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The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

College Board Revises PSAT/SAT To Make It Fully Digital

PHS students react to taking the Digital PSAT for the first time

The College Board recently announced that as of 2024, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known as the SAT, will be switching to a digital format.  This change will affect most, if not all, high school kids across the nation, including you. 

The first exposure PHS students had to digital college board exams was the 2023 PSAT/NMSQT.  PHS 9th, 10th, and 11th students took the test on October 11, 2023.  It had a total of 98 questions and lasted 2 hours and 14 minutes, which is 41 questions and 30 minutes shorter than the paper test.  The test included new features such as a digital graphing calculator, clock, bookmarking, and the ability to annotate a question.  The previous paper PSAT required students to bring their own calculators, and did not include any way to keep track of time, bookmark questions, or highlight and annotate.  The actual SAT test will be 56 questions and 46 minutes shorter. 


Photo by Vandan Patel on Unsplash


Changes to the English section on the SAT

Previously, the SAT included two English sections, one testing reading skills and the other testing grammar skills.  The reading consisted of 5 passages or excerpts of varying genres, following each passage with a set of 10-12 questions.  Students were provided with 65 minutes to complete all the multiple choice questions.  The grammar section had 4 passages with a total of 44 questions, which were regarding the writing and language of the passage. 


Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash


Comparatively, the new verbal section of the digital SAT consists of two parts with one 5 minute break in between.  Students now have 32 minutes to complete 27 questions per portion of the English section. There is no distinction between the two parts, and each has a mixture of grammar and reading questions.  Along with this, there aren’t any full passages, rather a paragraph or two about a different topic per question.



Students found the digital english PSAT to be much easier than the older paper test.  PHS junior Andrea Ladia, states, “the test was so much easier than I expected.  Knowing that this will be the format for the real SAT in 2024 makes me less nervous.”


Changes to the math section

Students previously had to complete two math sections totaling 58 questions.  The math module of the SAT now consists of 22 questions for each of the 2 sections.  Students are given 35 minutes to finish those 22 questions with a 5 minute break between the question sets.  The math section includes many tools, including an easy to use digital graphing calculator, which can now be used for any math question on the test!  Many students find graphing calculators difficult to use, so providing a simple online version can potentially improve scores.  Similar to the paper test, a formula sheet is given, which includes the formulas for geometry and some trigonometry. 



Similar to the reaction to the English test, many believed that the math exam was much easier than in previous years.  Students who recently took the [written] SAT this past summer and fall say the digital PSAT proved to be much less intimidating.  “I was surprised when the math section was so easy because the [written] October SAT was pretty challenging,” states Niti Dhabalia, a junior who took the SAT in October.

Overall the switch to a digital format seems to be pleasing students more than causing stress. Hopefully, this change will lead to an increase in scores.


Editor’s Note: To prepare for the digital SAT, College Board (the company that administers the test) has published sample tests with answer explanations, and they have also partnered with Khan Academy to create practice materials.  Additionally, Piscataway High School offers an SAT prep course that students can take as sophomores or juniors, and Piscataway Jump ahead offers free 6 week SAT courses over the summer.  Finally, there are many youtube tutorials that review the concepts covered on the test.  If you have any additional questions about SAT preparation, please contact the PHS SAT teachers, Mr. Lojko or Ms. McGovern through Schoology.  


Infographic by Mahi Patel

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Mahi Patel, Journalism 2 Reporter
Hi! I’m Mahi and I’m currently a junior taking Journalism as an Independent Study. I always loved writing and I am so excited to be able to share my work with others through the Chieftain. I especially love to write about current events and student life so there will be many posts about that! Thank you so much for checking us out!"

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