SAT & ACT 2023-24: Should You Go for Digital or Paper Testing?

Digital Testing

As we approach the 2023-24 school year, students and families across the country are making decisions about standardized testing. For some students, the decision is easy: they will take the ACT or SAT in digital format. For others, the decision is trickier, as they must choose between digital and paper testing.

With the SAT and ACT both moving to digital testing for the 2023-2024 school year, students and parents may be wondering which format is right for them. There are pros and cons to both digital and paper testing, so it’s crucial to weigh your options before making a decision. Here’s a look at some of the key differences between digital and paper testing to help you decide which format is right for you.

Choosing Between Digital or Paper Testing for Your SAT & ACT 2023-24

Plan Ahead with Two Crucial Priorities in Mind: Test Date and Test Format

The ACT and SAT are the two most popular college admissions exams, and both have been redesigned in recent years. If you’re planning to take either exam, it’s crucial to understand the new test format and plan ahead accordingly. 

The best way to prepare for the SAT/ACT is to start early and give yourself plenty of time to get familiar with the exams. Try to sit for two to three official exams over the course of a year to maximize your point increases and continue to build familiarity with the test. With that in mind, here are some key elements to consider:

Test Date

The ACT is offered seven times per year: in February, April, June, July, September, October, and December. The SAT is offered six times per year: in March, May, June, August, October, and December. So, if you’re taking the ACT, you have more flexibility in terms of when you take the test. However, both tests are offered multiple times per year, so you should be able to find a date that works for you.

The best options for students who want to take the SAT or ACT by December 2023 are the paper SAT and the ACT (also a paper exam). To make your final decision, focus on the exam that is better suited to your content knowledge and test-taking style. As we’ve said, diagnostic exams are an excellent place to start.

The ACT and the new digital SAT are your best options for testing after June 2024. As mentioned above, if you’re not sure which test to take, start by taking diagnostic exams.

Test Format

Consider your time commitments and your test-taking style, as some can focus better when performing on a paper exam, while others may not have the test-taking stamina to sit through a paper exam and need the shorter lengths offered by digital exams. Once you’ve decided which exam is right for you, you can focus on mastering the content and strategies needed to succeed on that exam.

The Bottom Line: Preparing for the SAT and ACT 2023-24

The new SAT is coming, whether you like it or not. If you’re worried about how the transition will affect you, consider whether you want the extra essay, what your prep timeline looks like, and whether you prefer digital or paper. You can always change your mind later on.

If you are struggling in school and your grades are not where you want them to be, a specialized test prep course can help you raise your grades and score well on the test. Here at Kenny Tan Test Prep, we help students of all skills prepare for their exams and get into the school of their dreams!