GANANDA, N.Y. (WROC) — The pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things. That will soon include how students take the SAT.

The test is moving to an all-digital format, administrators announced on Tuesday. They say it’s all in effort to boost relevancy and accessibility.

The new format is set to rollout in 2024.

According to the College Board, students can take the test on their own laptops, and if they don’t have one, they can sign one out for free.

The catch — it will still be monitored in an in-person, classroom-like setting.

“It’s not a surprise,” said Mary Crelley, high school guidance counselor with Gananda Central School District.

She says this has been anticipated for a while, just expedited with the pandemic.

The biggest question many are asking now is, do I take it? Crelley says over time, less colleges are requiring the SAT due to accessibility issues and COVID-19.

“I’m just pleased that it’s slowly going away,” said Crelley. “With all the other pressures that high schoolers are facing right now, to not have this huge burden of, ‘junior year I have to take this test that could really change my trajectory,’ I think it’s super healthy.”

Now, Crelley says the shift focuses more on things like extracurriculars, and GPA.

“And they [colleges] are finding that with the exclusion of those scores, they’re still able to admit capable and high achieving students,” she said. “In previous years if a student was going to a four-year college, you took the SAT. So that conversation has really shifted to, does it make sense for me to take it?”

Nazareth College is an example of a local school following this model. They removed testing requirements over ten years ago.

They responded to the news with the following statement:

Nazareth College is a national leader in TEST OPTIONAL and was one of the first to adopt its policy at the start of the fall 2007 semester. We have been committed to acknowledging our students’ holistic academic experience in the admissions process. The changes in the SAT will make the test more accessible which overall is a good thing for all students.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a drastic effect on the high school experience for students across the country. Nazareth understands this and looks for those students who have performed well over their four years in high school and show academic promise in pursuit of their higher education goals.

Nazareth looks for strong math, science, and writing skills in the application review process, as well as students committed to community service, community engagement, and social justice.

St. John Fisher is another example, going test-optional:

St. John Fisher College applauds the College Board for evolving as the student academic learning environment has evolved, particularly in its effort to make college entrance exams more accessible for students.

The College continues to be a test optional school and the SAT (or any college entrance exam) is one of several components that we consider in the application process. For Fisher, the most important factors that help determine student success are a track record of day-to-day effort in the classroom, the strength of their high school curriculum, and overall GPA. We also value the opportunity to know our applicants personally and understand their motivation and passion for their academic goals.”    

If a student is questioning whether to take it or not — Crelley suggests speaking with a high school guidance counselor.

“If you took the SAT, would it help your chances of admission, are you doing well, do you do well on these tests? And that’s a discussion we’re going to have with each student,” she said.

The test will also be shorter — making it a two hour test instead of three hours.