• The SAT is going digital in 2024 with two broad sections: Reading & Writing and Math.
  • Each section is split into two modules, with your performance on the first part determining the difficulty of the second. 
  • Some schools offer free access to online test preparation platforms through their subscriptions. Check with your school to see if they offer this service.
  • Aim for an SAT score that is on par with or higher than the average score accepted by your dream school, but apply even if you’re below that—admissions offices consider many factors.
  • College Board’s Skills Insight tool can help you estimate your SAT score based on your current skills and knowledge. More details are provided below.

The SAT is a tough cookie, but it’s also a golden opportunity to show off your grit and tenacity. You can spin yarns about your SAT prep adventure in your college application essays.

It’s not just about the final score, but the whole enchilada—the late-night cramming sessions, the unyielding chase for perfection, and the determination to bring your A-game. It’s about setting your sights on a goal, hustling to reach it, and gaining wisdom along the way. 

And when you finally step up to give it your all, you know you’ve earned your place. So, open up your books and laptop and tap your study-timer to go.

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardized test widely used for college admissions. Here are a few reasons why you might consider taking the SAT:

  • College Admissions: Many colleges and universities, especially in the U.S., use SAT scores as one of the many factors in admissions decisions. A good score can help you stand out among other applicants.
  • Scholarship Opportunities: Some scholarships use SAT scores as part of their criteria for eligibility. A high SAT score can potentially open doors to financial aid.
  • Skills Assessment: The SAT tests your skills in reading, writing, and math – subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. These are skills that are critical for success in college and beyond.
  • Comparative Tool: Since it’s a standardized test, SAT provides a fair platform for colleges to compare the credentials of students from different backgrounds and schools.
  • Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses: Your SAT score can help identify academic areas where you excel or need improvement, which can guide your preparation for college-level coursework.

The SAT is switching to a digital format in 2024. You can take the test on a desktop, laptop, Chromebook, or iPad, either school-owned or personal, running on Windows or Mac. However, cell phones are not permitted for testing.

One advantage of the digital test is quicker score reports, available within days instead of weeks. This allows you to know your performance sooner and decide if a retake is necessary.

The digital SAT will only be administered in schools and designated testing centers, not at home, with a proctor present during the exam. The SAT School Day will continue, just in an online format.

Accommodations for paper testing will still be available for those who need them, including extended time, text to speech, braille, etc. These accommodations will remain the same as those offered for the paper-only SAT.

Here are the test dates for SAT 2024 going digital:

SAT Test DateRegistration DeadlineDeadline for Changes, Regular Cancellation, and Late Registration
Mar 9, 2024Feb 23, 2024February 27, 2024
May 4, 2024Apr 19, 2024April 23, 2024
June 1, 2024May 16, 2024May 21, 2024
August 24, 2024 (Anticipated)Yet to arriveYet to arrive
October 5, 2024 (Anticipated)Yet to arriveYet to arrive
November 2, 2024 (Anticipated)Yet to arriveYet to arrive
December 7, 2024 (Anticipated)Yet to arriveYet to arrive
Source: https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/digital/digital-testing/dates-deadlines

Here’s how the new digital SAT is going to be structured in a nutshell:

SAT Sections:

The SAT contains two broad sections:

  • Reading & Writing
  • Math

And every section is again broken down into two equal length modules with the same overall structure. But the difficulty of these questions vary by each module. 

The digital SAT introduces adaptive testing. Your performance on the first module impacts the difficulty of the second. And this “adaptive testing” applies to both the reading and writing and math sections.

You can start your test with the ‘reading’ questions, then move on to the ‘writing’ ones. After a 10-minute break, you can dive into the math section.

SAT Scoring:

Your SAT score will range from 400 to 1600—that’s 200 to 800 for each separate section. 

SAT Timing:

The digital SAT takes a total of 2 hours and 14 minutes to complete. This includes 64 minutes (32 + 32 minutes) for the 54 questions in the reading and writing section, and 70 minutes (35 + 35 minutes) for the 44 questions in the math section.

Things to Note:

  • Most questions are multiple choice, but some math ones ask you to enter the answer instead of picking it.
  • An on-screen graphing calculator will be available during both math modules, and you can also bring your own calculators.
  • Make sure to answer all questions, there’s no downside to guessing. You never know, you might just stumble upon the correct answer.
SAT Tips & Tricks

Here are some awesome tips and tricks for effective study habits, time management strategies, and test-taking techniques that have worked wonders for many students. Whether you’re just kicking off your SAT prep or hunting for eleventh-hour advice, these pointers are bound to arm you with the confidence and know-how you need to nail your best score.

Related: The College Application Checklist You Need to Succeed!

Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are an invaluable resource when studying for the SAT. They simulate the actual test environment and can help you understand the pacing of the test. Additionally, practice tests can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus your study efforts more effectively.

Disclaimer: These websites might share your name and info with colleges, but don’t worry—you can totally opt out of this. Just head over to their privacy sections on their websites and take control of your data.

