Is the Digital SAT easier than the old paper SAT?

Many students and parents who were familiar with the old paper-based SAT are wondering whether the new Digital SAT will be easier.  The Digital SAT is designed to maintain the same level of rigor and predictive value for colleges as the paper SAT—otherwise, it wouldn’t be a useful tool to assess freshman-year readiness.  The College Board has done extensive research to ensure that Digital SAT scores align with paper SAT scores.  That being said, students I have tutored have generally found the new Digital SAT to be much less intimidating and more approachable than the paper SAT.  Here are ten reasons why most students will find the Digital SAT easier than the paper SAT. 

1.  Test fatigue is much less of an issue.  While the paper SAT was over three hours long, the Digital SAT is only a little over two hours.  This is possible because of the section-adaptive format of the Digital SAT:  students start with modules of average difficulty and then progress to either more or less challenging modules based on their first module performance.  Most students find that sustaining their attention for a little over two hours is quite manageable, making the Digital SAT less overwhelming than the paper SAT. 

2.  Less time wasted on double-checking.  On the paper SAT, many students found it difficult to avoid looking back at their previous answers since they could easily be seen.  Also, they had concerns about their bubbling in of the paper answer sheets. On the Digital SAT, students will only view one question at a time, making it much easier to compartmentalize their focus on one task.  Also, students click on the answer instead of physically bubbling, and they can easily see that the answer choice they selected is recorded by the computer. 

3.  Calculators are available throughout the math section.  The paper SAT had a no-calculator section; even though all the problems on this section could have been done without a calculator, many students found it more challenging than the calculator math section.  On the Digital SAT, students can bring a calculator of their own to use for the math sections.  Moreover, they have access to the powerful Desmos™ calculator that is built into the testing interface.  The functionality of the Desmos™ calculator allows students to easily graph parabolas, systems of equations, and even tables. 

4.  Fewer questions on obscure grammar concepts.  The Digital SAT focuses on grammar fundamentals:  subject-verb agreement, verb tense, punctuation, modifier placement, and transitions.  Unlike the old SAT, which also tested idioms, diction, and wordiness, students will find that they can focus their grammar study on certain concepts.  For example, understanding the rules of semicolon and colon usage can go a long way on the Digital SAT. 

5. The question stems are more predictable.  Unlike the paper SAT, which had a wide variety of question wording, the questions on the Digital SAT are quite consistent.  Students will find certain question stems repeated over and over: 

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?  

Which choice best states the main purpose of the text?

Which choice most logically completes the text? 

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?  Which choice completes the text with the most logical transition?  

Having these consistent question stems allows students to get in a better testing rhythm and devote more time to thinking about their answers instead of trying to understand what they are asked to do. 

6.  The reading and writing selections are concise.  The old paper SAT had just a few reading and writing passages, each of which was several hundred words.  If a student found a topic uninteresting on these sorts of passages, it was easy for them to lose focus.  On the Digital SAT, the reading and writing passages are no longer than 150 words and are accompanied by a single question.  While a shorter text doesn’t necessarily mean an easier text, it does mean that students will often find them less daunting than the longer old SAT passages. 

7.  Proctor errors are less of a concern.  I have had some past tutoring students experience proctor errors during their testing—in particular, the proctor called “time” too early or too late.  Since the timing on the Digital SAT is done within the testing application, students need not worry about time being called early.  If they hide the countdown clock, it will automatically reappear when 5 minutes remain.  That way, students can be sure they answer every question before they run out of time. 

8. Students can use their own tablet or computer.  Familiarity brings comfort—students can practice on the same tablet or computer they want to use on test day.  Students can take control of their testing process by ensuring their computer is fully charged and in good working order.  There should be a minimal disconnect between practice tests and real tests when the device is the same for each. 

9.  The questions are less wordy.  Both the reading/writing and the math questions on the Digital SAT are generally shorter than those found on the paper SAT.  If students take their time carefully reading the questions, they are unlikely to make careless reading errors. 

