We are excited about the ‘new’ SAT. When the SAT changed in March 2016, it was a better and more relevant version of the earlier bulky vocabulary-intensive SAT. If that is an experience to judge by, the Digital SAT (DSAT) is, in all probability, going to give the SAT a fresh lease of life. As a robust training center engaged in training for the ACT, AP and SAT for many years, Option loves challenges and invariably is ready well in advance to face them. Our active engagement with students writing the erstwhile SAT version since 2016 has afforded us opportunities to gauge not only test takers but also the test: year after year and test after test, we have trained students – some succumbed, some struggled, some survived, and many excelled despite the challenges and idiosyncrasies of the test.
This obviously allowed us to identify the pros and cons as well as the deficiencies of the test. By end 2019, it was almost certain that the test was assuming an aggressive posture and was nowhere as simple as many prep materials made it out to be. In particular, the READING SECTION was the gordian knot of the exercise and proved fatal even for many academically sound students because of the sheer length of the passages, the excess of the questions on each passage and the obvious paucity of time – a recipe for disaster and that too at the start of the test!!!!! Another disconcerting aspect of the earlier SAT was the inclusion of calculator and non-calculator MATH SECTIONS.
That the DSAT – prima facie – has been engineered to create a more flexible, conductive, and relevant test prep and test taking experience is obvious. The most attractive feature of the test is that it is shorter – 2 hours some minutes only! That alone should put students in a comfortable space viz a viz the test. And the fact that the test shall be administered 7 times in the year and that results shall be declared in a few days (not 2+ weeks!!!) leave us very sure that more students will be willing to attempt the test.
In sum, trainers and students can look forward to a ‘different’ teaching and learning experience. The emphasis of the DSAT is clearly to woo students and to test their skills of knowledge and observation rather than their skills of speed and endurance. Is this not what ‘good’ academic institutions look for? By all standards, the College Board has righted most of the wrongs of the previous version of the SAT and we welcome the DSAT enthusiastically!