Key Features of College Board’s Bluebook App
The College Board launched the new Digital PSAT in October 2023 and will administer the new Digital SAT nationwide in the U.S. for the first time in March 2024. The current paper-based SAT will be phased out after the December 2023 administration.
Students will take these tests at official testing locations using the College Board’s Bluebook App, which has to be downloaded ahead of time onto their own personal or school-issued devices. Students can download the app here.
Once they have downloaded Bluebook, students can log in with either their College Board account or with a special code provided by their school. While the official test has to be taken at a testing location, the app also offers an untimed test preview that students can use to experiment with the various tools the app provides as well as four full-length practice SATs that can be taken anywhere. The results of these practice tests can be accessed by logging into the College Board website.
In this article, we will highlight some of the features of the Bluebook app so students have a better feel for what their testing experience will be like using this platform.
Reading and Writing
Below is a screenshot of what the Reading and Writing module looks like.
As with a paper-based test where students can flip back through the test booklet to read the directions, students can access the directions at any time by clicking on the directions tab.
The timer will count down the remaining time that students have left in a given module. Students can hide the timer at any time if seeing the countdown is distracting or anxiety-inducing. Students can unhide the timer at any time to see how much time they have left. A 5-minute warning will pop up on the student’s screen when there are 5-minutes remaining in the module.
On the multiple-choice questions, process of elimination is an important strategy. The Bluebook testing platform allows for the elimination of answers through their answer eliminator feature. By hitting the undo button, students can bring back any answer that they have eliminated.
Through the annotation feature, students can highlight parts of the passage and add additional notes as well. This feature has the potential to be both very helpful and time consuming. We encourage students to practice with it to find a balance between using it to help organize their thoughts and staying within the time limits.
Mark for Review
Similar to a paper and pencil test, on the digital PSAT or SAT, students can skip questions, return back to any question, and change any answers to questions within a given module. The Mark for Review feature allows students to flag questions on the digital PSAT or SAT that they want to return to, just as they might previously have circled a question number.
By clicking on the black box at the bottom of the screen, students can easily and quickly see every question that they answered, skipped, or marked for review. Clicking on the question number will immediately take the student to that question in the test.
There is a 10-minute break after students complete the 2nd module of the Reading & Writing Section. On the official PSAT and SAT test day, the breaks will be timed by a counter.
Below is a screenshot of what the math modules look like in the Bluebook app. The overall format is very similar to the Reading and Writing modules, but the annotate tool has been replaced with a calculator button and a reference tab.
Students have access to the same mathematical formulas that were included in the paper-based SAT. By clicking on the Reference button, students can bring these formulas up at any time.
The Bluebook app has an integrated Desmos graphing calculator that students can access any time in the math section by clicking on “Calculator”. While a few features are locked in the app version, they are not things a student would want to use while taking the SAT, so students can practice working with this calculator both in the Bluebook app on the Desmos website itself. Students are also welcome to bring their own calculator if they prefer, though we recommend at least giving Desmos a try!
Applerouth is here to help.
The Bluebook app interface is user friendly and intuitive. However, we encourage students to take a practice test in order to familiarize themselves with the features of the online platform before they take an official PSAT or SAT.
Our practice tests closely mimic the look and feel of the official tests and are easy to take. In addition, after they complete the test, students will receive an itemized score report that shows their scores along with which questions they got correct and which they missed. This report will also highlight areas of strengths and weaknesses. Our tutors are equipped to help our students interpret these results and to use them to tailor a tutoring program to their specific needs.
Please reach out to us to schedule your practice test today and to speak with one of our expert program directors who can help you to map out your student’s standardized testing plan. Our Program Directors can be reached at 866-789-PREP (7737) or you can book an appointment here.