Mojza Blog

Digital SAT 101

by Zoella Ahmed, Emaan Asif, Wardah Rasheed, Rehan Ibrahim | 13 August 2023

SAT Introduction

The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardised test used worldwide for college/university admissions. It assesses a high school student’s readiness for college in terms of basic subjects, such as Mathematics and English. Started in 1926, it is administered by the CollegeBoard® — a non-profit, private organisation. 

The highest attainable score is 1600 points, whereas the average score achieved is 1060 points. 

How to Register for the SAT

SAT Registration Page

First things first, to register for the SAT, you need to create a collegeboard account.
After creating your account, head over to register for your SAT, which will require you to fill in personal information regarding your nationality, passport details, biographic and geographic information along with centre selection. The typical SAT fee is around 103 USD.

Importance of the SAT

While a handful of universities have become SAT-optional, having a good SAT score remains a crucial factor for university applications, as it can help you stand out for scholarships and financial aid, especially as an international student. It assures the college/university that your basic skills in English and Mathematics are up to the mark.

Paper to Digital SAT Transition

The SAT used to be a conventional pen-and-paper test. However, Digital SAT has formally replaced the conventional SAT internationally since March 2023—although, inside the US territories, Digital SAT will be in practice after the Spring of 2024. So, all the SAT exams taken internationally (except in the US) will now be held in the digital format rather than the conventional paper-pen format. A lot has changed, but for the better, of course! The Digital SAT brought with it a plethora of benefits, ranging from shorter texts in the Reading and Writing section, to allowing students more time per question, all while continuing to measure the test-taker’s knowledge and skills much more efficiently. 

Changes to the SAT

As the SAT is now digital, you need to download the Bluebook app to take your official test on test day.


Bluebook logo
Bluebook is a custom-built application for the Digital SAT, which you must download onto your device before taking the SAT at the test centre. Then, 1-5 days before your test, you will complete a quick exam setup, which will confirm if your device meets all the requirements, download your test, and generate your admission ticket.

Use this link to download Bluebook.

Useful features of Bluebook

  1. A calculator and a reference sheet containing common formulae for maths questions. (You may also bring your own calculator).
  2. An annotation tool to highlight text or leave yourself a note for the Reading and Writing questions.
  3. Crossing out an option on the multiple-choice questions if you think it’s incorrect.
  4. Zooming in and out the screen.
  5. A built-in timer.
  6. A “Help” icon for troubleshooting tips.
  7. A way to mark questions for reviewing to come back to them later.

Adaptive Testing

Adaptive testing allows the SAT exam to change in real time based on how well, or how poorly, the student performs. This means if your first module went well, you will face more challenging questions in the second module. Similarly, if your first module went bad, the second module will consist of relatively easier questions.

Overall, the structure of the exam has also changed. The total time has been reduced to two hours and fourteen minutes. Additionally, the result for the Digital SAT comes out earlier as compared to that of the previous paper format.

Digital SAT Structure

The Digital SAT has two sections: Reading and Writing (which is one section) and Math, each worth 800 points. The test takes 2 hours and 14 minutes to complete, with a 10-minute break between the two sections. The first module consists of a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions, while the second module’s difficulty depends on the first module (this is where the adaptive learning aspect comes into play). Most questions are multiple-choice, and there is no penalty for guessing. Universities may use a super score policy, taking the highest section scores across all applicants into consideration. This way, you can retake the SAT multiple times and the highest scores of each section will be taken into account by the universities. The College Board also offers Score Choice, allowing students to choose which scores to send to a specific university.

Changes to the Reading and Writing Section

The Reading and Writing sections used to be separate, but these topics have now been combined. The section is divided into two modules. The passages will be shorter, instead of a few long ones, and will be tied to just one question. The multiple-choice questions will include new question types from four content domains:

  1. Craft and Structure: words and phrases in context, making connections between multiple related texts
  2. Information and Ideas: using and evaluating information from various texts and infographics
  3. Standard English Conventions: making texts conform to the conventions of standard English.
  4. Expression of Ideas: revising texts to improve the effectiveness of written expression.

