SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

The Ultimate Digital SAT Study Guide: Tips, Plans, and Practice


Starting in Spring 2024, every student who takes the SAT will take a new, digital version of the exam. The digital SAT will be different from the paper version…which means your SAT prep routine will be a little different too!

With this big change coming up, how should you handle digital SAT prep? What’s the best way to study for the digital SAT? 

In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions about how to prep for the digital SAT, including: 

  • When the SAT goes digital, and how you’ll take the digital SAT
  • How to make a study plan for the digital SAT
  • Sample digital SAT study plans
  • List of practice resources for the digital SAT

Let’s get started!



The SAT is a digital format. Time to back your bags, and your study materials, and get ready for the new format! 


When Does the SAT Go Digital? What Is the Digital SAT Like? 

The College Board is moving to a new, digital SAT format! Starting in Spring 2023, all international students will take the digital SAT, and starting in Spring 2024, all US students will move to the new format.

By Spring 2024, every student who takes the SAT will take the new, digital version of the exam. The paper version of the SAT will no longer be offered. 

Since the new SAT is digital, students will access and take the exam using a digital device that’s been approved by the College Board. The following digital devices are approved for taking the digital SAT: 

  • Windows laptop or tablet
  • Apple Mac laptop or iPad
  • School-issued device, like a tablet or Chromebook

Students will download the College Board’s custom testing app, called Bluebook, to take the test. Through Bluebook, students will be able to download their SAT exam, take and submit the exam on test day, and access SAT prep and study materials (more on this later!). 

The digital SAT is different from the paper version in regards to length, structure, and how exam questions are assigned. Because of these differences, it’s important to prep with a study plan that’s tailored to the new, digital exam. We’ll cover how to make a digital SAT study plan below!



To make a good digital SAT study plan, you're gonna need some tools. (But probably not these.)


How to Make a Digital SAT Study Plan

With a little forethought and planning, putting together a solid digital SAT study plan is a piece of cake. To help you get started, follow our three step guide to creating the best digital SAT study routine for you!


Step 1: Set Your Goal Score

The first step in a solid digital SAT study plan is setting your goal score. Your goal score is the score that’s most likely to get you accepted to all the schools on your college application list. 

To figure out your goal score, start by finding out the 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores for each school you’re applying to. These scores represent the middle 50 percent of scores for students accepted to a given school. In other words, a school’s middle 50 percentile scores represent the average scores for recently admitted students. 

For instance, if you score in the 75th percentile, you’ve scored higher than 75 percent of applicants to a given school. If you score in the 25th percentile, you’ve scored higher than 25 percent of applicants. The higher your score percentile, the better your chances of getting accepted! 

So how do you find the middle 50 percent SAT scores for a school? First, do a Google search for “[School Name] PrepScholar.” Then, click the link to the school’s admissions requirements page, where you’ll find a table listing your school’s 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores. 

For instance, if you go to the University of Texas’s PrepScholar admissions page, the table will look like this: 


As you Google the 25th and 75th percentile scores for each school you’re applying to, add those scores to a chart, like this pre-made chart. Simply fill in the name of all of your schools, then add up-to-date SAT score data as you find it online. 

Once you’ve completed your score chart, find the highest 75th percentile score on your sheet. This represents your goal score. Why? Because as the highest score in your chart, the highest 75th percentile score is the most likely to get you accepted to all the schools on your list! 

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the middle 50 percent SAT scores you’ll find online through 2024 will be for the old, paper SAT. At this point, we can’t know for sure how much average SAT scores will change when the exam goes digital. However, the College Board currently states that average scores should stay relatively the same. We’ll update this article with average scores when they become available for the digital SAT. 

For now, your best bet is to use the score data that schools have currently available and set your goal score based on that. 


Step 2: Download the Bluebook App

Once you’ve determined your goal score, it’s time to download the Bluebook app to your digital device. Remember: Bluebook is the College Board’s official testing platform. You won’t be able to take the digital SAT if you don’t have this app. 

