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How Does the Digital SAT Scoring Algorithm Work?



By Laura Whitmore


The digital SAT might seem daunting at first glance, but it's pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. As a test prep coach who has helped many international students prepare for this new test, I am very familiar at this point with the scoring algorithm. Unlike some tests that adjust difficulty with every question you answer, the dSAT changes based on two main modules.


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Why the First Module Matters

The dSAT is all about modules – not individual questions. Doing well in this first module is crucial for your overall score. If you don't perform well, you'll get an easier second module. But here's the catch – even if you ace this easier second module, scoring above 600 becomes a tall order. So, aim to shine in the first module!


The Second Module – The Game Changer

If you do well in the first module, you'll face a tougher second module. It’s challenging but worth it. The hard questions here are akin to gold – they’re worth more points. But, be careful, a wrong answer on a hard question can have significant consequences.


Can You Still Score Perfectly with One Mistake?

This is a big question I get a lot. Yes, it's possible to achieve that perfect score even if you slip up on one question. While it's feasible, it's not effortless. Your best bet is to make your mistake on an easy question (if you have to make one at all).


Digital vs. Paper SAT

Is the digital SAT tougher than the paper one? Not really. The scoring remains comparably similar, but some students find the digital format more to their liking because it's shorter. For individuals who struggle with lengthy tests, the digital SAT may prove to be a more favorable option.


My Tips for DSAT Prep

  • Take a Practice Test: If you haven’t already, jump into a digital practice test. This is the most effective method to determine your current knowledge level. Digital practice tests are readily available.

  • Plan for Multiple Attempts: The dSAT can vary from one test to another. On certain days, it may be more lenient than others. To increase the likelihood of encountering a more forgiving algorithm, it's wise to take the test multiple times.

  • Get a Solid Prep Plan: Time is of the essence, especially if your test day is just around the corner. I’ve got some great self-paced digital SAT courses for English and Math available for you!


There you have it – a simpler look at the dSAT scoring algorithm. The key to dSAT success is practice and staying positive. Keep at it, and you’ll get there!


Happy prepping!



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