Should you take the digital SAT as soon as it's available? Here are your options.

Starting in March of 2023, the SAT is going digital for students testing outside of the United States. Therefore, if you’re an international student who plans to take the exam in the coming school year, you’re faced with a decision: should you sit for the new exam as soon as it becomes available?

Based on what we know so far, here are your options and a few factors to consider.

Should you avoid the very first administration of the digital SAT in March?

Ideally, yes. We recommend avoiding the first few administrations of the new test, if possible, simply to allow the College Board and site administrators time to work out any hiccups that naturally happen when administering a new test. Additionally, this gives you more time to wait for practice material to be released so that you can gain more familiarity with the digital SAT before you take it.

However, if you find that you must take an early administration of the digital SAT, don’t panic. The College Board completely remodeled the test five years ago, with relatively few problems. Sample questions and practice tests are scheduled to be released this summer and fall, so you'll have more information to help guide your decision—and help you start prepping—fairly soon.

What are your options?

If you’re an international student about to enter your junior year of high school, you have three options to start considering.

  • Take the paper SAT early. Outside of the United States, the paper exam will be administered on August 27th, October 1st, and December 3rd in 2022, giving you plenty of opportunities to test. If that's your goal, it's a good idea to start forming a study plan and testing timeline now so that you can take full advantage of the months ahead.
  • Take the digital SAT, but later, if possible. The first administration of the digital exam will be on March 11, 2023, but there will be two other administrations of the exam that spring–May 6th and June 3rd—so even if you wait until after the first administration to test, you will still have more than one shot at the exam during the school year.
  • Switch to the ACT. For international students, the ACT has been a computer-based test for a few years now, so if you’re concerned taking a newly released exam or don’t want to change your testing timeline, the ACT may be a viable option for you.

Again, we'll know more once the College Board releases sample questions and practice exams in the coming months. And no matter when you’re testing or which test you’re taking, the preparation process will remain essentially the same. Starting early and making an informed decision will help you go into the test with confidence, knowing that you’ll be performing at your best.

Need more individualized advice?

The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.


About ArborBridge

ArborBridge is the global leader in innovative, digital, one-on-one tutoring. With nearly a decade of experience teaching students online, ArborBridge supports students of all kinds: home schoolers, AP students, test preppers, and more. Our tutors specialize in creating personalized plans and in providing compassionate support for students and families.

Lisa Mayo

About Lisa Mayo

Lisa is an authority in the test prep field, with more than 17 years of experience teaching students how to succeed on college admissions exams. Lisa has tutored students preparing for SAT, ACT, PSAT, ISEE, SSAT, GMAT, TOEFL, GRE, LSAT, and AP exams. Her students have attended some of the most prestigious schools in the U.S., including the Ivy League schools. Lisa has also contributed to numerous published works on standardized test preparation.

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