Tutorials and Exercises to Help Students Prepare for the SAT

By BOB TEDESCHI,  NYTimes

Teenagers have a hard time paying attention to anything that’s not flashed across a smartphone screen. Yet somehow, parents still expect results when they plop an SAT study book in front of their children.

Note to parents: Meet your children halfway.

Apps that help teenagers study for the SAT (or, for those not living on either coast, the ACT) are improving, as traditional test-prep businesses like Princeton Review and Kaplan refine their mobile software to compete with start-ups.

Several to consider on this front include Princeton Review’s SAT Score Quest for iPad (free) and SAT Vocab Challenge for iPhone ($5), Kaplan SAT Flashcubes (free) and SAT Connect ($10 for Apple). For math, Adapster ($10 on Apple) is designed nicely.

Android users, as usual, have fewer choices, since the best-known test-prep companies haven’t yet built apps for these devices. But Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab ($1 Android, free on Apple) has earned good marks from users, as has ACT/SAT Math Booster (Free, Android).

For those looking to sample the wares, the category’s best entry point is Kaplan’s SAT Flashcubes, which are tailored to the verbal part of the SAT. Presumably, this could also help ACT students. It’s easy to use, and the app’s interactive features make it a lot more fun to study than a static book.

Flashcubes will quiz users on hundreds of vocabulary words, using interactive 3-D cubes. The front presents the word, and if you flip the cube, it shows the definition. Other sides of the cube show synonyms, or a sentence that uses the word.

The app tracks the student’s performance, so users can watch their progress over time, and it stores a list of incorrect responses so users can test themselves on those words only if they wish.

SAT Vocab Challenge offers a gamelike format, with four games in each round — covering antonyms, synonyms, connotation and definitions — and 20 words per game. The fastest answers gain and lose the most points.

Some of the app’s most puzzling moments do not come from the tests. I tried one round of all four categories (thankfully, I aced them). When I clicked to the game stats page, to view my average response time, the page had no data to offer about the quizzes. When I returned to the main page, it told me I hadn’t yet mastered a single word.

Vocab Challenge comes in two volumes, with each covering 250 words.

Princeton Review’s SAT Score Quest for iPad is much less fun, but more helpful. It offers abbreviated practice tests for each of the SAT’s three elements — math, writing and critical reading.

The tests help users diagnose possible areas of weakness, but they also offer instruction. Each question includes a tutorial on the logic behind the correct answer, and a strategy for eliminating incorrect responses.

SAT Connect also includes review materials as well as quizzes and diagnostic tests, and offers explanations of more than 800 questions. But SAT Connect boasts some elements that other apps lack, like a much longer list of vocabulary words (4,000), and the ability to compare a user’s test scores against those of others who use the app.

Users who complete the five sample tests in the app can buy two additional tests for $2 each.

SAT Connect has earned good reviews from users even at its initial price of $25. According to a company spokesman, Andrew Fisher, the current $10 price will remain in place at least until the end of the month.

Adapster, which is exclusively for math, is among the few highly rated apps in this category for both Apple and Android.

As the name implies, the software adapts to the user’s needs over time. Users can take a diagnostic test to help Adapster tailor future tests to the user’s needs, or skip that step and the app will change every new test to account for the student’s performance on the previous one.

ACT/SAT Math Booster is another interesting one for Android users who bring a Texas Instruments TI-83 or TI-84 calculator into the test. The calculators can be programmed to include shortcuts for complex equations like the quadratic formula, and Math Booster offers step-by-step instructions for doing so.

The app is from the Advantage Point Test Group, an SAT prep company. A company spokeswoman, Devorah Goldblatt, said the programs are “completely within the boundaries of both ACT and SAT” guidelines, and a section on the Web site of the College Board, which administers the tests, supports her assertion.

For Android users who are looking for vocabulary help, Flash of Genius is probably their best bet. It’s not as good as the other vocabulary apps on Apple, because it relies on you to tell the software that you know a word’s definition. Users who overestimate their mastery of a particular word will suffer later as a result.

As a free app on iTunes, in other words, it’s not worth your time to download. But for $1 on Android, it may be as good as you can get, until the industry leaders work their way over to the other side of the street.

