The New Digital SAT: Everything You Need to Know 

Bonus Material: PrepMaven’s Digital SAT Diagnostic Test

Beginning in spring 2024, the old SAT paper version will be replaced by the new digital version of the SAT. Students in the U.S. will have to make the switch from the current version if they’re seeking to take the SAT for college admissions (International students began taking the digital SAT in spring 2023.) 

To learn more about what’s on the new digital SAT and what changes are coming, read our article here: The New Digital SAT: Everything We Know So Far About the Big Changes in 2023 and 2024

This new streamlined testing experience will improve the SAT experience for students, but these are definitely uncharted testing territories. If you feel confused and a bit intimidated by this new digital format, don’t worry– you’re not alone. 

We’ve helped hundreds of students improve their SAT scores and gain admissions to their dream schools. While the new testing format might seem a little scary, we’re here to help!

In this article, we’ll help you figure out how to understand this new digital testing format, and how to create a strategic preparation guide so that you rock the SAT on test day. 

Below, you can download our full diagnostic for the Digital SAT, so that you can test your knowledge of all the key concepts with real sample questions!


How can you prepare for the new digital SAT? 

The one issue many students may come across in their preparation for the new digital SAT is that there limited preparation materials compared to the old SAT. Because the test is brand new, there are fewer resources in print or online. That means that it might be difficult to use as many relevant preparation materials. 

So what should you do? 

Fortunately, many of the same skills you’d use to prepare for any standardized test will apply here too! Since the new SAT is still just a type of standardized test, we suggest working on building your testing skills, such as learning process of elimination, how to use the multiple choice format to your advantage, and other important standardized testing skills. 

In addition to standardized testing skills, continue to work on building proficiencies that will help you on the SAT, such as vocabulary and reading skills. 

You can also use some earlier SAT materials as appropriate, and as many of the online materials currently offered as possible. Since the math section will stay mostly the same, feel free to use older SAT materials, such as earlier versions of prep books that address the 2016 to 2023 version of the SAT. 

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the test is to get to know the test. Download our full guide to the new digital SAT to understand the format of the test, what kind of questions you’ll see, and how to approach this uncharted testing territory. 

What else can you do to prepare for the new digital SAT?  


Determine what resources are available to you. 

As we mentioned, the math section will stay mostly the same; therefore, any old prep materials you have from previous tests will likely stay relevant. 

However, what about the other skills tested on the SAT?  Try using a vocabulary builder to work on your vocab. Try Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder or an SAT Vocab builder app. Build your skills in reading comprehension by reading newspapers, online articles, and books. Try to read about a variety of science and humanities topics to prepare for the types of passages you’ll see on the SAT. 

It will also be important to take regular diagnostic tests to both measure your progress and also familiarize yourself with the test as well as the question types that will appear on the test. Fortunately, the College Board has released official materials to help you prepare for the new digital SAT. For example, the College Board offers a number of practice tests on their website.

The College Board has also partnered with Khan Academy to offer digital SAT practice with practice questions covering all topics on the SAT. 

Do as much practice as possible, paying close attention to the new digital format. Explore Bluebook, the testing app the College Board will utilize for the digital SAT. Becoming familiar with this app prior to your test date is key. 

Additionally, The Official Digital SAT Study Guide (Official Digital Study Guide) is available for purchase (though we recommend doing the practice tests in the Bluebook app, rather than using these printed versions). 


Know what skills you’ll be tested on. 

As with other standardized tests, the new digital SAT will test a finite number of topics. Use the predictability of the test to your advantage when building your prep plan! If you can master the topics on the digital SAT, then you can master the test. 

The Reading and Writing modules will test: 

  • Information and Ideas
  • Craft and Structure
  • Expression of Ideas
  • Standard English Conventions

Reading regularly, especially newspapers and articles, and using both official prep resources and the Khan Academy prep materials will help you build important reading and language skills that will appear on the digital SAT.  

The Math modules will test: 

  • Algebra
  • Advanced Math 
  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis
  • Geometry and Trigonometry

The good news is, the math module will no longer test reading skills through lengthy or complex word problems.

Want to learn more about what will be expected of you on the new digital SAT? Download our full sample Diagnostic for the Digital SAT below. It’ll help you practice all the key question types on the official SAT!


Building your strategic prep plan for the new digital SAT 

First, start your prep early: make sure to leave yourself at least three months of prep time. Some students elect to start an entire year ahead of time to prep for the SAT. 

Set concrete goals. Decide what your overall score goals are and how you will reach those goals. Sometimes students find engaging prep services or a private tutor can help them determine the right goals for themselves and build a plan to reach those goals. Do you want help reaching your SAT score goals? Reach out to us to find out how one of our private tutors can help. 

