LIVE MASTERCLASS: 7 Strategies For Parents To Help Your Child Earn $100,000 College Scholarships & Ace The New 2024 Digital SAT. Enroll Free!

Your Ultimate Guide To Digital SAT Prep

Digital SAT Prep

Welcome to your ultimate guide to preparing for the digital SAT! Whether you’re a student gearing up for the exam or a concerned parent hoping to help your child succeed, Prep Expert has the tips and strategies you need to prepare the right way and achieve that dream score.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • Why the SAT is important.
  • What’s new on the digital SAT.
  • Proven digital SAT strategies.
  • How to prepare for SAT success.

Why Students Should Take the Digital SAT

These days, it’s trendy to say that the SAT is no longer important to the college admissions process. However, the truth is that this statement couldn’t be more wrong. While it’s true that many schools decided to adopt test-optional admissions policies that didn’t require students to submit their test scores with their college applications, a number of those schools have since reversed that decision, electing to make test scores part of their application requirements once again.

So, why the sudden resurgence of standardized testing requirements? Universities began to notice that test-optional policies actually led to worse outcomes for both students and schools. This is partially due to a phenomena known as grade inflation.

Grade inflation refers to the gradual rise in average grades given to students, particularly in high schools. Did you know that 47% of all high schoolers now graduate with an A average? According to data gathered by the ACT, the percentage of students who reported receiving an A average increased by 12.2% from 2010 to 2022. With more and more students listing 4.0 GPAs on their college applications, it has become harder for schools to determine students’ academic abilities based on grades alone, leading them to turn back to using standardized test scores as a measurement.

Regardless of whether or not a school is test-optional, it’s likely that SAT scores still play a role in determining college admissions. Acceptance rates at most test-optional colleges are significantly higher for students who choose to submit test scores than to students who do not. In some cases, students who submitted their scores were twice as likely to be accepted compared to those who did not. Clearly, standardized test scores still carry a lot of weight in the admissions process, even for colleges that claim they don’t.

But SAT test scores don’t just increase a student’s chances of admission. They also open the door to scholarships. Students who do not take the SAT will miss out on billions of dollars worth of scholarships from both universities and private companies. Some schools may even offer automatic merit scholarships to students with high scores. Why let the opportunity to avoid accruing student debt pass you by?

3 Common Myths About the New Digital SAT

Before we talk in detail about what you can expect from the digital SAT, let’s first debunk a few common misconceptions many students and parents have about the new digital format.

Myth #1: My child will be able to take the digital SAT at home.

Unfortunately, this is not true. As much as students would love to be able to take the test from the comfort of their rooms (maybe with ChatGPT up in the background for assistance), it is currently not possible to take the digital SAT anywhere other than at an official test center. That being said, you can choose to take the exam using either your own device or one that has been provided by the test center. If you are unsure about the location of a test center near you, you can use the SAT Test Center Search to find one.

Myth #2: The digital SAT will have the same content as the paper SAT.

This is also untrue. We will get into the specifics about all the changes to the digital SAT in the next section, but it’s important to note that more than just the format of the test has changed. It is now much shorter, covers different content, and contains new types of questions.

Myth #3: My child struggles with online tests, so the digital SAT will be hard.

The digital SAT will not be any more difficult than the paper SAT. In fact, many students will probably find that is significantly easier in comparison, especially because the test itself is much shorter and contains shorter reading passages.

What’s New on the Digital SAT?

How will the digital SAT look and feel different from the previous paper versions of the exam? As we mentioned, the entire test is notably shorter. The paper SAT used to take about 3 hours to complete, but they have pared down the digital test to just 2 hours and 14 minutes. They have also reduced the number of questions from 154 to 98. This change gives students 12 extra seconds to answer each question, raising the time per question from 1 minute and 10 seconds to 1 minute and 22 seconds.

There have been significant changes to the sections of the SAT as well. Previously, the SAT included a “No Calculator” Math section. The digital test has done away with the “No Calculator” rule entirely, allowing students to use approved calculators or the built-in calculator in the Bluebook app throughout the entirety of the Math section.

