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4 Digital SAT Hints and 2 FREE Digital Test-Prep Sources

Updated: Mar 19


The digital SAT is different because students take the SAT on a computer or tablet instead of on a piece of paper. International students were the first to use the digital SAT instead of the paper version in Spring 2023.   While there are some lessons from the international experience, students who previously took a paper-based SAT report positive experiences with the digital SAT. Students in the U.S. began to use the digital SAT on March 9, 2024. 


Because students take the test on a computer or tablet, the SAT is now adaptive. That is, a student’s score on the first of two subject-specific sections determines the difficulty level of the second section for that same subject. Students who perform well on the first section will receive a relatively difficult second section to help differentiate high-performing students from one another. Students who perform relatively poorly will receive the easier second section of the test to help differentiate their performance levels. An adaptive test is typically more efficient, so the amount of time taking the SAT will now be about one hour shorter than when students took the SAT on paper. Students say they are happier with a shortened SAT.


4 Digital SAT Hints


Based on lessons learned from international students, here are four suggestions for students regarding the new digital SAT.


1.         Practice on the same device that you will use to take the SAT


Students should download the BlueBook application to the same device they will use when taking the digital SAT and practice on that device. You can get the College Board’s app at (The College Board administers the SAT and other exams.) 


Computers can differ from each other. Students will be more relaxed when using a device they are accustomed to. This practice should include using the graphing calculator built into the screen. Students who have their own graphing calculator have the option of using it while taking the SAT.


2.         Know the password to the device


Students abroad have had problems where they did not know the password to the laptop they borrowed from a parent. The student must know that password and be able to log in to the device. Proctors at the testing center cannot help students with their own devices. 


3.         Charge up the device in advance


The digital SAT will run over two hours. Charge up the laptop or tablet in advance!


4.         Bring a charging cable and/or power stick


The College Board website shares a short list of what to bring to a digital SAT and recommends students bring a fully charged computer/tablet and a charging cable if the device doesn’t hold a charge for three hours. You can even bring a backup testing device if you are super cautious.


2 FREE Test-Prep Sources


The College Board and Khan Academy offer free test-prep resources for students.


1.         College Board Free Test Prep Resources


The College Board’s free digital SAT resources include an app and a website. You can access practice tests through the app as indicated under hint #1. The BlueBook app provides four practice tests that use the same interface as the digital SAT. In addition to the app, you can see practice test questions on the College Board’s website:

Please be aware that one of the complaints students had about the first digital SAT in the U.S. was that the actual test questions were more difficult than the test questions on the practice tests available at the above website in March 2024. Students are complaining particularly about math. Even students who thought they performed well on what they believed was the advanced second section of the math test are saying that the questions on the actual exam are considerably more difficult than the questions on the practice tests provided by the College Board.


Another great free resource is the score report students get after taking the digital SAT. If the student retakes the SAT, the score report is a great tool for targeted test prep.


2.         Khan Academy Free Test Prep Resource


Khan Academy, in partnership with the College Board, provides practice test SAT questions at



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