But Bluebook also provides digital SAT study materials, including four official digital SAT practice exams! This is all great information that can make studying for the digital SAT more effective. You’ll need these prep materials to move on to Step 3 (below). 

To download Bluebook to your device, follow this link on the College Board’s official website. 


Step 3: Take an Adaptive SAT to Get Your Baseline Score

Now that you can access practice digital SATs through Bluebook, it’s time to find out your baseline score. A baseline score is the score you’d earn if you took the digital SAT right now before you’ve started studying! 

Your baseline score also tells you how much you’ll need to prep for the SAT in order to achieve your goal score. To find your baseline score, take an official SAT practice exam through Bluebook

You might be wondering if you can take an old, paper SAT to find your baseline score. According to the College Board, it’s best to use new, digital practice SATs for all of your exam prep. Here’s why: the digital SAT tests your skills differently than the paper SAT by using adaptive testing

Adaptive testing changes the difficulty level of exam questions based on each question that a test taker gets right or wrong. As a result, no two digital SAT exams will be exactly the same. 

Since the digital SAT uses adaptive testing, you need to take a digital, adaptive SAT in order to get an accurate baseline score. 

To get an accurate baseline score, try to recreate real testing conditions to the best of your ability. If you can, take your practice test using the type of digital device you’ll use on exam day (e.g., iPad, Chromebook, etc.), follow the official time limits, and test in a quiet room. 

Once you’ve taken your practice digital SAT, Bluebook will generate your score report. This score report will break down your score on each section of the exam (Reading and Writing and Math) and add those section scores together to calculate your composite score. Your composite score on the practice exam is your baseline score.   


Step 4: Determine How Many Hours You Need to Prep

Now that you’ve got your goal and baseline scores, you can use that info to calculate approximately how many hours you need to study to raise your baseline score to your goal score. 

You can do this by subtracting your baseline score from your goal score. Then match the difference you get to the numbers below:  

Points of Improvement (Cumulative Score)
Study Hours Needed
0-30 point improvement
10 hours 
30-70 point improvement 
20 hours 
70-130 point improvement 
40 hours 
130-200 point improvement 
80 hours 
200-330 point improvement
150+ hours


Here’s an example of how this works in practice. 

Say your baseline score from the practice SAT is a 1300, and your goal score is a 1430. You’ll subtract 1300 from 1430, which equals a 130 point difference. This means you’ll most likely need to study around 80 hours total in order to increase your score by 130 points!

Remember: the bigger the point increase you want, the more hours you’ll need to study. 


Step 5: Assemble Your Study Materials

With your study schedule set, you can start pulling real prep materials into your study plan! 

For the digital SAT, it’s best to focus your prep strategy on digital SAT resources. That means prioritizing official practice digital SATs and other official digital study materials recommended by the College Board. 

It’s okay to incorporate some paper SAT prep materials into your study plan. However, prep materials for the old SAT are based on a different exam format, and they won’t provide the adaptive testing experience. 

While you can use these materials to drill specific SAT topics or skills, when it comes to setting a goal score and and prepping for the real exam, prep materials designed specifically for the digital SAT are your best resource



With our two digital SAT study plans, you can choose your own long as you think "SAT study prep" is adventurous.


Digital SAT Prep: 2 Sample Study Plans

Now that you’re prepped to start studying, it’s time to find a digital SAT prep plan that works for you. Below, we give you two study plans to choose from: a one-month, high intensity study plan (40 hours) and a three-month, medium intensity study plan (80 hours). 

Each study plan explains what to study each week and suggests set time frames for each study activity

Remember: the best digital SAT study plan is the one that fits your needs. You can tweak the timing, study activities, and duration of each study plan as you see fit! The most important thing is fitting in the number of quality study hours that will increase your chances of meeting your goal score. 