On the digital SAT, students will no longer encounter separate Reading and Writing sections. The two sections that were once distinct from each other on the paper version of the SAT have now been combined into one unified section called Reading and Writing. Students will also be excited to hear that the infamously long reading passages from the paper test, which often clocked in between 500 and 75o words, have been cut down to a much more manageable size. Reading passages on the digital test will be 50 to 150 words each and will only require students to answer one question per passage.

Understanding the New Adaptive Format

Perhaps the biggest change to the digital SAT, however, is the inclusion of the adaptive test format. The adaptive format is part of what allows the digital SAT to be much shorter, as it can calculate an accurate score based on fewer questions.

On the adaptive test, the first modules of each section (Math and Reading and Writing) assess the student’s baseline performance level. Then, based on their performance in that first module, the student will receive a harder or easier second module that has been adapted in difficulty to match their skill level.

To those who may be nervous about this change, don’t worry! The new format is nothing to fear. If anything, it is both a faster and more accurate assessment of each student’s abilities.

Digital SAT Strategies

Now, let’s go over a few simple strategies students can learn as they prepare to take the digital SAT and ace it!

5 Kiss of Death Phrases on Digital SAT Writing

This first strategy will help students breeze through the Writing portion of the exam. If you see any of the following 5 phrases in a digital SAT grammar question, you can automatically mark that answer choice incorrect:

  • “Being”
  • “Is why/is because”
  • “There is/there are”
  • “It is”
  • “Very”

While this is not a fool-proof method for choosing the right answer, it can help students narrow down their answer choices and arrive at the correct choice more quickly.

Solve Math Problems Without Algebra on Digital SAT Math

Did you know you can solve math problems on the SAT without actually doing any algebra? It’s true! Use Prep Expert’s Test Answer Choices (TAC) Strategy to quickly arrive at a correct answer without spending time running calculations.

The TAC method requires students to plug the answer choices for a question back into the problem. This strategy works best when you have variables in the problem and numbers in the answer choices. Simply test each answer choice in the original algebraic expression and pick out the one that works. It’s that easy!

Words to Avoid on Digital SAT Reading

On the Reading section of the digital SAT, you want to watch out for extreme adverbs. Adverbs are words that modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb, and they typically end in the suffix “-ly.” Extreme adverbs are those that signal a significant degree or extent of something. Answer choices that contain these extreme adverbs will often be incorrect. Beware of the following extreme adverbs:

  • Broadly
  • Closely
  • Considerably
  • Deeply
  • Elaborately
  • Extensively
  • Greatly
  • Heavily
  • Largely
  • Overly
  • Profoundly
  • Severely
  • Significantly
  • Substantially
  • Vastly
  • Widely

Remember, not all adverbs are incorrect! But, paying attention to extreme adverbs can help you narrow down your answer choices in the digital SAT Reading section.

Dr. Shaan Patel’s Digital SAT Playbook

Prep Expert’s founder and CEO, Dr. Shaan Patel, released his latest SAT prep book this March as a guide for students and parents seeking help preparing for the digital SAT.

Dr. Patel has written 15 books about SAT prep, ACT prep, entrepreneurship, and self-development and, over the past decade, has dedicated more than 10,000 hours to creating the most effective test preparation content for students. With proven strategies that have helped hundreds of thousands of students improve their SAT scores, get into top colleges, and win over $100 million in scholarships, the Prep Expert Digital SAT Playbook is the product of his hard work, knowledge, and expertise.

This new book is fully updated to prepare students for all aspects of the digital SAT, including the unique question types, adaptive testing structure, and new content. Pick up your copy today to gain access to:

  • The best digital SAT questions to practice with.
  • Techniques to spot grammar errors on SAT Writing.
  • Strategies to increase passage-reading speed on SAT Reading.
  • All of the must-know key concepts for SAT Math.
  • Test-taking and study skills for all academic exams.
  • The secret to success for the SAT and life beyond.

Learn even more valuable tips through Prep Expert’s extensive catalog of online test prep courses.

Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
More from Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA