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So You Think You Can Cheat on the Digital SAT?

Times are changing. With the miraculous growth of AI and other technology in recent years, educational institutions have been forced to adapt to the new capabilities of students to access a wealth of information from practically any device. 

It may seem odd to some that the SAT has elected to move to a digital format in the wake of these changes, especially since students may be tempted to think that cheating will be easier on the digital SAT. But, in reality, the digital SAT has been specifically formulated to combat cheating efforts and continue to truly assess each student’s readiness for a university education.

Read on to learn more information about the new digital SAT and why it will be impossible to cheat on this new test format.

The New Digital SAT

The SAT is officially going digital in March of 2024 and beyond. The digital version of the test is already available to international students as of Spring 2023, but soon, all students will be taking the entire SAT Suite of Assessments online.

The transition of the SAT to a digital format introduces several noteworthy changes. First, the test duration will be significantly reduced from approximately 3 hours and 50 minutes to just 2 hours and 14 minutes. To accomplish this feat, the structure of the test will become much more streamlined, including only 2 sections (Reading and Writing and Math) as opposed to the 5 sections that appear on the paper-and-pencil test (Reading, Writing and Language, Math with and without calculator, and optional Writing).

Content-wise, the digital format will feature shorter reading passages and math questions, making the overall test more concise. An adaptive testing format will also be introduced, altering the difficulty of the test’s second module based on a student’s performance in the first module of each section. New tools will be incorporated as well, including a built-in Desmos graphing calculator, a countdown clock, online notepad, math reference popout, and question marker.

One of the most notable changes to the test, especially for students applying for Early Admission, will be the expedited scoring process. The digital SAT will provide students with online access to their scores within a few days of completing the test. This is a major improvement compared to the usual weeks-long wait for traditional SAT scores.

Despite all these changes, the SAT’s fundamental goal of assessing students’ skills and college readiness will remain intact. The digital format aims to enhance the testing experience by offering clarity, adaptability, and greater flexibility in test administration while also increasing test security.

Why You Can’t Cheat on the Digital SAT

Students may be tempted to think that cheating on the digital SAT will be easier than cheating on the paper-and-pencil test. In reality, the College Board has taken steps to make cheating practically impossible on the digital SAT. 

While it is true that you can use your own device to take the digital SAT, you will not have the ability to open other windows and applications in the midst of the testing session. The app used to take the digital version of the test is the College Board’s Blue Book app, which is entirely locked down. You cannot run any other applications in the background, so don’t even try to open ChatGPT and ask it to answer the questions for you.

Cheating off other students is also an impossibility on the new digital SAT. In this new testing format, students will receive a randomized set of questions that could be different, or at least in a different order, from fellow students. Students will also receive a different version of the second half of the test based on their results in the first half of the test, so it is highly unlikely that you will have the same test as the people near you.

The College Board has made it impossible for students to have another person take the test for them as well. All students must present a valid and current form of photo identification at the test center in order to be admitted for the test. Those looking to cheat this way would need to obtain some sort of forged identification, which is, in itself, a crime.

This increase in test security may come as a response to a number of serious cheating offenses that have occurred in the past few years. Some parents have chosen to bribe proctors to look the other way when cheating occurs while other agencies have sent imposters to sit for SAT tests or sold black market copies of old SAT test booklets. In all cases, those who were caught cheating or helping others cheat received punishments like fines and even jail time.

Potential Consequences of Cheating on the SAT

If you are suspected of cheating on the SAT, you will suffer very serious consequences that will set back your academic career. Students who are caught or suspected of cheating may be denied entry to or immediately dismissed from the test center. They will also more than likely have their scores for that test canceled and may even be barred from taking the test again in the future.

Obviously, not being able to take the SAT at all could restrict a student’s college admissions choices, especially if they plan to attend a school that does not have test-optional application policies. However, the dangers of cheating do extend to test-optional schools as well. Depending on the circumstances, cheating could wind up on a student’s public record. Some colleges may choose to blacklist cheaters, barring them from even being considered for admission.

The best way to avoid these consequences is to stay away from cheating entirely. Students looking to improve their scores or reach a certain target score can enlist help from test prep resources like tutors, College Board study materials, practice tests, online courses, and more. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goal score without running the risk of being blacklisted from your dream school as a result of cheating.

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