10.  The Digital SAT is almost exactly like the Digital PSAT.  While there are slight differences in the content tested on the SAT and PSAT, the two tests have the same format and time restrictions.  Students who took the PSAT in the fall will feel comfortable knowing that they have already seen the computer interface and question types they will see on the Digital SAT. 

All told, students should look at the new Digital SAT not as something to be feared, but as an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate their academic skills to colleges. 

Digital SAT Writing Transitions Practice Questions

1. The following is an excerpt from The Dorrington Deed-box by Arthur Morrison:

As for Dorrington, he had his hundred pounds reward. But the bill for £10,000 he never presented. Why, I do not altogether know, unless he found that Mr. Mallows’s financial position, as he had hinted, was not altogether so good as was supposed.  __________ it was found among the notes and telegrams in this case in the Dorrington deed-box.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. In other words,
B. At any rate,
C. Whatever,
D. On the other hand,

2. The following is an excerpt from Sanders of the River, By Edgar Wallace:

The Hon. George Tackle had the good fortune to be the son of his father; otherwise, I am free to confess he had no claim to distinction.  __________ his father, being the proprietor of the Courier and Echo (with which are incorporated I don’t know how many dead and gone stars of the Fleet Street firmament), George had a “pull” which no amount of competitive merit could hope to contend with.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. But
B. While
C. So
D. Thus

3. The following is an excerpt from The Pathless Trail by Arthur O. Friel:

Sleep enveloped the huts. Snores and gurgles rose and fell. Tim himself, for the sake of effect, snored heartily at intervals, __________ his eyes never closed. Through his mosquito bar he could see only vaguely, but he knew any man walking from the crew’s quarters must cast a very visible shadow across that net, and to him the shadow would be as good a warning as a clear view of the substance. But the hours crept on, and no shadow came.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. and
B. though
C. since
D. for

4. The Following is an excerpt from Bones in London, By Edgar Wallace:

The Tibbetts-Jelf Lamp was something new in motor lamps. It was a lamp which had all the advantages of the old lamp, plus properties which no lamp had ever had before, and it had none of the disadvantages of any lamp previously introduced, and, __________ had no disadvantages whatsoever. So Jelf told Bones with great earnestness.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. however,
B. finally,
C. in fact,
D. therefore,

5. The following is an excerpt from The Keepers of The King’s Peace by Edgar Wallace:

The Wiggle, moreover, possessed many attributes which are denied to other small steamers. She had, __________  a Maxim gun on her tiny forecastle. She had a siren of unusual power and diabolical tone, she was also fitted with a big motor-horn, both of which appendages were Bones’s gift to his flagship.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. on the other hand,
B. however,
C. completely,
D. for example

6. The following is an excerpt from Kidnapped by Robert Lois Stevenson:

I was abashed how to find expression for my thanks; but she was no less abashed at the thought of hearing them; begged us to lose no time and to hold our peace, saying (very properly) that the heart of our matter was in haste and silence; __________ what with one thing and another, she had set us on the Lothian shore not far from Carriden, had shaken hands with us, and was out again at sea and rowing for Limekilns, before there was one word said either of her service or our gratitude.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. therefore,
B. because,
C. but,
D. and,

7. The following is an excerpt from Caves of Terror by Talbot Mundy

The tiny portions that melted and liquefied became full of motion, __________ the motion was never in one place for more than about a minute at a time; and wherever the motion had been the lump lost bulk, so that gradually the whole piece shrank and shrank.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. while
B. although
C. so
D. because

8. The following is an excerpt from The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope:

After that we called on Bertram Bertrand, a versifier of some repute and Paris correspondent to The Critic. He had a very comfortable suite of rooms, and we found some pleasant fellows smoking and talking. It struck me, __________ that Bertram himself was absent and in low spirits, and when everybody except ourselves had gone, I rallied him on his moping preoccupation.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. however,
B. on one hand,
C. therefore,
D. nevertheless,