    Review Your Mistakes

    After taking a practice test, don’t just move on. Spend time reviewing each question you got wrong. Try to understand why you choose the incorrect answer and what the correct answer should have been. This process can help you identify patterns in your mistakes and avoid them in the future.

    Use Study Materials & Other Resources At School

    There are many resources available for SAT preparation. These include prep books, online courses, and study guides. These materials often provide practice questions, detailed explanations, and test-taking strategies. Choose the resources that best fit your learning style and study habits.

    • Your school library may have a section dedicated to test preparation. This could include SAT prep books, practice tests, and study guides. You can ask your school librarian for help in locating these resources.
    • Your school’s guidance counselor can be a valuable resource. They can provide advice on how to prepare for the SAT, suggest study strategies, and may even be able to connect you with tutors or study groups.
    • Some schools have subscriptions to online test prep platforms that you can access for free. These platforms often include practice tests, video lessons, and interactive quizzes. Check with your school to see if they offer this service.
    • Your school may have SAT study groups where students can collaborate and help each other prepare for the test. These groups can provide a supportive environment to discuss test strategies and solve practice questions together.
    • Some schools organize free workshops or seminars led by teachers or external experts to help students prepare for the SAT. These sessions can provide valuable insights into the test format and tips on how to approach different sections of the test.

    Related: Most Popular College Entrance Exams

    Create a SAT Study Plan

    Consistency is key when studying for the SAT. Create a study schedule that allocates specific times for studying each day. This can help ensure that you’re regularly reviewing material and not cramming at the last minute.

    Your target score is one of the major factors to consider in creating an SAT study schedule. You would try for an SAT score that is equal to or greater than the average score that your dream school deems acceptable.

    Once you know what your target score is, it’s time to find out what your baseline score should be. It is best to refer to your scores from practice tests to identify your baseline score. Depending on your available time and target score, you can create a study plan that suits your needs. Here is a possible SAT study plan to consider:

    Week 1-2:

    • Identify your target score and baseline score.
    • Take a full-length practice test to establish your baseline score.
    • Review your test results to identify areas of strength and weakness.

    Week 3-8:

    • Allocate specific times each day for studying. For example, you could study for 1 hour each weekday and 2 hours each day on the weekend.
    • Focus on one section of the SAT each week (Reading & Writing, Math).
    • Use SAT prep books, online resources, and practice problems to study.
    • At the end of each week, take a practice test on the section you studied to track your progress.

    Week 9-12:

    • Review all sections of the SAT.
    • Take full-length practice tests under timed conditions.
    • Review your test results and continue to focus on areas of weakness.

    Week 13:

    • In the final week before the SAT, continue to review all sections but avoid cramming.
    • Take one last full-length practice test at the start of the week.
    • Spend the last few days before the test relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.

    NOTE: 

    Looking at the study plan we’ve laid out, feel free to tweak it to suit your needs. If there are areas you’re struggling with, spend more time on those. Adjust your pace depending on how much time you have left before the big test day. This plan is not set in stone—it’s all about what works best for you. Whether you want to take it easy or go full steam ahead, the choice is yours.

    Focus on Vocabulary

    The SAT tests a wide range of vocabulary. You’re often asked to define words based on how they’re used in the passage. Practice this skill by reading a variety of texts and trying to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words from their context. 

    Consider using flashcards or a vocabulary app to learn faster and efficiently. Improving your vocabulary for the SAT involves a combination of reading, effective memorization techniques, and consistent practice. Here are some more actionable tips for you:

    Read as Much as Possible

    Reading is one of the most effective ways to build your vocabulary. It exposes you to a wide range of words and phrases, and helps you understand how they are used in context.

    Use Effective Memorization Techniques

    Techniques such as spaced repetition and mnemonic devices can help you remember new words. Here’s how:

    Spaced repetition is a study strategy that has you reviewing information at increasing intervals over time. It’s a proven way to really get that info to stick in your brain.

    Here’s how you do it:

    • Learn something new.
    • Review it after a short break, like 15-20 minutes.
    • If you remembered it right, review it again after a longer break, like 1-2 days.
    • Keep this up, making the breaks longer each time you remember the info right.

    Mnemonic devices are hacks to help you remember stuff. They’re especially handy when you’ve got a lot of info to remember, like a list of steps or parts.

    Here’s how you use ’em:

    • Acronyms: Make a word where each letter stands for the first letter of each word you need to remember.
    • Visual Imagery: Think of a picture that helps you remember a word or name.
    • Rhymes and Songs: Make up a rhyme or song that helps you remember the info.
    • Method of Loci (Memory Palace): Think of a place and associate each item you’re trying to remember with a specific image in that place.

    Use It or Lose It

    Regularly using new words in your writing and conversation helps reinforce your memory and understanding of these words.

    Invest in a Prep Book

    SAT prep books often provide lists of common SAT words and can be a helpful resource.

