It’s Time to Break Those No. 2 Pencils!


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Standardized Test with yellow pencil

Written by Abigail Worker, News Editor

For years students have questioned whether or not college admission tests are fair, or even necessary. The College Board has taken this into consideration and is now trying to modify the exam that has stressed out millions of students for years. Recently, the SAT has had a major change since 2014. The College Board has decided that the test will be digitized instead of being taken on paper, and will be shortened from three hours to two. The digital testing will begin to take place worldwide in 2023, and in the U.S. this new way of testing will commence in 2024. Students no longer need to worry about making sure their No. 2 pencils are sharpened, and their bubbles are completely filled in. Soon, the students will take the test online using computers and tablets at testing centers. 

The SAT test stands for “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” and it is used to test a student’s skill level in three core areas ranging from critical reading, math, and writing. Students in grades eleven and twelve can choose to submit these scores during the college application process.

By going digital, colleges hope to allow easier access for people around the world to take, and prevent future concerns. The test will also now be formatted with shorter reading passages and will allow students to use a calculator in the math section. The test will also now be different for each person so that there will be no cheating of any kind. Each test will also have the option to meet each individual’s needs by differentiating the format.

By having students take the SAT digitally, it helps students focus more on the topic in front of them. There are worries that taking the test digitally will cause a strain on the students eyes, and could possibly cause headaches by staring at a screen for two hours. The College Board has considered these issues, but making the test digital is the most safe and practical way to take the test. In the past, taking the test on paper was difficult due to the fact that if tests were abroad, there was fear of the test being intercepted by another country, and would then be compromised-which has occurred in South Korea and China, leading to widespread test cancellations. By going digital, it benefits schools because it allows more flexibility for testing dates. It also allows students to take the test at their campuses during school hours, rather than having to take time during their weekends to travel to testing centers. Essentially, the digital format allows schools to decide when they want students to take the test.

The College Board has decided to take the test digitally so that students feel less overwhelmed, and to make it less time consuming. A large variety of U.S. and international students took the pilot test in November, and 80% of students said the test was less stressful and less time consuming. The end of an era where the once stressful and hated tests are now going to be digital, and are different for each person. Those dreadful pencils will no longer break on us.