9. The following is an excerpt from the introduction to She, by H. Rider Haggard:

That same evening my visit came to an end, and this was the last I saw or heard of “Charon” and “the Greek god” for many a long day. __________ I have never seen either of them from that hour to this, and do not think it probable that I shall. But a month ago I received a letter and two packets, one of manuscript, and on opening the first found that it was signed by “Horace Holly,” a name that at the moment was not familiar to me.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. While,
B. Therefore,
C. Indeed,
D. Nevertheless,

10. The following is an excerpt from The Lion of Petra by Talbot Mundy:

The beginning as concerns me was when I moved into quarters in Grim’s mess in Jerusalem. As a civilian and a foreigner I could not have done that, __________ if it had been a real mess; but Grim, who gets fun out of side-stepping all regulations, had established a sort of semi-military boarding-house for junior officers who were tired of tents, and he was too high up in the Intelligence Department for anybody less than the administrator to interfere with him openly.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. but,
B. in addition,
C. while,
D. of course,


1. B.  The information before the blank is saying that the author doesn’t exactly know why Dorrington never cashed the 10,000-pound check. The sentence with the blank is saying that the check was found in his possession. The author is not repeating previous information, so answer A is incorrect. Answer C makes no logical sense. Answer D is incorrect because the author is not contrasting the two sentences. Instead, the author is offering more information about the check, making option B the best answer.

2. A. The general meaning of this passage is that George Tackle had no reason to be notable, except that his father was notable. This makes option A the best answer since we are contrasting the lack of importance of the son with the “pull” he gets from his father. Option B is incorrect as it makes the second sentence a fragment. Options C and D are incorrect as the author is not showing cause and effect. 

3. B. Here, the author is setting up a contrast. We learn that Tim is making snoring noises, but he is still watching through the mosquito netting for a shadow. Therefore, he isn’t actually asleep. The only answer option that shows the contrast between the snoring noises and his being awake is option B.

4. C. Notice the word “and” before the blank. This eliminates option A. Option B is incorrect as we are not placing things in order. Option D is incorrect as the author is not concluding. The author is offering additional information, making option C the best answer.

5. D. In this passage, the second sentence is showing an example of an attribute The Wiggle had which other small steamers did not have. This makes option D the only appropriate answer.

6. D. The author is offering more information here. The woman has refused thanks and set them on the shore. This makes option D the best answer. The author is not showing cause and effect, making A and B incorrect and is not showing contrast, making option C incorrect.

7. B. The sentence shows that the portions are full of motion. The author wants to contrast this with the motion never being regular or in one place. This contrast is best shown in answer B. Answer A leaves the sentence a fragment. Options C and D do not show contrast.

8. A. The context clue here is that they found “pleasant fellows” but Bertram was “in low spirits” these are two contrasting emotions, making “however” the best answer. Option B would need to be placed with the first item of contrast, not the second. Option C shows cause and effect, not contrast. Option D does not fit into the context of the sentence.

9. C. In this sentence, the author is adding more information to emphasize the information in the first sentence that “this was the last I saw or heard of [them] for many a long day”. This makes option C the best answer as it shows that what is coming next is additional information. Option A does not fit into the sentence structure of the second sentence. Option B shows cause and effect. Option D shows contrast.

10. D. The first sentence sets up that he could not do what he did. The second sentence explains why he could do that after all (by breaking rules). The keeping of the rules is to be assumed, thus “of course” is the best answer. The breaking of rules is not to be assumed. Options A, B, and C do not fit into the structure of the sentence.

Digital SAT Text Structure and Purpose Reading Practice Questions

The text from these questions is adapted from the book “How to Know the Wildflowers,” by Frances Theodora Parsons.

