The student news site of Southern Lehigh High School

The Spotlight

The student news site of Southern Lehigh High School

The Spotlight

The student news site of Southern Lehigh High School

The Spotlight

The online SAT: Exploring the benefits of the digital format

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The SAT formally used the scantron sheet, which is now converting into an online answer system.

As the 2023-2024 school year reaches its halfway point, many students are beginning to prepare for the years after high school. The commonly taken SAT, a standardized test used to measure college readiness, is one important step along the way. This highly valued test has been solely offered on paper for many decades. However, College Board is taking steps in the right direction by launching a fully digital version of the SAT, starting in the spring of 2024. 

In the academic world, many opinions may arise from this change. But as our society continues to make technological advancements, I view this switch in formats as a purely favorable outcome.

“From a college admissions standpoint, it is definitely smart to take the SATs, even if they are offered online,” guidance counselor Mrs. Christina Piascik says. “You only lose three hours, and that’s the time you spend taking the test. It’s worth your time to try.”

The SAT is a staple of the college application process for most high school students. The test aims to measure literacy, numeracy, and writing skills that are crucial in maintaining academic success in college. 

“Transferring to a digital test is going to completely change the way this test is formatted,” Mrs. Piascik says. “It’s almost like College Board is restarting.”

Even though the two formats will differ greatly, these new changes will ultimately work to benefit test takers.

According to, while the paper-based SAT consisted of lengthy passages and the need for a tangible calculator, the online version of this test will be more concise with shorter passages and the incorporation of an online calculator.

Responding to the debate about whether testing online or on paper is more beneficial for students, a trial digital exam was released, allowing students to concoct their own opinions on the new testing style. As many students differ in their style of learning and test taking, the decision of the most applicable format, can pose a major dilemma. In October of 2024, Southern Lehigh offered an online version of the PSAT. This online PSAT helped aid students in the transition from paper to digital exams, allowing them to try out the SAT’s new style.

“I’m more tactile, so I would prefer for the SAT to remain the typical paper and pencil test rather than this new digital version”, junior Jacalyn DeSimone says. 

Although many of us, including myself, may initially think the same thing, 80% of participants found the new format to be ‘less stressful’ than the paper test, according to the College Board.

Even with the threatening views on digital testing, the concise version of the test works to ease intimidating feelings about the SAT. 

“This new test will work to benefit students because it represents the experience in college more than a paper based test would,” English teacher Mr. Jeffrey Hershey says. 

In the 2023-24 school year, a large percentage of tests and assignments are provided online, with that percentage only increasing every day. An online SAT will fit into our world’s evolving lifestyle, ultimately benefiting test takers more than this “outdated” paper-based test would. 

As the online SAT still has months until its release, a large portion of students and educators still have lingering questions and thoughts about this change. But, as a student myself who is hoping to try out this digital SAT, I see many benefits that follow College Board’s decision.

About the Contributor
Tessa Di Cesare
Tessa Di Cesare, Staff Reporter
Junior Tessa Di Cesare is a first year staff reporter. She is a member of the National Honors Society, Student Council, Mini Thon, and Athletes Against Hunger. She is also a Teen Counselor and a Spartan Ambassador. Tessa is a captain of the Cross Country team and participates in Winter and Spring Track and Field. Her favorite movie The Alpinist and her favorite TV show is Gilmore Girls. After high school, Tessa wants to pursue law school.