It seems that everything is digitized these days. Test prep is no exception. More and more parents and kids are forgoing the tradition of sitting down with hefty 500-page SAT test-prep books in favor of self-contained computer programs.
Plenty of options exist on the family PC. But students are increasingly relying on smartphone apps to fill idle moments with brief test-prep sessions as they gear up for the big exam.
A slew of SAT-prep apps are available to make the most of that downtime — moments between classes, on bus rides, or while waiting in line in the cafeteria.
Here are five apps that can help boost those all-important test scores. Happy studying!
SAT QOTD – The College Board, which publishes the SAT, asks a Question of the Day to prime test takers. This free app provides a week’s worth of QOTDs that delve into SAT vocabulary, reading comprehension and mathematics. Users get instant feedback about whether their answer was correct, including a detailed explanation of why they were wrong or right. The QOTD also provides statistics, like the number and proportion of people who answered correctly, so users can see how they compare to others.
WordChallenge – This free app focuses on vocabulary words that turn up on the SAT and other standardized tests, such as the GRE. It uses a simple flashcard format and provides instant feedback once a user selects an answer. Some people use this simple and popular app just for fun and daily brain exercise. About 12,600 users have signed up.
SAT Math – WAGmob, a company that specializes in easy-to-use learning tools, produces this math-specific app. It includes quizzes, tutorials and flashcards, and is continuously updated based on user feedback. The same company offers a Geometry app for students who would like to concentrate more on polygons, quadrilaterals and angles. SAT English is also available from WAGmob. These apps cost between 99 cents and $1.99.
SAT Vocab Hackers – This is another option for SAT vocabulary prep, but this 99-cent app moves beyond the simple flashcard formula and draws upon mnemonics techniques, a learning strategy that is believed to help with information retention. The app includes images to make vocabulary definitions stick, randomized questions to keep participants thinking quickly, sample sentences and a statistics page to help users track their progress. It also keeps a “least memorized” list so teens can brush up on words they have yet to master. The two Ivy League students who designed the app said they used the same techniques to help them get the grades needed to earn a place at those universities.
Learning Circle – This free app is not specifically built for SAT prep, but it offers thousands of educational and tutorial videos that users can download from the Khan Academy and use as part of their test-prep regimen. Mathematics is one of the top categories on Learning Circle, so students seeking a baseline understanding of SAT topics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry prior to beginning practice tests may benefit from this app. Downloads have topped 21,000.
Rachel Nuwer is a Brooklyn-based science journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian and Science.Tags: Business,Downtime,Education,Mobile Apps,Tech Culture