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60 responses to “Tutorials and Exercises to Help Students Prepare for the SAT

  1. This article is about how technology has been suited for the modern-day test-taker. I think this is a great idea because students don’t like to study. By making the studying a little more interactive, the studying will become tolerable. This is a great idea for somebody that needs to study for the SAT’s or ACT’s.

  2. This is a great idea for the SATs because with the advancements in technology such as the iPad and other tablets more students can study of the go. It makes learning more fun and convenient. Many people are starting to get tablet for school and new learning apps isjust another reason to get one.

  3. gingerjames12

    I think that these apps are a great idea. Many people who are taking the SATs study a lot but the studying they do may not be something interesting. These apps combine technology and learning. Students love technology but not necessarily learning. The combination is exactly whats students need, a fun way to learn how to study. I know that when I take the SATs, i will be looking for some apps to help me study.

  4. This article is about how people are using computer apps on their iPad, iPhone, iPod, etc. to study for the SAT’s. I think that this is a great way for young adults to study for the SAT’s because there is a lot of information to know and it is not always easy to want to learn the information. But, with these new apps you can easily and enjoyable study for an otherwise not so easy and enjoyable test. So in conclusion I think that these apps are a great idea and I think i would use one of these fun apps to study for the SAT’s in the future.

  5. I think that technolgy and studying for standardized is a brilliant combination. Kids now a days are so accustomed to technology that practicing for the SATs on an iPad or phone is a great idea. There is also the cost benefit, like paying $10 or $15 instead of a expensive textbook or an even more expensive class. These apps are more approachable too. It is more likely for a student to work on their Ipad, than taking out a big, bulky textbook to study from. I think that apps to help kids study are great, and I will probably download some to prepare for the SATs too!

  6. This article is basically about how upcoming students can use technology prep for standardized testing, like the SATs. This is such a great idea, because many teens now have smart phones, iPads, or other devices that apps can be downloaded to. I think this great because when I took the SAT this prevous year, I used huge books that helped me prepare, but with apps costing from $0-$15, it is so more convenient, and will help kwids to get enthusiastic about studying. Apps are much more economical than a textbook or class. I think standardized testing apps will make SAT and ACT scores go up, because it makes studding fun. This invention is a great idea for all teens studding for a standardized test.

  7. This article is about the new apps created that help teenagers study for the SAT. I think this is helpful because this makes it much more fun and you might learn more. This is also going to help the people unable to pay for tutors. All you need is an iphone, ipad, ipod (touch),or any other device you can buy apps on. These apps won’t be as expensive as tutors or all these books so i think it’s a great idea.

    • I completely agree with you when you say that this will be great for kids who can not afford tutors etc. I also agree with you when you say the apps wont be that expensive.

  8. This article is about how teenagers seem to find things more interesting when they are more technological instead of on paper. I think that making SAT practice apps is a great way to help teens study. It just makes it more interesting. It is especially useful because some of the apps are free. These apps can be downloaded without going to a store which saves a lot of time. It is also better for the environment. SAT practice books are hundreds of pages long. With an app, you don’t need to waste any paper. Some people may believe that it is bad to become dependent on technology but, sometimes it’s a good thing. It’s always a good thing to encourage students to study. I think I might even try downloading one of these apps to see what the SAT is like.

    • I agree with you David when you say, “It is also better for the environment. SAT practice books are hundreds of pages long.” I never thought of this being better for the environment.

  9. This article is essentially about how in a current age were we are becoming more and more dependent on technology, we can make a lot of use out of newly developed apps specifically used to prepare for the SAT test. I think that this is very interesting, and that an app designed for this purpose could be more beneficial and more effective than spending hours studying from a textbook. I think that when I get to an age where I need to prepare for the SAT, an app such as this could be of great use.

    • I also agree that we are becoming more and more dependent on technology and I would also prefer using an app on my iPad over studying from a book. It’s a great way to encourage people to study and I think that these apps will become more and more successful over time.

