10 FAQs About the New Digital SAT

digital SAT

As of March 2024, the SAT exam has officially transitioned from the traditional print version to a new digital format. Inspired by recurring questions we’ve heard from parents and prospective college applicants here at The Enrichery, this blog post is dedicated to providing clarity to the situation.


Q: What are the major differences between the Digital SAT (dSAT) and the old paper SAT? Do these differences make the dSAT harder?

In addition to the format change, the new dSAT has cut 45 minutes of testing time from the exam, which now lasts 2 hours and 14 minutes. Unlike the old test, which separated Reading and Writing sections, the new dSAT combines its Reading and Writing multiple-choice questions and accompanying short passages. Similarly, while the paper SAT included two separate Math sections—one permitting a calculator and one not—the new exam provides a calculator for all Math questions. Also worth mentioning is the adaptive nature of the dSAT, which uses computer programming to adjust the difficulty of each student’s questions as they progress through the exam.


Whether or not these modifications make the dSAT harder is subjective. In general, our students at The Enrichery consider the dSAT’s shorter test time a welcome change.


Q: I feel uncertain about the SAT’s switch to the new digital format. Would my child benefit from taking both the dSAT and the ACT just in case?

At The Enrichery highly recommend students prioritize one exam over the other. In fact, we do not offer mixed-test preparation programs. Since the dSAT and ACT differ in subject matter, platform, and structure/timing, we believe students benefit the most from an intensive program designed to help them improve as much as possible in their chosen exam.


Q: How do I know whether my child should take the dSAT or the ACT?

One of The Enrichery’s top priorities is to help our students grow accustomed to the intricacies of their chosen standardized test format. As such, the first phase of test preparation includes free diagnostic dSAT and ACT exams followed by a meeting with the student and their parents to compare the student’s diagnostic scores, discuss their subject preferences, and assess their initial feelings about both exams.


Of course, every student is different. While humanities-inclined students often lean towards the ACT because it prioritizes English grammar and reading comprehension skills, students who excel in STEM subjects tend to prefer the dSAT because a larger portion of the exam involves math.


Q: If my student decides the dSAT would be best for them, will their preparation program include digital practice?

Yes! Test preparation for the dSAT is entirely digital at The Enrichery. Our coaches utilize TestInnovators for weekly test practice and homework assignments, as well as Bluebook (provided by College Board) for regular mock exams. Many of our coaches also implement Khan Academy’s online course material into their sessions. Fun fact: The Enrichery was uniquely well-equipped to make the transition to digital test preparation as we have been using TestInnovators for our standardized test programs since the summer of 2023.


Q: How much time should my child spend preparing for the dSAT?

For both the dSAT and ACT, The Enrichery’s test preparation programs take students an average of 4 months to complete. Students are required to attend in-person tutoring 2 hours per week and take a mock exam (free of charge) every 4 weeks.


Q: What is considered a good dSAT score?

Like the old SAT, students can score up to 1600 points on the dSAT. A “good score” for your child will depend on the schools to which they are applying. Included in the initial phase of test preparation is a comprehensive discussion among the student, their parents, and Enrichery staff regarding the schools they are interested in pursuing so that appropriate goal scores can be set.


Q: How many official exams should my child take?

The Enrichery recommends that students take no more than 3 official standardized exams before submitting the highest score to colleges.


Q: Should I register my child for official exams that may take place during their test preparation program?

No. At The Enrichery, we want to ensure our students are fully prepared before taking an official exam since some schools, like Georgetown and Howard, require applicants to submit all scores from all official exams, in which case poor exam performance can negatively impact acceptance. Therefore, we suggest waiting to take an official exam until the student has fully completed their test preparation program. 


Of course, once your child is ready to take an official exam, if they do not meet their goal score, they can remain enrolled at The Enrichery, where we will continue to provide regular tutoring sessions and free mock exams to ensure consistent exposure to the test.


Q: What if my child chooses to go test-optional? 

Even if your child pursues the test-optional route, it would still benefit them to prepare and take an official exam as many higher education scholarships depend upon these scores: the higher the score, the more scholarship money would be made available to your child.


Q: What is “superscoring” for the dSAT? Which schools superscore?

Like the old SAT, colleges superscore for the dSAT by accepting students’ highest scores for each exam section, even if they come from different official exams. For example, a student who scores 580 on Math and 600 on Reading/Writing on their first official exam and then 600 on Math and 580 on Reading/Writing on their second official exam would submit 600 for Math and 600 for Reading/Writing to any school that superscores for the dSAT.


Of course, The Enrichery recommends verifying for yourself whether or not a particular school accepts superscores. In Texas, schools that superscore include Baylor, SMU, and TCU, while Texas A&M and UT Austin do not.


The Enrichery offers dSAT and ACT test preparation programs for junior-year students throughout the year. For more information, submit a request to contact us at https://theenrichery.com/contact-us-submission/!