This March, Connecticut’s public high school juniors will again sit for an in-school administration of the SAT free of charge, as has been true since the State Department of Education adopted the SAT as the standardized exam for grade 11 in 2015. But this year, there’s a new wrinkle: the SAT has gone digital.
All students will take the SAT on school-owned computers running TIDE, the secure test administration interface favored by the State Board of Education, the same system used for the Smarter Balanced and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) tests. Test time for the SAT remains unchanged: 3 ½ hours for regular administration. Accommodations are available for those who qualify. Schools may opt to test groups of students at various times across a multi-day test window: March 23-25 and 29-30. Scores will be released in mid- to late-April. Makeup tests will be administered April 26-28.
So how should juniors prepare for this test? Great question!
Start by checking out this link (press the green sign-in button!), which will walk you through the College Board’s Digital SAT platform. The digital test features several “online tools” such as an on-screen calculator, standard mathematical formula references, options to highlight text and questions as well as strikethrough answers, and a digital notepad (you can still bring your own calculator and scratch paper will be provided). See sample screenshots below.
We also encourage students and families to refer to the Connecticut School Day SAT FAQ page for more information on the test and sending scores to colleges or canceling scores. Students who want to take an online practice SAT on a similar platform can do so for free through Kahn Academy in partnership with the College Board.
A quick look at the Digital SAT:
For both the Reading test and the Writing and Language test, the student interface features a split screen with text on the left and related questions on the right:
A toolbar allows students several useful options for active reading, including the ability to: highlight only one row of text at a time to aid with focus, highlight text in multiple colors, and write notes on a virtual notepad (see below).
When selecting answers to questions, students may strike out wrong answers to visually narrow their choices. For “best evidence” questions, relevant passages are automatically highlighted within the text. Students may flag questions as a visual reminder to go back to complete them.
The toolbar features a built-in calculator for the calculator math test, as well as a handy reference to useful math formulas.
This is new territory for students, teachers and tutors. Many juniors will also register for the paper-based SAT tests on March 12th and/or May 7th since most colleges superscore the results of multiple tests.