SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Digital SAT Devices: What Can You Use? Do You Need Your Own?



With the digital SAT, students will take the exam in a totally new format. The days of the pencil-and-paper SAT booklet are gone…which means you probably have some questions!

You know, like…how does the digital SAT work?

Spoiler alert: one of the biggest changes about the digital SAT is that you’ll have to take in on some kind of digital device. But what are the digital SAT approved devices? And how can you access them if you don’t already have one?

In this guide, we’ll explain how taking the digital SAT works to help you get ready for the new format. We’ll cover:

  • How the digital SAT works
  • How you’ll take the digital SAT, including answering the question, “What devices can I use on the SAT?”
  • What to do if you don’t have an approved device
  • What happens if you have technical issues during the exam

Are you ready? Let’s get started!


All students will have to take the digital version of the SAT as of spring 2024. Here's what you need to know.


How Does the Digital SAT Work? How Do You Take It?

Pencil-and-paper SAT tests won’t be offered after Spring 2024. That means everyone will have to transition to taking the SAT digitally. But how will taking the digital SAT work?


Registering for the Digital SAT

To get started, students will register for the digital SAT the same way that they’ve registered for the pencil-and-paper SAT: by signing into their College Board account online

From there, you’ll be able to select your digital exam date and location. The new digital SAT requires students to take the exam using “an approved digital device.” As a result, students will take the digital SAT either at their school or at an approved testing center. The digital SAT will not be administered in students’ homes! 


Finding Digital SAT Approved Devices

Specifically, you’ll be able to take the exam on digital SAT approved devices like a Windows laptop or tablet, an Apple Mac laptop or iPad, or a school-issued Chromebook. 

You may use a digital device that you own, a borrowed digital device (from a friend or family member), a school-issued device, or a device that you check out from the College Board. We’ll cover this in the next section of the article. 


Downloading and Setting Up Bluebook

Once you have a digital device to take the exam on, you’ll also need to set your device u p before exam day. The College Board provides instructions for preparing your device to take the exam, but we’ll also summarize the steps for you here. 

First, you’ll download an application called Bluebook from the College Board’s website. Bluebook is a digital application that you will use to take the SAT! You’ll follow the download instructions, and once Bluebook is set up on your device, you’ll be able to use it to take practice exams and prepare for the SAT. 

Then, one to five days before your exam date, you’ll complete a quick exam setup using Bluebook on your device. Bluebook will confirm that your device meets all requirements for taking the exam, then it will download your SAT test and create your admission ticket. You can print your ticket or email it to yourself so you can access it on exam day. You will not be able to look at your digital exam prior to your test date!

Finally, you’ll bring your device with the Bluebook app and your downloaded exam to your testing location and actually take the digital SAT! The exam will be administered entirely through Bluebook. You’ll have access to a countdown clock, graphing calculator, and formula and equation sheets through the app. 

When you’ve completed your exam, you’ll submit it digitally and wait to receive your official score report in just a few days!




What Devices Can I Use on the SAT? Digital SAT Approved Devices

Are you wondering, “What devices can I use on the SAT?” Here’s what you need to know.  

First, you’ll need to use a College-Board approved device to take your exam. This means using a laptop or tablet (more on this later). No smartphones! Additionally, the software on your chosen device will need to be up-to-date. Your device will need available storage for downloads. 

At present, these are the digital devices, software, and storage space that the College Board has approved for student use on the digital SAT.  

Device Type
Software Capabilities
Storage Space Available
Windows laptop
Windows 10 or later
At least 250 MB of free storage space available
Windows tablet
Windows 10 or later
At least 250 MB of free storage space available
Apple Mac laptop
macOS 11.4 or later
At least 150 MB of free storage space available
Apple iPad
iPadOS 13.4 or later
At least 150 MB of free storage space available
School-managed Chromebook
Chrome OS 83 or later
At least 150 MB of free storage space available
NOTE: You cannot run Bluebook on a personal Chromebook.


Once you have one of these approved devices, remember: you’ll need to download and set up the Bluebook app prior to your exam day. The app will walk you through the setup process and explain how to check in for the exam and download your admission ticket before the exam. 