Changes to the Math Section

The Digital SAT’s Math section tests students on essential college and career maths topics, including:

  1. Algebra
  2. Advanced maths
  3. Problem-solving 
  4. Data analysis
  5. Geometry and trigonometry

The Math section of the Digital SAT has changed relatively little compared to the Reading and Writing sections. The only notable differences are that calculators are now allowed throughout the entire Math section, and a graphing calculator (DESMOS) is integrated into Bluebook. It is recommended to only use the digital calculator if you are experienced in navigating it. Some test takers suggest bringing your own calculator. In the Math section, questions in context (i.e. word problems) will be more concise. The digital format will make testing more secure and allow for unique test forms.

The official SAT syllabus content alignment can be found on the College Board website if you follow this link.

SAT Resources

When it comes to preparing for the SAT digitally, several online resources are available that can help you practise and improve your skills. Here are some popular resources:

  1. Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers free SAT practice resources in partnership with the College Board. It provides personalised study plans, practice questions, video lessons, and full-length practice tests as well.
  2. The College Board Official SAT Practice: The College Board offers official SAT practice materials, including practice tests, sample questions, and answer explanations. You can access these resources online or through their mobile app.
  3. PrepScholar: PrepScholar offers free SAT practice questions, video explanations, study guides, and articles to help you prepare for the SAT. They also have premium options for more in-depth study programs.
  4. UWorld: UWorld offers a comprehensive SAT preparation program that includes practice questions, performance tracking, and detailed explanations. They offer a free trial and a subscription-based model for access to their full content.
  5. Ivy Global: Ivy Global offers free online SAT practice tests, study guides, and answer explanations. They also offer premium books and study materials for a more comprehensive preparation. collaborating with New Summits, Ivy Global also provides quality education consulting.
  6. provides video explanations for SAT practice tests. You can watch expert walkthroughs of each test question, helping you understand the strategies and concepts behind them.
  7. SAT Reddit: The Reddit SAT community is a helpful resource for finding study tips, advice, and discussions related to the SAT. You can interact with other test-takers, ask questions, and learn from their experiences.

If you prefer learning through academies, you may find it helpful to use online learning platforms such as Tutoria, PrepVista, and PrepBull. These academic platforms are highly reliable and popular. On the other hand, if you are a self-paced learner, you can create your own schedule and use the websites and resources mentioned above.

Strategies to Crack the Test

Here are Mojza’s tips for cracking the Digital SAT: 

  1. Familiarise Yourself with the Digital Format: Get comfortable with the digital format of the SAT by practising on a computer or tablet through the Bluebook app. Use official College Board practice tests in the digital format to simulate the test experience. This will help you get accustomed to the interface, tools, and navigation features.
  2. Practise Time Management: The Digital SAT has a built-in timer for each section. Practice managing your time effectively during practice tests to ensure you complete each section within the allotted time. 
  3. Learn the Digital Tools: Understand the digital tools available during the test, such as the highlighter, strikeout, calculator, and passage navigation features. Practice using these tools effectively to aid your comprehension, solve problems, and save time.
  4. Develop a Test-Taking Strategy: Create a strategy that works for you based on your strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Review and Analyse Practice Tests: After completing practice tests, thoroughly review your answers and understand the explanations for both correct and incorrect choices. Identify patterns of mistakes and areas that need improvement.
  6. Strengthen Content Knowledge: While the digital format may be new, the content of the SAT remains mostly the same. Ensure you have a strong foundation in the tested subjects, including reading comprehension, grammar, maths concepts, and problem-solving techniques.
  7. Stay Calm and Confident: Maintain a positive mindset and approach the Digital SAT with confidence. Remember that preparation and practice will help you feel more comfortable on test day. Stay calm, manage test anxiety with relaxation techniques, and maintain a focused mindset throughout the exam.