Start with a diagnostic test. This will help you set your goals and decide your target score. Regular practice exams will help you measure if you’re progressing towards your goal score. With the new digital format of the SAT, taking regular exams to familiarize yourself with the new format will be especially important. 

Target your weaknesses. Don’t waste time working on things you’re already good at! Work diligently on the specific skills that you need help on, and again, use the predictability of the exam to help you maximize your score. The College Board offers a suite of skill assessments so you can target specific skills you’ll need on the SAT, and practice them accordingly. 

Reach out for help. Many students elect to take preparatory courses or seek the services of a private tutor to help them create a strategic study plan and to have someone assist them with homework assignments. A private tutor can help you target the areas where you need the most help and address those areas accordingly. 


Build important standardized testing skills 

While the format and content on the new digital SAT will be different from other years, your approach to testing should be the same. Whether you’re taking the SAT, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT, the same skills to maximize your standardized test scores still apply. Therefore, don’t be intimidated by the fact that the digital SAT is “new”—you can still build these testing skills to have in any testing situation. 

Read every question thoroughly. Make sure you know exactly what the question is asking, and that the answer you choose is answering the question being asked!

Do the test in any order. Do the test in whatever order you want– you do not need to answer each question in the section in exact order. Skip any questions that seem too difficult at the moment, and go back to them after you’ve answered easier ones. 

Something that’s great about the new digital SAT: it allows you to skip questions and bookmark them, which means you can easily return to difficult questions later. This also means you’re less likely to forget to answer a question. 

Use the process of elimination. Narrow down your choices if you need to guess on a question. Since there’s no wrong answer penalty for incorrect answers on the SAT, you should answer every single question, even if you guess. The new test even has a feature where you can cross out improbable answers in real time!

Remember that the only goal is getting the right answer. Don’t feel as though you need to do the test as if it were a school assignment—use the multiple choice format to your advantage, take shortcuts, and use whatever “tricks” you need to get to the right answer. Since no one will review your work besides what letter you choose for the multiple choice questions, it doesn’t matter how you get to your answer, as long as it’s accurate!

Reach out to an expert. Our private tutors are experts in standardized testing technique, and can help you learn the important skills you need to ace any standardized test. Consider reaching out so that you can learn the tips and tricks you need to conquer any standardized test, especially the new digital SAT. 


Use the new tools the digital SAT provides to your advantage

While a new SAT sounds intimidating, this new digital exam actually offers a lot of great tools to help students succeed on the test. You should use all these tools to your advantage, and get to know the new suite of tools available to you as you’re prepping for the test. 

In the math module, you can take notes or run calculations using the online notepad. You’ll also be provided a built-in calculator for the entire test, which is a change from the old SAT—use the Desmos Calculator to solve problems (unless you prefer using your own approved calculator). You’ll also be able to quickly reference math formulas you’ll be expected to use in the math module by clicking the reference icon. 

In the reading and writing module, you’ll have the ability to annotate your reading passages or take notes. Use this to highlight important information or match the information from the passage to the question. This way you can highlight the text that proves your answer, helping you to be more confident that you’ve made the right answer choice. 

The new digital SAT will include an optional countdown clock, too, which can help you to keep track of how much time you have left in each section. This can help you to either speed up or slow down your pace on the test depending on how much time you have left. This is a great resource to help you pace out the test for yourself. 


Next Steps

The new digital SAT is uncharted territory for all the students who will need to take this new digital format of the test for their future college admissions. Fortunately, by using buildable standardized testing skills and getting to know the new digital format, you can rock the SAT on testing day just the same as if you were taking the paper test. 

Want to know what companies offer the best SAT Tutoring? Check out our expert-reviewed list of the 15 best SAT Tutoring Services!

One of our highly skilled private tutors can make sure you not only are ready with all the standardized testing skills you need, but will help you create a strategic prep plan to target any areas of weakness, while keeping you accountable with regular SAT practice, homework assignments, and a study plan. Get the help you need for the new digital SAT by reaching out today to learn how one of our private tutors can help you maximize your SAT score. 

Want to learn everything you need to know about the new digital testing format? Make sure to download our FREE guide to the new digital SAT here!


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Alexis

Alexis graduated from Princeton University and holds a Masters in Music from Mannes College. She was a Fulbright scholar to Austria and a research fellow at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. She is enrolled in a doctoral program at City University New York, where she is on a prestigious Five-Year Fellowship. She has over a decade of subject tutoring and test prep (SSAT / ISEE / SAT / ACT) experience.