For a test that has been paper-pencil since forever, the SAT in its digital avatar continues to be an enigma. Even a whole one year after the test turned digital, test-takers are anxious about how to understand and negotiate the ‘adaptive’ nature of the test. Despite College Board’s iteration that the Digital SAT aims to streamline itself with who the test is for and that it aims evaluate modern students with tools to which they are more accustomed, there is much light to be shed on the new test: a shorter test with more time for each question, with an online graphing calculator built into the application for the math section BUT an adaptive test!!

How does the ‘adaptive’ nature of the test work?

The Digital SAT uses multistage adaptive testing – wherein you answer a set of Questions (say MODULE 1 of English) and then, based on how you worked your way through those questions, the next set of questions (say MODULE 2 of English) will adapt and adjust question levels to interface with your proficiency level.  In sum, the difficulty of questions in the second module (for both Math and English) is contingent upon the student’s performance in the first module. Typically, Module 1 will be a mix of Easy, Medium, and Hard questions (say 10 Easy, 10 Medium and 7 Hard). If a student scores high on this first module of English (23-27/27), his proficiency level will be judged by the computer to be ‘High’ and likely Module 2 will have maximum Medium and Hard questions and very few (or none) Easy ones, making the Module a lot more difficult than the first one. At this point, when the Module 2 questions are tougher, any error in an Easy question will be heavily penalized, while an error in a Hard question will not be. After all, once you present a strong and reliable test taking image of yourself in Module 1, you cannot be pardoned for silly mistakes!!!Conversely, if the Module 1 score is below 22/27 (or even lower), the computer will assess you as an average performer and set the Module questions at an average level, leaving you with little scope to garner high points for questions. Since your Module 2 is ‘average,’ the returns on it will also be average!!! 

With “adaptive” questions that become harder or easier depending on each test taker’s navigation of the questions, the Digital SAT offers a more individualized testing experience as well as makes the test harder to cheat on. Despite the comfort of doing the test on one’s own laptop at the test center, students must be aware that they cannot have any other application running during the test. Besides the test center is diligently proctored!

Option Training Institute, Dubai, has meticulously upgraded facilities to allow for a perfect simulation of the ‘test.’ DIGITAL SAT Prep at our center is a robust activity that is provided through various platforms: SAT WEEKEND GROUP COURSES in the classroom or online; SAT WEEKDAY PRIVATE COURSES in the classroom or online; and SAT HYBRID COURSES that allow students to blend group and private courses and classroom and online classes to tailor-make the program and thus optimize their performances. The benefits of enrolling for a prep program with Option are many, of which the most significant are – the opportunity to engage with trainers of proven competence and the facility of engaging with relevant prep materials and mocks that guarantee a major score increment.

Join our Classes for comprehensive and personalized guidance tailored to your academic goals. Classes for Digital SatACT, APLNATUCAT.

April 8, 2024


UNDERSTANDING THE ‘ADAPTIVE’ NATURE OF THE DIGITAL SAT For a test that has been paper-pencil since forever, the SAT in its digital avatar continues to be an enigma. […]