Sample Digital SAT Study Guide #1

This one-month, high intensity study plan lasts for 40 total hours, broken out into 10 hours per week. By the end of this quick study plan, you’ll be on track to raise your baseline score by up to 130 points. 

To see the results you want from this study plan, you’ll have to be disciplined. Putting in a full week of studying is key to seeing score improvements when you’re prepping on a shorter timeline!

Now, here’s a week-by-week study routine for this one-month, high intensity study plan: 

Week 1: Study Structure

  1. Take a practice digital SAT exam through Bluebook to determine your baseline score. Be sure to take the test in a quiet room without distractions.

    Suggested Time: 3 hours

  1. Analyze your Bluebook score report. To figure out what areas you struggle with the most, look closely for any patterns in your mistakes.

    Suggested Time: 1 hour

  1. Get familiar with the digital SAT format. Go over exam content, structure, all question types, and how it’s scored.

    Suggested Time: 2 hours

  1. Learn the Reading and Writing test format. Get a sense of what the Reading and Writing section tests and what kinds of passages it contains.

    Suggested Time: 1.5 hour

  1. Learn the Math test format. Familiarize yourself with the content and topics, how to use the exam’s built-in graphing calculator on both math modules, and the differences between multiple-choice questions and grid-ins.

    Suggested Time: 1.5 hours

  1. Practice using built-in testing tools through Bluebook. Use Bluebook’s Testing Preview to get familiar with the app’s countdown clock, question flagging tool, and calculator.

    Suggested Time: 1 hour


Week 2: Concentrate on Key Content

  1. Review core English grammar topics and punctuation rules. You’ll need to know various grammar rules for the Reading and Writing section, so mastering these is critical for a strong Reading and Writing score.

    Suggested Time: 2 hours

  2. Review and practice core math concepts. These include the following:
    - Integers
    - Fractions, ratios, and proportions
    - Algebra (linear functions, inequalities, equations, systems of equations)
    - Advanced math (nonlinear functions, polynomials)
    - Problem solving and data analysis (statistics, how to read graphs)

    Suggested Time: 5 hours

  1. Memorize essential SAT Math formulas. Knowing these formulas will give you a boost on test day.

    Suggested Time: 1 hour

  1. Select and practice a passage-reading strategy for Reading and Writing. To choose the right strategy for you, try out different strategies using official SAT Reading and Writing tests. The strategy that gets you the highest score is the one you should go with on test day!

    Suggested Time: 2 hours

Week 3: Strategize & Check Your Progress

  1. Practice identifying the task, summarizing the text, and identifying relationships for SAT Reading and Writing.

    Suggested Time: 1.5 hours

  1. Learn key Math and Reading and Writing strategies. For Math, the best ones to know are how to plug in answers and how to plug in numbers. For Reading and Writing, learn how to test out answer choices and eliminate incorrect answer choices.

    Suggested Time: 4 hours

  1. Take a digital practice test to check your progress. Once complete, analyze your score report to determine how much you’ve improved since your baseline exam. Use your results to identify your weaker areas.

    Suggested Time: 4.5 hours

Week 4: Review & Practice

  1. Go over digital SAT topics, question types, and strategies that you need to practice more. Focus on hitting the topics, question types, and sections where you really need score improvement. But take a break from studying the day before the exam! Your brain needs some down time before you sit for the real digital SAT.

    Suggested Time: 10 hours


Don't love the first study plan? Here's one that might work better for you. 


Sample Digital SAT Study Guide #2

This three-month, medium intensity study plan lasts for 80 total hours, broken out into six and a half hours per week. By completing this moderate digital SAT prep routine, you’ll set yourself up for a maximum 200 point improvement on your baseline score. 

Since this study plan lasts for three full months, it’s a great choice if you plan to prep for the SAT during the summer and take the exam in the fall. At the end of the day, this study plan works best if you can study for a couple of hours, two to three days a week. 