No computer? Don't worry—you'll probably be able to borrow one. You know...kind of like a library, but for testing devices.


What if I Don’t Have an Approved Device? 

But how does the digital SAT work if you don’t already have an approved device? If you don’t own a device that you can use on the digital SAT, there are options for you! Just remember: you won’t be excluded from taking the digital SAT if you don’t have your own digital device to use on the exam. 


Option 1: Borrow an SAT Approved Device From Your School

Check with your school to see if you can borrow a device to take the exam. If you choose this option, you’ll want to ask about borrowing a device well in advance of your exam day. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to make sure the device is updated and download Bluebook.


Option 2: Borrow an SAT Approved Device From the College Board

If your school doesn’t loan out digital devices, you can borrow one from the College Board instead! 

To request a digital device, first register for your exam. But register as early as possible, because you need to request your digital device from the College Board at least 30 days before your exam date. The College Board will ship the device to you, so requesting at least 30 days in advance will ensure that your device arrives before test day!

Here’s how you submit a request for a borrowed device to the College Board. After you register for the exam online, the option to “Request a Device” will appear as part of your registration information on mySAT. You’ll select that option, which will take you to an online questionnaire that asks for an adult reference, like a teacher, counselor, or advisor. If the option to request a device doesn’t appear after you register, you can contact the College Board here



Tech issues happen. But you'll be okay.


What if I Have a Technical Issue During the Exam? 

With a digital exam format, there’s always the possibility that students will encounter technical difficulties. So how does the digital SAT work in terms of handling technical difficulties? We’ll walk you through what will happen if there’s an issue with your digital device as you’re prepping for and taking the digital SAT. 

If you have trouble downloading Bluebook to your digital device or updating your device’s software before the exam, talk to your school counselor. They can connect you with a tech support person at your school who will help you update your device and get Bluebook downloaded. Remember: it’s important to start the process of setting up your device to take the exam as early as possible. Having all the technical kinks worked out ahead of time will allow you to focus on prepping for the exam and earning your best score!

But what about technical difficulties during the exam? Here’s the College Board’s current statement about that: 

“We’ve built the exam application to withstand internet outages. If the internet disconnects during testing, students will still be able to progress through the test with no disruption—all their work will be saved, and they won’t lose testing time.”

In other words, your exam app will not crash if there’s an issue with Internet access during the exam. You’ll be able to continue working on your test and your progress will be saved even if the Internet goes out. 

The same is true if you have issues with the digital device you’re using, like if the battery runs out of power. You’ll be able to plug your device in, restart it, and pick up your exam where you left off. And because a countdown clock is built into the exam app, you also won’t lose time on your exam if your device malfunctions.


Big Takeaways

The digital SAT is replacing the pen-and-paper SAT exam for all students as of spring 2024.

In order to take the test, students have to sign up for a College Board account and make sure they have access to an approved digital device. Most computers and tablets running up-to-date operating systems that have at least 150 megabytes of storage will work, but students can check the College Board’s website for the most up-to-date list of technology requirements.

If students don’t own a qualifying device, they have two options. First, they can see if their school lends out computers or tablets for SAT testing purposes. Second, they can request a device from the College Board, which students will then receive by mail. Both of these options take more time, so it’s important for students to plan ahead if they need to borrow a laptop or tablet.



Next Steps

It might seem like the digital SAT is totally revised…but the truth is, there’s a lot that hasn’t changed about the test. Learn more about the similarities between the digital SAT and the paper-and-pencil version in this article.

The good news is that a lot of SAT prep resources designed for the paper-and-pencil SAT still work for the digital test. Here’s our expert guide that walks you through the 10 steps you should follow to prepare for the SAT.

One thing that has changed about the digital SAT is the test format. Taking digital SAT practice tests like these can help you prepare for submitting your answers on screen instead of in a test booklet.


Disappointed with your scores? Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points


Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

author image
Ashley Robinson
About the Author

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

Get Free Guides to Boost Your SAT/ACT
100% Privacy. No spam ever.

Student and Parent Forum

Our new student and parent forum, at, allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.

Join the Conversation

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!