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The impact of digital SAT exams on students in the Brazos Valley

The College Board announced Tuesday the SAT exam will be moving to a digital format for students. There are positives and potential negatives to this decision.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The scores of a student's SAT exam is what many colleges look at when considering admission into a university. The College Board announced the exam will be moving to an online format only by the year 2024, and it's got some positives and potential negatives.

Robb Jenson is the owner and education consultant of Avant Garde - College Prep Services in College Station. He said moving the exam online could create changes to the way students have gone through the test in the past. 

Jenson said that students have been able to write on their exam and scratched off answers using the process of elimination. Having this kind of ability is what can help students navigate the test and help them feel less anxious.

"When you have that, I mean it's not as easily accessible to mark up and diagram certain figures or passages that might be there so that changes the process by which a student might approach the test," Jenson said.

Jenson said his business offers several courses for students looking to enhance their abilities before taking the SAT exam. He said he tries to accommodate students based on their individual needs and their schedules.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into making a plan and schedule and make something that ideally fits that student’s needs,” Jenson said.

However, the digital test may also prove to be just keeping up with the times. Jenson said that although this could change the way students go about answering questions, he felt that this set of students would be able to take on the challenge, due to many students being used to online testing during the time of the pandemic.

In 2020, school districts across Texas and the country were forced to transition to a virtual format for students to continue learning with COVID cases that rose.

"I imagine there will be some adjustments and transitions they have to go through but for this set of students I don't know if there would be that large of a gap for them already," Jenson said.

There are positives as well to going digital. Moving to an online format means scores can be released days after the test, not weeks. The new version will also be cut down to two hours with more time given between questions.