The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Say bye to bubble sheets, and hello to new digital Bluebook

The new digital SAT/PSAT is now adaptive and modifies the questions based on previous answers. Students went from bubbling in answers clicking through test screens.

Since 1926, students taking the College Board’s SAT and PSAT exams heard pencil scratches as people filled in multiple-choice bubbles in an otherwise silent room. Starting this year, the sound of clicking and typing will take over, as these exams will be changed to a fully online version leaving students and administration with mixed emotions.

In March 2024, the College Board will launch the new digital SAT. The test will now be almost an hour shorter. The current SAT is three hours long whereas the new version will only be two hours and 14 minutes. With the test now taking less time, the sections within the test will also be shorter, the reading portion of the test will only be 32 minutes instead of 65 minutes.

According to the College Board website , the test will also become adaptive, meaning students’ performance in the first half of the math and English sections will dictate the difficulty of the next half of each section. The adaptive feature consists of a variety of questions ranging from easy, medium to hard. If a student can represent that they can answer a hard question in a section the test will adapt for them to have harder questions in the following section. According to college counselor Lenny Libenzon, this new adaptive feature will have an impact on the number of points that students can receive on their final scores.

“The easier group can get approximately anywhere from 200 to 600 max. But if you split them into a harder group, you can get anywhere from 400 to 800,” Libenzon said.

With any new technology, mixed opinions are to be expected. Junior David Katsman arrived to take the new digital PSAT and said he experienced many issues regarding how it was handled, specifically with the testing conditions.

“They said that they don’t actually have to provide a smooth writing surface and that kind of sounded weird,” Katzman said. “I searched it up and they actually do have to provide [desks]. I asked the proctor this and she said that’s only for the SAT, not for the PSAT, which is also not true.”

According to Brookline District Attendance Officer Michael Chan, The College Board said in a presentation that students will be able to access their scores much quicker than before. The use of online calculators on the test will allow for less cheating and will make the test more secure. All of these new features of the online test will be advantages of the new format. Chan said he disagrees with how the new test is being launched.

“They’re actually making all test centers test digital by March, and they used the PSAT as sort of a soft launch for the software,” Chan said. “I disagree with this, throw it into the fire like a frying pan sort of approach.”

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