Remember, consistent practice and targeted preparation are key to performing well on the Digital SAT. Take advantage of available resources, devise a study plan, and adapt your strategies based on your strengths and weaknesses. 

What to Bring on Test Day

On the SAT test day, it’s important to come prepared and bring all necessary items with you to ensure a smooth testing experience. Here’s a list of items to bring with you:

  1. Admission Ticket: Print a copy of your SAT admission ticket from your College Board account. Double-check that all the information is accurate, including your name, test centre, and test date.
  2. Acceptable Photo ID: For those appearing in Pakistan, you need a valid passport as your ID but for other countries, IDs such as a driver’s licence and school ID are acceptable. However, check with the College Board here for a list of acceptable forms of identification. Make sure your photo is recognisable, and the ID is not expired.
  3. Electronic Devices: Bring your own electronic device, unless you have requested collegeboard for one, with a charging cable in case the battery runs out, though college board cannot guarantee the availability of charging ports at all test centres. Ensure that you have Bluebook installed before going to the test centre. 
  4. Calculator and Stationery: Although there is a DESMOS calculator and annotating tool in Bluebook, we would recommend you to bring a pencil or two to do some rough work. You will be provided with paper at your test centre. We would also recommend bringing a calculator you are familiar with to save time and be more efficient. 
  5. Snacks and Water: We would recommend taking along an energy bar that you can eat during the break that you will get before the Math section of the test begins.
SAT Checklist

Preparing for the SAT can be a stressful and scary journey, but with the right mindset and tools, you can absolutely make it work. Utilise this blog Mojza created to help you through your Digital SAT journey and don’t be afraid to reach out to teachers or tutors for extra help. Remember to pace yourself, stay focused, and trust in your abilities. Good luck on your SAT journey!


Who can appear for the SAT?

Anyone! Whether you’re pursuing your O’ Levels or A’ Levels, a middle-schooler or an adult, you can take the SAT.

How difficult is the SAT?

No test can be described as hard or easy. It all depends on the examinee’s knowledge. It is understandable that the SAT has a reputation for being a difficult test because of the strict time limits and the questions that are tailor-made to baffle you.

What is the registration fee?

In Pakistan, it is currently USD 103 (click here to see the equivalent amount in PKR). It is best, however, to consult the website.
For the U.S: Registration fees
For other areas: Registration fees

What is a good SAT score?

Any score above about 1100 is considered a perfectly acceptable score, and obtaining a score of 1350 or above will probably put you among the top 10% of  test takers. Still, you should consult the website of your desired college/university and learn of their SAT score requirement. However, there is one common perception regarding the SAT score: the higher, the better.

What components of the SAT have been discontinued?

The optional SAT essay was discontinued in June 2021, now only available in the states where it’s required as a part of the SAT School Day administrations. The SAT subject tests have also been discontinued as of January 2021.

Is the SAT compulsory?

That depends on the college/university you are aiming for. If an SAT score is one of their admission requirements, then it is compulsory. Mostly, only private universities require your SAT scores for admissions.

Is the Digital SAT more difficult than the paper one?

Well, it depends on how well-prepared you are. A student who can score 800 in paper SAT Math will likely achieve a similar score of 800 or within the range of 780-790 in the Digital SAT’s Math section.


Transition and changes

Authors: Zoella Ahmed, Emaan Asif, Wardah Rasheed, Rehan Ibrahim
Proofreaders: Syed Muhammad Shaheer Ali, Maryam Farhan


About Mojza

Mojza is a student-led organisation aiming to provide quality resources for Cambridge students.

Other than such weekly blogs, Mojza offers resources for your O levels, IGCSE, and A levels journey. We have notes from reputable teachers, our own original notes and a library of other helpful websites and resources!

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Published 11 November 2022
Last Updated: 13 August 2023
Written by Zoella Ahmed, Emaan Asif, Wardah Rasheed, Rehan Ibrahim