The new SAT will be shorter, entirely online and allow calculators The College Board, the organization behind the test, also announced that the exam will shrink from three hours to two, and students will be able to use a calculator for the math section.

Starting in 2024, U.S. students will take the SAT entirely online

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The SAT, the college admissions test long defined by paper and pencil, will soon go all digital. Beginning in 2024, U.S. students will take the SAT entirely on computers or tablets. As NPR's Elissa Nadworny reports, the move comes as more and more colleges are moving away from admissions exams.

ELISSA NADWORNY, BYLINE: In addition to going digital, the new SAT will shrink from three hours to two, include shorter reading passages and allows students to use a calculator on the math section. Testing will still take place at a test center or high school, but students can use their own devices, a tablet or laptop, or use their school's devices. Kirsten Amemastro, a junior at Potomac High School in Dumfries, Va., had a chance to take the pilot version of the digital exam last fall.

KIRSTEN AMEMASTRO: I feel like the paper SAT is kind of outdated.

NADWORNY: She says her generation is just more comfortable with computers.

AMEMASTRO: It was way easier, and it was less stressful for me.

NADWORNY: But Sanjay Mitchell, who works with high school students applying to college in Washington, D.C., is more skeptical.

SANJAY MITCHELL: Moving the SAT online is not going to eliminate equity issues. It's not going to address some of the challenges that colleges and students and folks in my field have been articulating has been the challenge with the SAT. It's just, to me, strikes up another way to remain relevant.

NADWORNY: All this comes as standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are being questioned in the admissions process. The ACT, for now, remains mostly on paper. But the number of colleges dropping the test has accelerated in the pandemic as students missed in-school testing days and had trouble accessing strong internet at home. More than 1,800 U.S. colleges will not require a test score in admissions for fall of 2022. The majority of those schools have extended that policy to include the fall of 2023. Colleges that have long been test-optional say their incoming classes have not suffered because of it. But both Kirsten Amemastro and Sanjay Mitchell told me the test will be hard to shake.

MITCHELL: You talk about going to college, the things that pop up in your mind are essays, the SAT and application fees. So until we kind of weed it out of our everyday conversations, until we decide that as a country, you know, this test is not it, then it's still going to be a part.

NADWORNY: Mitchell points out that most colleges in America, including community colleges, don't have selective admissions, and yet these tests are used to win scholarships. And in a handful of states, you have to take them to graduate. Elissa Nadworny, NPR News.

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