s possible to navigate the challenges of the digital SAT. This may move students closer to achieving the best possible score. However, success on the SAT is not solely determined by time spent practicing. Knowledge gaps must be identified and addressed as well.

Maximizing Classroom Learning for SAT Prep

The classroom is one of the best places for gaining knowledge and refining skills. Here’s how to take advantage of the academic environment to prepare for the digital SAT. 

Paying attention in class: The importance of active participation

Active engagement makes all the difference in learning outcomes. Listening and asking questions allows students to get more out of the material being taught. It also makes students aware of when they may need extra help. 

However, students who are already behind are much less likely to actively engage with class material. That's why it's so important to intervene early and help at-risk students close their learning gaps. Otherwise, they're likely to fall more and more behind.

Targeting students' learning gaps is at the center of FEV Tutor’s approach. We start by identifying areas of weakness for the student. Then, FEV Tutor creates customized learning pathways tailored to each student's unique needs. 

Through one-on-one tutoring sessions delivered in realtime, students receive personalized instruction and support. This targeted approach helps close students' learning gaps, leading to better performance in the classroom and beyond. 

Tips for the SAT: Strategies for Effective Learning

  1. Take notes: Capturing important details from lectures and discussions can reinforce understanding. It also provides a valuable resource for review. Students should develop an effective note-taking system that works for their learning style.

  2. Review material: Consistent review and repetition are crucial for retaining information. Set aside dedicated times to go over notes, practice problems, and essential concepts covered in class. 

  3. Seek clarification: It's important to ask for help with difficult concepts.  Engaging with instructors or forming study groups with classmates can help students master tricky problems or concepts.

  4. Use supplementary resources: Online tutorials and educational platforms can provide additional support. With supplementary tools, students can get reinforcement for the material covered in class. They can use these resources to get alternative explanations and enhance understanding.

  5. Connect ideas: Look for opportunities to draw connections between all the new concepts. This can improve comprehension. For example, in a language arts class, students may consider reasoning and evidence in the text. Analyzing this material may help them prepare for the reading and writing sections of the digital SAT.

Ready To Start Preparing for the Digital SAT?

The shift to digital doesn’t start with the test itself. Using technology to prepare for the digital SAT can enhance learning outcomes and improve test performance. 

Through FEV Tutor, students can access personalized tutoring and specialized test prep sessions — all tailored to their individual needs and learning styles.

High-impact tutoring is an essential strategy for closing learning gaps and promoting education equity. It also accelerates growth in student performance.

See how we can implement high-impact tutoring to empower your students’ success.