1. Pliny tells us that the anemone of the classics was so entitled because it opened at the wind’s bidding. The Greek tradition claims that it sprang from the passionate tears shed by Venus over the body of the slain Adonis. At one time it was believed that the wind which had passed over a field of anemones was poisoned and that disease followed in its wake. Perhaps because of this superstition, the flower was adopted as the emblem of sickness by the Persians. Surely our delicate blossom is far removed from any suggestion of disease or unwholesomeness, seeming instead to hold the very essence of spring and purity in its quivering cup.

What choice best states the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It explains how a plant caused illness historically.
B. It clarifies what Pliny believes about the use of the plant.
C. It presents a hypothesis as to the origin of a historic symbol.
D. It argues against a commonly held belief.

2. Ginseng is well known by name but is yearly becoming more scarce. The aromatic root is so greatly valued in China for its supposed power of combating fatigue and old age that it can only be gathered by order of the emperor. The forked specimens are believed to be the most powerful, and their fancied likeness to the human form has obtained for the plant the Chinese title of Jinchen (from which ginseng is a corruption), and the Indian one of Garntoguen, both of which, strangely enough, are said to signify like a man.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined information in text as a whole?
A. It explains the origin of an English word.
B. It clarifies a common mispronunciation of a Chinese word.
C. It gives the reader irrelevant information.
D. It allows the reader to visualize the plant.

3. He who seeks the cool shade of the evergreens on a hot July day is likely to discover the nodding wax-like flowers of this little plant. They are delicate and pretty, with a background of shining leaves. These leaves when young have a pleasant aromatic flavor similar to that of the sweet birch; they are sometimes used as a substitute for tea. The bright red berries are also edible and savory and are much appreciated by the hungry birds and deer during the winter. If not thus consumed, they remain upon the plant until the following spring when they either drop or rot upon the stem, thus allowing the seeds to escape.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It concludes the text with a detail about the safety of berry consumption.
B. It helps the reader understand how evergreens spread.
C. It clarifies the nutritional value of berries to the birds and deer.
D. It builds on the claim of the previous sentence.

4. The common knotweed, P. aviculare, which grows in such abundance in country dooryards and waste places, has slender, often prostrate, stems, and small greenish flowers, which are clustered in the axils of the leaves or spike at the termination of the stems. This is perhaps the “hindering knotgrass” to which Shakespeare refers in the “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” so terming it, not on account of its knotted trailing stems, but because of the belief that it would hinder the growth of a child.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined selection in the text as a whole?
A. It introduces a term from literature that will later be clarified.
B. It provides direct evidence for a previous claim.
C. It gives the exact words of a noted botanist.
D. It explains the use of a previously explained.

5. Despite the difference in the spelling of the names, it has been suggested [about the pokeweed] that the plant was called after President Polk. This is most improbable, as it was common throughout the country long before his birth, and its twigs are said to have been plucked and worn by his followers during his campaign for the Presidency.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It provides evidence as to the origin of the name Pokeweed.
B. It explains where a term originated.
C. It presents chronological information to assuage the reader’s doubts.
D. It refutes a claim as to the origin of a term.

6. This [Queen Anne’s Lace] is believed to be the stock from which the garden carrot was raised. The vegetable was well known to the ancients, and we learn from Pliny that the finest specimens were brought to Rome from Candia. When it was first introduced into Great Britain is not known, although the supposition is that it was brought over by the Dutch during the reign of Elizabeth. In the writings of Parkinson, we read that the ladies wore carrot leaves in their hair in place of feathers. One can picture the dejected appearance of a ball-room belle at the close of entertainment.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It presents literary evidence of a novel use for carrots.
B. It explains the depth and breadth of a tradition.
C. It helps the reader visualize Queen Elizabeth.
D. It gives evidence for the previous thought.

7. Some October day, as we pick our way through the salt marches which lie back of the beach, we may spy in the distance a thicket which looks as though composed of such white-flowered shrubs as belongs to June. Hastening to the spot we discover that the silky-tufted seeds of the female groundsel tree are responsible for our surprise. The shrub is much more noticeable and effective at this season than when—a few weeks previous—it was covered with its small white or yellowish flower-heads.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It sets the scene for a shocking discovery later in the text.
B. It describes an interesting discovery that is later explained in the text.
C. It sets the scene for an unusual activity.
D. It helps the reader visualize a normal setting.