Now, here’s a week-by-week study routine for this three-month, medium intensity study plan: 


Month 1: The Basics

During Month 1, you’ll focus on getting acquainted with the digital SAT’s structure and content. 


Week 1: Get Familiar with the Digital SAT

  1. Start by taking a practice test to find your baseline score. Try to recreate authentic testing conditions and take the exam without distractions so you’ll get an accurate baseline score result.

    Suggested Time: 4 hours

  1. Analyze your Bluebook score report and record your baseline score. To figure out what areas you struggle with the most, look closely for any patterns in your mistakes. 

    Suggested Time: 1 hour

  1. Get familiar with the format of the digital SAT. To succeed on the new exam, you’ll need a strong grasp of the digital SAT format, concepts it tests, and the types of questions used to assess your skills and knowledge.

    Suggested Time: 1.5 hours

Week 2: Work on Reading and Writing

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Reading and Writing section format. Know how to navigate Module One and Module Two on the Reading and Writing section and how each module will be timed. Get acquainted with the types of passages and questions you’ll encounter.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

  1. Determine your best strategy for reading text passages. Take a couple of Reading and Writing practice exams to try multiple passage-reading strategies. When complete, choose the strategy that helped you earn the highest score.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

  1. Practice Reading and Writing questions using the passage-reading strategy you’ve selected. Aim to improve your score incrementally each time you use your reading strategy.

    Suggested Time: 1.5 hours

Week 3: Work on Grammar & Punctuation

  1. Review core English grammar topics and punctuation rules. Go over standard English conventions and familiarize yourself with the kinds of errors you’ll see on the SAT.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

  1. Drill Reading and Writing questions that focus on grammar and punctuation. Identify your weaker areas (e.g., comma splices, misplaced modifiers, etc.).

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours 

  1. Practice fill-in-the-blank Boundaries questions. Test and improve your skill at linking phrases, clauses, and sentences.

    Suggested Time: 2 hours

Week 4: Switch to Math

  1. Learn the digital Math test format. Understand the differences between multiple-choice questions and student-produced responses. Familiarize yourself with the calculator policy (calculator may be used on all math sections).

    Suggested Time: 2 hours

  1. Review basic math concepts, including integers, fractions, ratios, and proportions.

    Suggested Time: 2 hours

  1. Go over major algebraic concepts, including linear functions, single-variable equations, and systems of linear equations.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours


Month 2: Strategies

In month two of this study plan, you’ll dig deeper into essential concepts you need to know and work on test-taking strategies that’ll help you answer questions efficiently on exam day. 

Week 5: Dig Into More Math

  1. Work on additional SAT Math concepts in advanced math, problem solving, and data analysis. These topics include statistics, reading data, graphs, and plots, quadratic and nonlinear functions, exponential functions and equations, polynomials, coordinate geometry, plane and solid geometry, and trigonometry.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

  1. Spend time practicing with and memorizing the essential formulas you’ll use on SAT Math. Familiarize yourself with the provided digital SAT Math formula sheet to increase speed and accuracy on exam day.

    Suggested Time: 1 hour

  1. Practice SAT Math questions and drill your weaker topics. Review your answers and mistakes, then continue working on your areas for improvement.

    Suggested Time: 3 hours


Week 6: Work on Strategy

  1. Work on crucial SAT Math strategies such as plugging in answers, plugging in numbers, translating word problems, and substitution. Practice pacing yourself and strategic guessing for effective time management on the exam. 

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

  1. Practice SAT Reading and Writing strategies, study vocabulary words, and learn how to analyze different question types and rule out incorrect answers.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

  1. Test out your Math and Reading and Writing strategies on difficult, official practice questions. Check your results against your first, baseline practice test to track your progress. 

    Suggested Time: 1.5 hours


Week 7: Check Your Progress

  1. Take another official practice test through Bluebook and use your score to determine how much you’ve improved since your first practice exam.

