EL PASO, TX (KVIA) -- The College Board has announced the PSAT and SAT will go digital and students should prepare to adapt to the new format and structure of the test. These changes promise a more streamlined and adaptable testing experience.
Starting this October, students will take the PSAT in a digital format, offering a glimpse into the upcoming changes for the SAT in March.
The most innovative change is the introduction of adaptive sections. This means all students will start with the same initial verbal and math sections. However, based on their performance in these sections, the following sections' difficulty will be adjusted. This adaptive feature ensures that the test tailors itself to each student's ability, providing a more accurate assessment.
Test takers can also expect to a shorter exam, as it is going from its traditional three-hour exam down to two.
Another major transformation: the math section will now allow calculators throughout the entire section, a change designed to facilitate problem-solving and accuracy. On the verbal side, the SAT is moving away from lengthy reading passages with numerous questions. Instead, students will encounter shorter passages, each followed by just one question.
David Blobaum, the Director of Outreach for the National Test Prep Association, emphasizes the financial benefits of performing well on the PSAT. He says, ”The junior PSAT can count for National Merit scholarships. If you score in the top 1% of your state, then you can actually become a semifinalist finalist and National Merit Recipient.”
To be named a semifinalist in Texas, you’ll need a Selection Index Score of 219. Selection Index equals the sum of your three section test scores (each on a scale of 8-38) multiplied by 2. This means, to get a Selection Index of 220, you'd need a 37 on each of the three sections (Math, Reading, and Writing and Language).
Blobaum also highlights the significance of reading as a core educational skill. He advises students to focus on reading, “if you become a good reader, you're going to read more quickly. You're going to understand what you're reading more. That helps in history, biology, physics, chemistry.”
Choosing between the SAT and ACT can be challenging, but students are encouraged to take official practice tests for both and then decide which one suits them best. Additionally, students can take these tests multiple times, with the option to submit only their highest scores, reducing the stress associated with testing.
For additional test prep resources, visit The National Prep Association.
The next three SAT dates: October, November and December, will remain with the current format. Only PSAT test takers will see the new digital adaptive format in October this year.