8. The yellow lady’s slipper usually blossoms in May or June, a few days later than its pink sister, C. acaule. Regarding its favorite haunts, Mr. Baldwin says: “Its preference is for maples, beeches, and particularly butternuts, and for sloping of hilly ground, and I always look with glad suspicion at a knoll covered with ferns, cohoshes, and trilliums, expecting to see a clump of this plant among them. Its sentinel-like habit of choosing ‘slightly places’ leads it to venture well up on mountain sides.”

What choice best describes the function of the underlined phrase in the text as a whole?
A. It explains why the author does not believe Mr. Baldwin.
B. It gives a reason why Mr. Baldwin is suspicious of the yellow lady’s slipper.
C. It explains where Mr. Baldwin expects to find yellow lady’s slipper.
D. It explains what plants Mr. Baldwin expects to find on knolls.

9. If Emerson’s definition of a weed, as a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered, be correct, we can hardly place the dandelion in that category, for its young sprouts have been valued as a pot-herb, its fresh leaves enjoyed as a salad, and its dried roots used as a substitute for coffee in various countries and ages. The feathery-tufted seeds which form the downy balls beloved as “clocks” by country children, are delicately and beautifully adapted to dissemination by the wind. The common name is a corruption of the French dent de lion.

What choice best describes the function of the quotation marks around the underlined word in the overall structure of the text?
A. They place emphases on the word.
B. They show that the word is a direct quote from Emerson.
C. They show that, while they are treated like clocks, dandelions are not actual clocks.
D. They show that the word inside is not truly part of the sentence.

10. “Too well known as a pernicious weed which is difficult to extirpate,” is the scornful notice which the botany gives to Common St. John’s-wort whose bright yellow flowers are noticeable in waste fields and along roadsides nearly all summer. Its rank, rapid growth proves very exhausting to the soil, and every New England farmer wishes it had remained where it rightfully belongs—on the other side of the water.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined phrase in the overall structure of the text?
A. It explains the origin of St. John’s-wort.
B. It explains the origin of the farmers.
C. It clarifies the location of the St. John’s-wort.
D. It clarifies the location of the farmers.

Answer Explanations

1. C. In the passage, we learn that a story of wind passing over a field of anemones causing the wind to be poisoned and lead to disease. The next sentence uses the word “perhaps” to speculate that this may have been where an ancient symbol of disease originated. This makes (C) the best answer option. It is not (A) since this is a story, not a historical fact. It is not (B) as this is not something Pliny believed, but rather something modern historians hypothesize. It is not (D) since it does not argue against this belief.

2. A. We learn in the first sentence of the text that the text is discussing the plant Ginseng. The parenthetical information (the information between the parenthesis) clarifies that from this name comes “a corruption” of the Chinese title of the plant: Jinchen. This makes option (A) the best answer. Answer (B) is incorrect since Ginseng is an English word with a Chinese origin, not a mispronunciation of a Chinese word. Answer (C) is incorrect since the information is not irrelevant to the discussion. Answer (D) is incorrect as it does not give any idea of Ginseng’s visual appearance.

3. B. In the text, we learn that evergreens have bright berries that are often eaten by birds or deer. The underlined sentence then concludes that if they are not eaten, they fall or rot, thus spreading the seeds. With the spread of seeds, the evergreens also spread. This makes option (B) the best answer. Option (A) is incorrect as the underlined portion does not give any details about the safety of consuming berries. Option (C) is incorrect as it does not explain the nutritional value of eating the berries. Option (D) is incorrect as the previous sentence does not make a claim about uneaten berries.

