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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

SAT test to use new format

New! Khan Academy has new test prep to help people practice for the SATs. They added a new feature of the digital test.
Abigail Rudy
New! Khan Academy has new test prep to help people practice for the SATs. They added a new feature of the digital test.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) will be taking place in the fall on Nov. 4 and Dec. 2. The digital test will start in March. The dates for the digital tests are March 9, June 4 and July 1, 2024.

There is an elective semester class to further student’s education and help students prepare better for the SATs. The course is called SAT test skills. It is taught by Ken Balough and Jennifer Lowe.

“Society is advancing with more technology, So because of that trend, it is going digital. I think the College Board is giving us a little bit more flexibility,” Balough said.

“The overall test is an hour shorter. It used to be that the reading section alone was 65 minutes, and then the reading and language section was 35 minutes. It has been combined into just one hour for all of the English section,” Lowe said. “I am torn about how the test is formatted. I feel like maybe they’re making it too easy as they’re trying to gauge the ability to read and to have success with reading and comprehension of challenging material. The downside is I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of that. But also some people just aren’t good test takers. So reducing the amount of time could be making better results for some students.”

The online portion of the math section is not changing, other than students having more access to tools to use during the test.

“The students will have access to Desmos and the graphing calculator with some problems. Especially if it’s graphing related, it will help,” Balough said.

Students will have access to a digital highlighter which with the paper and pencil test they don’t have access to.

“Your English teachers are teaching you how to highlight passages and whatnot with the new format now that you have access to highlighter. You can use those skills that the teachers are teaching you,” Balough said.

“Another drawback of it not being on paper is the inability to actively read and engage with the text. However, they have included in the app some tools like highlighting and the ability to mark a question so that you can go back and review your work,” Lowe said.

Along with the new features like Desmos and a highlighter, there is also a timer. The timer will count down the time test takers have remaining to take that portion of the test.

“You can have the timer displaying all the time or you can hide it. Some people want to know what the time is, other people find that time a stressor,” Balough said.

“[The] Biggest thing I would suggest is when they’re signed up for the test, especially the digital one, is after they’ve gone through what they need to with the Blue Book app to actually go through, do some of the practice test questions,” Balough said. “So that whenever they go in to take the test they’re familiar with how everything’s going to show up on the screen. Students will have a chance to play around with the settings.”

Junior Mazin Ahmed will be taking the SATs in the spring.

“I am taking them in the spring so that I will have more time to practice and study the topics that will be on the test so that I am more prepared,” Ahmed said. “I am also in the SAT test skills class, and that has helped me better understand what will be expected of me on the actual SATs.”

There are multiple tools online students can use to practice with to get ready for the SAT. Students can practice on the Blue Book app on Chromebooks.

“I would say to at least try some practice problems before coming in so that you get a little bit familiar with how the app works. Instead of trying to figure it out while you’re doing it the first time through,” Balough said.

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About the Contributor
Abigail Rudy
Abigail Rudy, Reporter
Hi. My name is Abigail Rudy. I am a junior. This is my second year writing for Mountain Echo. I enjoy reading and walking my dogs. I have four dogs and two cats. I love nature and being outdoors. I am looking forward to writing more stories this year for people to read.

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