Tag Archives: dSAT

March 2024 didn’t mark the world’s first digital adaptive SAT–that took place in March 2023. This year’s first SAT was, however, the inaugural U.S administration, which meant that exponentially more eyes were on the exam and its implications. As the President of the National Test Prep Association, I facilitated a conference to bring 70 educators and counselors from around the globe to crowdsource observations from tens of thousands of students after March scores were released. Here are some of the major conclusions: 1. The official test is harder than the Bluebook tests. Based on reports from students who have been taking digital SATs outside the US, we anticipated that the Bluebook exams might not adequately prepare test takers for the highest difficulty items on the test. Even the newest additions to Bluebook–tests 5 & 6–more closely resemble the practice tests than the official tests. How did this disparity in difficulty…

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Historically, the College Board hasn’t always favored the use of calculators on the SAT. Even when graphic calculators were permitted, many questions demanded the kind of math conceptual understanding and problem solving skills that no Texas Instruments device, no matter how advanced, could provide. The last version of the SAT even had a full Math section where calculators were prohibited. But new tests reflect new philosophies, and the digital SAT appears to embrace what it once shunned. Not only are calculators permitted on every math question, but the exam also currently includes a fully-functional Desmos graphing calculator. This calculator, as of the time of this writing, is robust and effective. The design of SAT math questions seems to have changed as well. While previous iterations of the SAT appeared to be written to punish dependence on calculators, the digital test rewards it to a surprising degree. Some colleagues I respect…

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Nobody performs their best on a complex challenge like the SAT without practice. When you really want to excel, not just any practice will do. As legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” So make sure that every practice SAT you take is perfect by following these steps: BEFORE THE TEST 1. Find a full-length digital adaptive SAT practice test. The ones offered through the College Board Bluebook app are the best possible tests, as they best represent official test content on the official test platform. However, since College Board has only released 4 (as of January 2024) official tests, you may have to use third party tests. PRO TIP: If you plan to take many practice tests, save the Bluebook tests for practice closer to your official exam. 2. Make sure you have your fully charged approved device ready and loaded…

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In October 2023, I had the pleasure of speaking, as I do every year, to the Brighton PTSA about what the SAT and ACT are, why they matter, and what families can and should do about them. This year’s presentation was distinctive because we’re now talking about a digital SAT starting in the United States on March 2024. I’ll be delivering this seminar quite a bit over the coming months and years, but you don’t have to wait for me to come to your school–we have a recording! Enjoy the video and feel free to follow up with questions. Looking for more information about the digital SAT? START HERE

Until 2015, the SAT was considered the test for students with strong reading ability, while the ACT catered to those with more of a math focus. The last revision, however, reversed the calculus by creating a math-forward assessment that emphasized more advanced topics, graphical literacy, and no-calculator math than ever. The revision was also intended to align the SAT with the Common Core philosophy of testing fewer topics in greater depth than prior assessments. To be fair, College Board ran from the politically unpalatable Common Core curriculum alignment not long after launch and never made good on the promise of fewer math topics anyway; on the contrary, the more recent version of the test required knowledge of more concepts and formulas than ever. Interestingly, the digital SAT appears, at least in its earliest days, to be making a more earnest commitment to mathematical depth rather than breadth: Interestingly, the content…

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While the digital deployment and multistage adaptive aspects of the new SAT and PSAT certainly draw attention as the biggest changes to these tests, one other revision deserves just as much attention. The SAT has always tested reading, and the digital SAT continues to refine just what aspects of reading matter most in the current educational environment. As usual, this portion of the test looks very different from its most immediate predecessor. Gone is the emphasis on long reading passages, linked evidence questions, and the dreaded historical documents. To be fair, most test takers won’t be sorry to see those elements go. What does the digital SAT offer instead? Expect questions evaluating many of the same fundamental reading skills in some new ways: Questions focusing on the enduring themes of thesis, structure, and both close and inferential reading will be attached to reading passages of roughly 100 words each. Each…

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