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Digital SAT vs Paper-Based SAT: Which One Should You Choose?


The SAT, a widely recognized college admissions test, has undergone significant changes with the introduction of a digital format. As a test-taker, it's essential to understand the differences between the digital SAT and the traditional paper-based SAT to make an informed decision about which version is right for you. In this blog, we will compare the two formats and explore the factors you should consider when choosing between them.

Digital SAT vs Paper-Based SAT: Which One Should You Choose?
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Digital SAT vs. Paper-Based SAT


Digital SAT

Paper Based SAT

Testing Experience

Computer-based test that requires familiarity and comfort with technology.

Traditional pen-and-paper tests may be more familiar to some students.

Test Dates and Availability

Currently available for international students; U.S. students gain access in spring 2024.

Available for U.S. students; International students may have access earlier depending on their location.

Length and Structure

Shorter in duration, approximately 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Longer duration, approximately 3 hours. Follows a condensed structure compared to the paper-based SAT.

Question Types and Content

Fewer multiple-choice questions and more grid-in/student-produced response questions. It may feature shorter reading passages and new question formats.

More multiple-choice questions, longer reading passages, and traditional question types and formats.

Calculator Use

Allows the use of an on-screen calculator for all Math questions.

Designated calculator-allowed section for Math questions.

Score Reporting

Faster score reporting, typically within a few days of taking the test.

Slower score reporting, typically within two to three weeks of taking the test.

Ultimately, the decision between the digital SAT and the paper-based SAT depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Consider factors such as your comfort with technology, testing experience, test dates availability, test length and structure, question types and content, calculator use, and score reporting speed. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with both formats, practice using digital resources, and take sample tests to determine which version aligns better with your strengths and preferences.


The choice between the digital SAT and the paper-based SAT depends on personal preferences and circumstances. The digital SAT may be a good fit if you're comfortable with technology and prefer a shorter test duration and faster score reporting. The paper-based SAT might be more suitable if you prefer a traditional testing experience and longer reading passages. Consider factors such as comfort with technology, test structure, calculator use, and score reporting speed when making your decision. Regardless of the format, adequate preparation is key to achieving your best performance on the SAT.

We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

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