Close this search box.
Close this search box.

The Paper SAT vs. the New Digital SAT | Is digital SAT better?

SAT or the Scholastic Assessment Test, is basically an entrance test (pen and paper) with multiple choice questions, to help any student accomplish their dreams of pursuing their graduation in a college or university abroad.

Every year, many students strive really hard to make their dreams come true and prepare thoroughly for the SATs. 

The SAT exam is indeed very tough and you really need to be on your toes in order to crack this exam with a higher score that would help you land in your dream university or college abroad.  

However, with the changing times, the nature of the SAT exams, which till now was a pen and paper test, is also changing and is confirmed to be going all the way Digital starting from 2023. 

Of course, the SAT has always been undergoing a few changes here and there. But this is said to be the biggest change in the entire exam pattern this year. And as an aspirant, you need to know everything about the new format before you start with your preparations.

So, before you start diving deeper into your study mode, here are a few things that would help you know more about the changes that have been brought about in the new digital format of the SAT exam.

The Paper SAT Pattern

Generally, the current SAT exam pattern consists of two sections namely, SAT 1 and SAT 2.

SAT 1 comprises of topics that assess a candidate’s abilities in the subjects of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, 

And SAT 2 is a subject-specific section that helps candidates demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in a particular subject.

The Paper SAT exam is conducted for 3 hours till 2022.

Here is a brief overview of what the current Paper SAT pattern looks like:

  • Reading section – Questions – 52, Time – 65 mins, Score range – 200
  • Writing and Language Section – Questions 44, Time – 35. Mins, Score range – 800


  • Mathematics (Calculator) – Questions – 38, Time – 55 mins, Score range – 200
  • Mathematics (without Calculator) – Questions 20, Time – 25 mins, Score Range – 800

So, if you calculate the total, you have around 154 questions to be answered in about 180 mins. (I.e. 3 hours)  with.a score range of 400-1600 for the current Paper SAT exam.

What does the New Digital SAT Pattern look like? What has changed?

Unlike the Current Paper SAT exam, students would not have to keep filling in the circles manually in the New Digital SAT pattern. As the exam is completely going. Digital, it really comes off as a relief and convenience to the students and also is determined to help improve testing security.

In this new digital pattern, students need to download the digital testing app just a day before the exam.students can take this exam from their personal laptops or the one issued by the texting center.

When will the New digital SAT be administered?

As per the College board, the rollout timeline of the new digital SAT would be as follows:

  • March 2023 – for international students 
  • October 2023 (fall admissions) – for digital PSAT worldwide
  • Spring 2024 – US test centers

What has changed?

The major difference comes with the timing of the exam, where the new Digital SAT willl be conducted for a total of 2 hours unlike the paper-based SAT, which was conducted for 3 hours.

Also, instead fo the four sections as mentioned above in the paper SAT exam, now the Digital SAT will consist of only two sections –

  1. Reading and Writing 
  2. Mathematics 

Changes in the Reading and Writing section:

In the New Digital SAT, the reading and writing sub-sections would be combined into 1 single section.

There would be considerably shorter passages in this section as compared to the paper based SAT, with every passage having only one question to answer.

Changes in the Mathematics section

The revised digital SAT will allow students to use a calculator for the entire mathematics section now.

Quicker scores

And now, most importantly, the scores will be delivered rapidly to the candidates in just a matter of a few days, which used to take months. Thus, candidates can apply rather early and quickly to the colleges and universities of their choice.

Factors that haven’t changed in the New Digital SAT

The final score range of the digital SAT would be the same as the Paper SAT, that is, the 1600 range.

The digital exam would be conducted in a testing center or a school only in the presence of an invigilator.

The board will still assess the knowledge and skills of students based on the main two subjects, even though in a digital way now.

And students will still have complete access to scholarships.

Well, the New digital SAT truly intends to bring in relief to everyone. However, as an aspirant you would have to rethink your strategies a little differently, especially related to go the digital way yourself. 

At Eduquest Institute, we help students prepare in a very thorough manner and help them cope up with the changes in the SAT exam pattern as well.

Leave a Comment