The October SAT: Second-to-Last test Before Digital Move

Nathan Baek, Writer

On Saturday, October 1st, upper secondary students came to GSIS to take the SAT’s second-to-last paper test. 

For the last 96 years, students took the SAT on paper. However, as announced by the College Board, the SAT will go online starting from March 2023. The October SAT was the second-to-last test before the digital move. For many seniors, the October SAT was their last chance to ace the test before college applications are due.

The SAT, also known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is comprised of three main sections: reading comprehension, writing, and math. As the SAT plays a significant role in college admissions, students were determined to master the test. Nowadays, the average SAT score for elite colleges has skyrocketed to between 1450-1550 out of 1600. 

Many students take different approaches to prepare for the SAT. Some students self-study with free resources such as Khan Academy, whereas others, like many in South Korea, attend an SAT hagwon that tutors on their skills.

Regarding test prep, junior Chris Kim says, “I attended a hagwon every day over the summer break from 9 am-6 pm to enhance my test-taking skills on the SAT.” Chris attended a 2-month intensive class, taking several mock tests to track and monitor his improvement. 

According to College Board, students tend to score lowest in the reading section. The time limit for the reading section proves difficult for many, as students are expected to read 5 passages and answer 52 questions in 65 minutes.  As junior Jiho Kim, who took the October test, says, “the reading section was quite challenging with its pressing time constraints.”

Although many colleges have decided to go SAT test-optional until 2028, the SAT still plays a contributing role in college admissions. Therefore, students feel the pressure to take the test as soon as possible and score highly.

However, for underclassmen, taking the online version is the only version of the SAT they get to experience. Students worldwide are yet to discover whether the online version will remain faithful to the paper version of the SAT— thus, the only option for underclassmen is to study, study, and study…

Results for the SAT are often released two weeks after the exam. Meanwhile, students nervously refresh their email inboxes and wait for results to come in. 

Although the SAT has lost its significance post-COVID, students should not take the SAT lightly because a high score can greatly improve their college admissions chances. 

For those who seek to take the last paper SAT exam in December, visit the site below and register before November 3rd: