Goodbye, No. 2 Pencils

Dylan Sargent, Writer

Although the infamous SAT has been on paper for endless years, the College Board has recently announced that it is going virtual in 2024 for America. In other countries, the switch will happen in 2023. 

They made this announcement this past Tues, Jan 25. No more worrying about sharpening No. 2 pencils for high schoolers anymore. The exam will now be two hours instead of three, while also shortening the reading section and allowing calculators on every part of the mathematics section.

Leading up to this, test scores were becoming less and less important. The College Board was concerned about whether or not these tests are even important. Even Harvard, one of the country’s most prestigious schools, declared “test optional.” Come on, who even needs this test anymore? 

According to FairTest, a nonprofit organization, more than 1,800 schools did not require SAT or ACT scores for 2022 college admissions. The test takers had declined from 2.2 million to 1.5 million.

Because of COVID, many test taking centers had to shut down. This forced colleges to waive test requirements at the time. Soon, the “test optional” fad had taken over. Standardized tests were on their way to becoming a thing of the past. 

The College Board’s main reasoning for going virtual is to reevaluate the exam that has been stressing out millions of high school students for years on end.

Even though this is supposed to be seen as a good thing, high school students are concerned for the future of this test. Junior Lauren Smyth says, “I feel like I would prefer the test on paper. Staring at the screen for two hours straight, I think, would make it harder to focus.” 

The stats run against this belief, though. According to the College Board, 80% of students said that taking the test virtually was much less stressful. Students also said that after the test, they felt much less drained. 

Smyth adds that “the change will probably be very beneficial to students because of how much shorter it is. The hour can really make a difference, in my opinion.” Smyth speaks for many when she says that she looks forward to the test being much less work and less stressful. Thank you, College Board. 

At this point, laptops and tablets seem to be taking over the world. Taking over the SAT cannot be the worst thing that has happened in the college admission process. 

Hopefully, this new format for the SAT will be able to give the stressed out seniors and juniors some sort of break. You’re next, ACT.