4. A. The term “hindering knotgrass” is an unknown term when first introduced. The rest of the sentence explains that this was a term used by Shakespeare and that the author believes that Shakespeare may have been referring to the plant knotweed and why. This makes answer (A) the best option. (B) is incorrect as “hindering knotgrass” is not evidence of anything. (C) is incorrect as Shakespeare is not a noted botanist. (D) is incorrect as the term is not previously explained term.

5. D. The second sentence explains why it isn’t possible that pokeweed was named after President Polk. This makes sentence (D) the best option—the term “pokeweed” didn’t come from President Polk. (A) and (B) are the exact opposite of what the sentence is doing. (C) is incorrect as it does not assuage doubts.

6. D. In the previous sentence the author states that it is thought that the carrot came to England during the reign of Elizabeth. The next sentence gives evidence for this by explaining that ladies were wearing carrot leaves in their hair, meaning the carrots must have been brought over. Option (A) is incorrect as it is historical evidence, not literary evidence. Option (B) is incorrect as there is no evidence that the wearing of carrot leaves is a tradition, rather it seems to have been a fad. Option (C) is incorrect as the sentence does not describe how Queen Elizabeth looked, but rather an accessory that she might have worn.

7. B. The sentence in question notes that “we” are out walking in October, yet see plants in the distance that look like they have June flowers on them. This is an interesting discovery. The rest of the text goes on to explain the plant that has these curious late-season flowers. This makes (B) the best option. (A) is incorrect as we can’t describe this as a shocking discovery. Option (C) is incorrect as the plant is unusual, not the activity. (D) is incorrect as the sentence helps the reader visualize an unusual setting (with flowers in October) not a normal setting.

8. C. The underlined sentence explains that the speaker, Mr. Balwin, always looks with “glad suspicion” at certain areas, “expecting to see a clump of this plant” (C. Acaule). This means he expects to find C. Acaule among the other plants mentioned, making option (C) the best answer. Answer (A) is incorrect as these are Mr. Baldwin’s words, not suspicion on the part of the author. Option (B) is incorrect as Mr. Baldwin is not suspicious of a plant, but rather looks “suspiciously” at where the plant grows. Option (D) is incorrect as he doesn’t expect knolls in general to have certain plants, but when they have fens, cohoshes, and trilliums, he expects to find yellow lady’s slipper as well.

9. C. In this instance the quotation marks are being used as a person might use what we call “air quotes” to show that the speaker does not mean the literal use of the word. (C) is the best option as the author does not mean to say that the dandelions are being used as literal clocks. Option (A) is incorrect as the quotes are used to show non-standard use of the word, not to place emphasis. Option (B) is incorrect as the word is not a direct quote. Option (C) is incorrect as the word “clocks” is indeed part of the sentence.

10. A. The New England farmer wishes that the plant had remained “on the other side of the water”. In this case, there is only one body of water that all New England farmers could refer to in such a vague way—the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, St. Joh’s Wort must have origins somewhere on the other side of the ocean. This makes option (A) the best answer. Option (B) is incorrect as it is the origin of the plant, not the farmers, to which is being referred. Option (C) is incorrect as St. John’s wort has spread, and so its original location is no longer its only location. It is not option (D) as the farmers are in New England.

Using Your PSAT Scores

The first Digital PSAT was administered to students throughout the United States in October of 2023. In past years, most students did not receive their results until December. This year, PSAT results will be available much earlier–some PSAT test scores will come out on November 6th, and some will come out on November 16th. How can you make the best use of your PSAT results?

See if you may qualify for National Merit Scholarship Recognition. Look at your National Merit Selection Index, which ranges between 48-228 and is calculated by doubling your Reading/Writing score and adding this to your Math score. Depending on the state or territory in which you live, the selection index is likely to be anywhere between 207 and 223. For example, New Mexico and North Dakota have lower selection indices, while New Jersey and Massachusetts have higher selection indices.

