The New Digital, Adaptive SAT

October 1, 2022

In early 2022, The College Board announced plans to shift the SAT to a computer-based format. The pencil-and-paper version will be retired and students will eventually only be able to take the test digitally (unless they need accommodations that require a physical version of the test). Moreover, the new SAT will be adaptive — the content of the test will adjust according to each student’s performance within the first module.


For U.S. students, the class of 2025 will be the first group to take the digital SAT. The new test will be available in spring 2024, when these students are halfway through their junior year. 

For international students, the shift comes earlier. Students taking the SAT internationally will be given the digital test starting in spring 2023.

Test dates are expected to stay within the same timeframes.


The new SAT will be shorter while maintaining its scoring accuracy, thanks to the benefits of the adaptive test structure. The new SAT will be 2 hours and 14 minutes long, significantly shorter than the current test length of 3 hours.

Reading passages will be much shorter. Instead of passages up to 750 words long, as seen in the current test, the new SAT’s reading passages will be no more than 150 words long. Each of these short passages will include only a single question.

Specs were recently released by the College Board. 


Content and scoring will remain the same. The fundamental knowledge needed for the current test will still apply. Also, the new SAT will retain the familiar 1600-point scale. Any score on the current SAT should represent the same level of skill as the same score on the new SAT. According to the College Board, the two tests will be fully aligned. Concordance between the SAT and ACT will be unaffected.


An adaptive test evolves in response to a student’s performance. Whereas the current SAT is static, with each student receiving the same test form, the new SAT will be able to adjust the difficulty of test content to best suit each student’s skill level.

The Math portion and the Reading & Writing portion of the new SAT will each be divided into two modules. The first module will contain a wide range of difficulty among the questions. Based on each student’s performance on the first module, the second module will offer targeted, customized content. This adaptive structure allows for a more precise measure of student skills, so the test can offer accurate scores with fewer questions.

With the traditional SAT, there is a wide variety of difficulties throughout the test. Some questions may be too simple or too difficult for a student. Many questions are needed so that one standardized test form can provide enough data to generate an accurate score for students across different skill levels.

On the new digital adaptive SAT, the first module will offer a range of difficulty. Students’ performances on the first modules determine if the next modules should be easier or more difficult. The second set of modules is adapted to each student’s skill level, so each student will have a unique, customized set of questions. Fewer questions are needed to determine an accurate score because the data from the adapted module is more relevant, making it easier to gauge each student’s skill level.

There are multiple benefits to adaptive testing, including increased security and reduced testing time. There can also be drawbacks, however, such as the inability to provide copies of the test questions (the current SAT offers a Question & Answer Service) and the restriction to computer-based administration.


Summit is well-prepared for the new, digital SAT. For over 30 years, we have successfully navigated the ever-shifting standardized testing landscape, and this time is no different. We will be ready with updated test-prep materials, test-taking strategies, and practice-test options to ensure that students will be ready to score to their true potential on this new version of the test.

Questions? Contact us at or 1-800-MY-TUTOR.

Joshua White – Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Training

In his role as Director of Curriculum, Joshua oversees the development, implementation, and oversight of Summit’s curriculum, instruction, and training. Prior to his role, Joshua spent 3 years as a Summit tutor and classroom teacher, preparing students for the SAT, ACT, SSAT, ISEE, and essay-writing. With over 10 years of tutoring experience, Joshua has taught students from kindergarteners to senior citizens in everything from cooking to computers.


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