    Suggested Time: 4 hours

  1. Review your score report in Bluebook and use your results to identify the areas you’re still struggling with.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

Week 8: Hit Your Weaker Areas

  1. Spend time studying the Reading and Writing topics and concepts that stumped you the most on your recent practice test. Review answer explanations and drill yourself on tough concepts.

    Suggested Time: 2 hours

  1. Review the Math topics and concepts that stumped you on the most recent practice test. Review tutorials on how to answer tough questions and drill yourself on difficult formulas and concepts.

    Suggested Time: 1.5 hours

  1. Test yourself on your weaker areas using official practice questions for both digital SAT Reading and Writing and Math. Compare your accuracy rate on this practice to your most recent practice test results.

    Suggested Time: 3 hours


Month 3: Review & Practice

Almost done! In this last month, you’ll focus mainly on familiarizing yourself with the digital testing environment and preparing for exam day.


Week 9: Get Your Digital Device Ready

  1. The digital device you’ll use to take the digital SAT must be ready to use on exam day. Spend this week making sure you have an approved digital device (you can request to borrow one from your school or the College Board this week as well) and ensuring your device’s software is up to date. Download any needed software updates. Download and/or update Bluebook if needed.

    Suggested Time: 6.5 hours


Week 10: Check Your Progress

  1. Take your third and final practice test through Bluebook in order to get a final look at your weaker areas going into the exam. Pay close attention to pacing, navigating the digital exam, and ensuring you know how to use all of the digital tools available to you.

    Suggested Time: 4 hours

  1. Review your Bluebook score report and analyze your results. Make a list of concepts and question types that need one final review.

    Suggested Time: 2.5 hours


Week 11: Practice Still-Difficult Concepts

  1. Spend this week reviewing challenging concepts. Try to make progress in your struggle areas!

    Suggested Time: 6.5 hours


Week 12: Get Ready for the Exam

  1. Spend some time reviewing your weaker areas, but focus your energy on relaxing and making sure everything is in order for the exam. Double check your digital device and Bluebook app, download your exam entrance ticket, and make sure your digital device is fully charged. Spend the day before your exam resting instead of studying!

    Suggested Time: 6.5 hours (with 0 hours on test day and the day before the test)



Think of this as your own personal study library. 


Sample Resources for Digital SAT Prep

The best digital SAT study plan includes quality digital SAT prep resources! Below, we cover essential digital SAT study resources from PrepScholar and other vetted sources. As a bonus, they’re all free!


PrepScholar Digital SAT Study Resources

PrepScholar provides a variety of expert-approved resources to help you get ready for the digital SAT. These resources range from articles explaining how the digital SAT works and what to expect from the new exam, to live SAT prep courses taught by real teachers. 

Here are some of the best PrepScholar resources to help you get ready for the digital SAT

As of July 2023, PrepScholar’s official digital SAT prep program is available to all PrepScholar SAT students! Here’s where you can learn more about the PrepScholar Digital SAT program.


Other Digital SAT Study Resources

To put together a comprehensive digital SAT study plan, check out the official digital SAT study resources from the College Board and Khan Academy too. 

Through the Bluebook app, the College Board offers: 

Additionally, the College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide more free, official digital SAT prep. Through Khan Academy, you can access: 

  • A digital SAT Reading and Writing practice course
  • A digital SAT Math practice course
  • A video overview of the new digital SAT
  • A list of digital SAT FAQs

Keep in mind that, because the digital SAT is still so new, there will be many more digital SAT prep materials to come in the future! For now, these official digital SAT prep resources will give you a solid foundation to get you ready for the exam.


Now What?

Don't miss our ultimate guide to studying for the SAT. It'll give you the foundational resources and strategies you need to succeed.

And of course, don't forget to register for the test well in advance. Here's a complete walk-through for signing up for the SAT.

Maybe you've taken the SAT already, but you're not happy with your score. You can always retake the SAT! Here's everything you need to know about taking the SAT for the second (or third, or fourth) time.



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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.

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