    Practice Your Math Skills

    During your study sessions, fully understand the problem before you begin to solve it. This might involve reading the problem a few times or breaking it down into smaller parts. It’s a good practice to write down the ASK of the problem—helping you identify your solution approach.

    Different problems may require different strategies. This could involve drawing a diagram, making a list, applying a formula, or working backwards. Once you have a plan, implement it. Be patient and take your time to ensure you’re following the steps correctly.

    TIP:

    The College Board, the regulatory organization behind the SAT, provides a valuable tool for students aiming to achieve a specific score. This tool, known as Skills Insight, allows you to predict your SAT score based on your current skills and knowledge.

    Read Regularly

    The reading and writing section is a two-part challenge. It’s like a literary triathlon where you’ll swim through various texts, cycle through different writing styles, and run towards the finish line of comprehension.

    In the reading portion, you’ll come across a wide range of passages from literature, history/social studies, and science. Don’t just read the text, interact with it. Be an active reader—question the author’s intent, predict the plot twists, and paraphrase complex ideas in your own words. This will help you grasp the crux of the passage and the finer details.

    The writing portion is your chance to show your understanding of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Brush up on subject-verb agreement, pronoun usage, and punctuation rules. A unique feature of the SAT is its emphasis on evidence-based answers. So, make it a habit to refer back to the passage to find supporting evidence for your answers. 

    Take Care of Your Health

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key when preparing for the SAT. Start with your diet—eating balanced meals is crucial. Try to incorporate foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates. These can help boost your brain function and keep your energy levels high.

    Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates can boost brain function and energy levels. Don’t forget to take breaks and engage in activities you enjoy. This can help prevent burnout and keep your mind fresh.

    Physical activity is another important aspect. Regular exercise, even something as simple as a short walk, can help reduce stress and increase your focus. It’s not all about hitting the books, your body needs attention too!

    Balance is the name of the game. Make sure to take regular breaks from studying and engage in activities you enjoy. This can help prevent burnout and keep your mind fresh. Also, don’t neglect your mental health. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, consider talking to someone about it or practicing mindfulness techniques.

    Sleep is another major factor. Getting enough sleep is essential for memory consolidation and cognitive function. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, even when the temptation to pull an all-nighter hits.

    Lastly, good time management can make a world of difference. Develop a study schedule that suits your learning style and stick to it. But make sure you include rest and exercise so you’ll be able to do your best when test day arrives.

    Related: Things to Pack on the Test Day

    sat study plan

    If you’re short on preparation time, our 15-day SAT study plan can guide you through a focused and effective schedule. Check it out:

    Day 1-3: Understanding the Test and Identifying Weak Areas

    After School: Spend 2 hours each day familiarizing yourself with the test format and content. Use this time to take a practice test and identify your weak areas.

    • Hour 1: Review the SAT format, types of questions, and scoring system.
    • Hour 2: Start a full-length practice test.

    Weekend: Review your practice test, understand your mistakes, and identify your weak areas.

    Day 4-12: Focused Learning and Practice

    After School: Spend 2 hours each day studying. Focus on your weak areas first. Use SAT prep books or online resources for targeted learning.

    • Hour 1: Review concepts and practice problems related to your weak areas.
    • Hour 2: Practice problems from other areas.

    Weekend: Take a full-length practice test under timed conditions. Spend the rest of the day reviewing your answers.

    • Hour 1-4: Take a full-length practice test.
    • Hour 5-6: Review the test, focusing on understanding your mistakes.

    Day 13-14: Review and Final Practice

    After School: Spend 2 hours each day reviewing all the sections and practicing questions.

    • Hour 1: Review concepts from all sections.
    • Hour 2: Practice a mix of problems from all sections.

    Weekend: Take a full-length practice test under timed conditions. Spend the rest of the day relaxing.

    • Hour 1-4: Take a full-length practice test.
    • Hour 5-6: Light review and relaxation.

    Day 15: The Day before the Test

    Morning: Light review of key concepts (1 hour).

    Afternoon and Evening: Relax and get a good night’s sleep.

    The strategies we’ve discussed are not just tools for acing a test, but skills for life—they’re about understanding how you learn, manage your time effectively, and approaching challenges with confidence.

    Every question you ask, every concept you grapple with, and every problem you solve adds another piece to the puzzle of your understanding. And with each piece, you’re not just preparing for a test, but building a foundation of skills and knowledge that will serve you well beyond the classroom. And that, in itself, is a victory worth celebrating.

    When should you take the SAT?

    It’s recommended to take the SAT for the first time in the spring of your junior year so that you have an opportunity to retake the test in the fall of your senior year if you’re not satisfied with your score.

    How long should you study for the SAT?

    A common recommendation is to spend about 10-20 hours per week studying for at least 10 weeks leading up to the test.

    How many hours is the SAT?

    The SAT test duration is approximately 2 hours and 14 minutes. This does not include the break, check-in time, and other administrative tasks, which can make the total time spent at the testing center longer.