Use the BigFuture application to connect with colleges and scholarship opportunities. Go to to download the app. One of the biggest reasons for the PSAT is so that colleges can use the results to connect with students who may be a good fit for their student body. Be prepared to get plenty of emails from colleges who are interested in having you apply.

Do targeted review using Khan Academy. Be sure your College Board account is connected to Khan Academy. Here is an article on how to do this. Once your account is connected, Khan Academy can provide review materials for you based on the types of questions you missed on the PSAT.

Prepare for the Digital SAT that starts in March of 2024. The Digital PSAT gave you an excellent preview of the Digital SAT, since both tests have the same format, timing, and interface. Use your PSAT results to help you determine where you most need to focus your preparation leading up to the actual SAT. If you need help with your preparation, our highly trained Digital SAT tutors are ready to assist.

Educator Question Bank for the Digital SAT

The College Board has made a comprehensive Digital SAT Question bank available on their website:

You can select certain question types, like Rhetorical Synthesis or Transitions, and create a PDF document that features those questions. It looks like many of the questions are repeats from the Bluebook SAT tests and the Khan Academy questions, so be prepared to have some overlap between the questions in this database and the questions in those other resources. Even so, this will be a valuable tool for students trying to prepare for the Digital SAT and Digital PSAT.

PSAT, ACT, and SAT Planning for High School Juniors

High school juniors in the United States have a very interesting year of testing options ahead of them. There are a total of four major tests that students will have the opportunity to take: the Digital PSAT, the Paper SAT, the ACT, and the Digital SAT. Who should focus on which of these different types of tests?

Digital PSAT: Administered in the month of October through a student’s high school. Students who are trying to earn National Merit recognition should prepare for this exam. National Merit recognition generally applies to students who score in the 95th percentile or above, and National Merit Scholarships usually go to students who score above the 99th percentile. For students who do not think that a National Merit award is in reach, taking the Digital PSAT is still an excellent way to try the adaptive, digital format they will find on the Digital SAT. Scores for the Digital PSAT will be back in November, so students will have plenty of time to review their PSAT results to prepare for the Digital SAT in the spring.

Paper SAT: Administered in August, October, November, and December of 2023. After these administrations, the current paper SAT will be retired and replaced with a Digital SAT. For students who want to take advantage of the expansive body of existing practice tests and review books, taking the paper SAT before it goes away is a good idea. Results from the paper SAT will still be fully utilized by colleges, so students would have nothing to lose by giving the paper SAT a try before they no longer have the opportunity to do so.

ACT: Administered throughout 2023-2024. In general, students who are faster test takers like the ACT. This is a good test to take if you have taken through Algebra 2 and a bit of pre-calculus. The ACT covers more math material than the Digital SAT: logarithms, matrices, hyperbolas/ellipses, and combinations/permutations. It also has a broader array of grammar concepts than does the Digital SAT: wordiness, idioms, diction, and sentence placement. Fortunately, students who want to take the ACT can use many excellent books and practice tests to prepare for this well-established test.

Digital SAT: Administered in the United States beginning in March, 2024 and continuing thereafter. The Digital SAT will be offered on national test dates, and many schools will offer it during the school day given the relatively short amount of time that taking the Digital SAT requires. Students will have their Digital PSAT results back in November of 2023 so they can evaluate whether the Digital SAT is a good fit for them. There is a great deal of overlap in the content between the ACT and Digital SAT, so if students wish to switch from one test to the other, it should be fairly seamless.

Please contact us if we can advise you as to the best testing plan for this upcoming school year.

Digital PSAT Practice Test Available

For students preparing for the PSAT/NMSQT this fall, the College Board has made a linear PSAT practice test available. This test is longer than what students who are taking the adaptive computer version will take but offers some excellent practice material.

Here is the link to the Digital PSAT Practice Test.

Here is the link to the Digital PSAT Practice Test Solutions.

Students preparing for the Digital PSAT can also use full-length Digital SAT practice tests since the timing and format of the two tests are identical.