Beginning in 2024, high school students in the United States will take the SAT college admissions exam on computers rather than pencils and paper, in a drive to digitise the standardised test, whose use has dropped over the epidemic and many universities no longer need it for entrance.

Students taking the new computerised SAT, which was considered a stressful rite of passage for nearly all college-bound Americans, will have two hours instead of three to answer questions and will have shorter reading passages, according to a statement released by the College Board on Tuesday. For the math component of the exam, test takers may also utilise a calculator.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to offer, and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of the foundation that created the test. “We’re not just placing the present SAT on a digital platform; we’re maximising the benefits of delivering an assessment digitally.”

For decades, college applicants sat in rooms with other test takers and a monitor, filling in bubbles on a piece of paper according to their answers on a multiple-choice test with a pencil. The exam is divided into three sections: math, reading, and writing, with a total score of 1,600.

The College Board ran a trial run for a digitised SAT in the United States and other countries in November 2021. The digital version was deemed to be less stressful by four out of five exam takers.

Students in the United States will be able to take the test on their own laptop or tablet, a school-issued device, or a device given by the College Board beginning in 2024. Students must take the exam at a local testing centre, as in the past.

International students will be able to take the digital SAT test starting in 2023.

In recent years, concerns about the validity of standardised testing, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, have lowered the amount of students taking the SAT. It is no longer a criterion for admission at many colleges and universities.

The College Board reported that 1.5 million students in the class of 2021 took the SAT at least once, down from 2.2 million in the class of 2020 owing to the pandemic.

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