  10. This article is about the new apps created that help teenagers study for the SAT. The apps are available for Apple and Androids products. SAT Vocab Challenges offer game like formats to help users enjoy studying. I think this is a great idea because most teens have a hard time paying attention to anything that is on technology screens, so with apps that can be easily downloaded they will pay attention and study for the SATs.

  11. This article is about SAT and ACT technology. I think this is a great idea because kids have shorter attention spans then they used to, because of the technology. I know it would be very hard for me ,and probably many other kids, to sit down and read a book for a long period of time. It would be a lot more interesting if i was interacting with something and learning at the same time. I think this is a great idea to keep up with today’s technology.

  12. This article is about how students can use apps made by collages to study for the SAT’s. I think that this is a great idea because, our generation depends on technology for almost everything. If we add more informational apps like the ones that the article talks about students will study more therefore getting better grades. Apps are very common throughout all people who have apple products, and they are not very expensive. They range from $0 – $15 so they are more affordable than most books. Another reason I think this is helpful for students is because, it can seem much more fun because, it is on an ipod or ipad. Personally I think that these apps are a great idea and should be introduced to students studying for the SAT’s.

  13. I think that this article is about how apps are now tutoring kids for test like the SAT. I think that these apps are good, because they probably save a lot of money. It saves people money, because it is cheaper to get a two dollar app, than to hire a tutor. I also think that the apps that teach you vocabulary words are pretty cool. I have always hated making flashcards, now you can just download a app and you have vocabulary words that you can study. Another thing that I would find useful is the online test that you can take. That can really help track your progress.

  14. I think that this article is for helping students prepare for the SAT. This makes a lot of sense because SAT tutors could cost a lot of money and these apps cost less than 5 dollars. Also, these apps track your progress and adapt their quizzes/tests to you. I think that these apps are great and will help lots of people in the future

    • I agree with you, these apps probably do help save money. I hope that they keep coming out with better apps that act as a tutor.

  15. This article is about how technology evolved from recreational causes to informational uses. Technology isn’t just for playing games anymore, it is now about useful causes. Technology has progressed into our everyday life for matters from playing games to studying. This article is essentially about using the technology instead of books. Technology has outdated books, but I still believe books are better and more reliable.

    • I agree with you. Technology has now become very, very useful for lots of things. I think technology will continue to become more and more integrated into our everyday lives in the future.

    • I agree with you Matt, I think it is interesting how apps evolved from just fun games to useful test prep tool.

  16. This article is about how kids in 2011 can prepare differently for the S.A.T. They say kids can study on iPads and other devices. I think this is a good idea because people might think of this as more fun. Instead of just holding and pencil and writing on paper you get to touch a screen. This is a lot more entertaining then just writing with a pencil. Kids are more adapt to new technology. This can improve kids test scores.

    • I agree with you saying that it is more entertaining to study on an iPad, but wouldn’t that lead to be sidetracked and procrastination?

  17. This article shares some new thinking on how students in 2011 could prepare for the SAT. Now that a bunch of kids have zooms, and ipads, they can study very easily for the SATs. Obviously since technology is becoming more advanced, people will use it for more various reasons, one of them being studying. Better yet, they are priced very reasonably, $0-15. Many textbooks cost upwards of $80, so in times like these, it is also more economical to get a studying app than a textbook. Thanks to this, more kids can study easily and get better test scores.

  18. This article is about new apps that are being developed to help kids study for their SAT’s and other tests. I believe this is extremely helpful for kids, because it is pretty much interactive which will make kids want to use it more. Students don’t really enjoy reading books to study or for the sake writing things down. So these apps will get the students into it and hopefully make them want to study. This will result in better grades for students on the SATs. This is a brilliant idea and i think will really help students for many years to come.

  19. This article is about how teens struggle studying for the SATs and how new apps have been coming out on your devices to help teens focus and study. I think that this is a great idea, I know that I would much rather study from a device of some sort rather than use a heavy book. Technology has taken on a new step in our times, we can do almost anything with it. Most teens, adults and children have all seen what technology can do and now prefer it over books and pencils and paper. I think that using apps to study for major tests will improve the score. Teens would rather using a device, “Teenagers have a hard time paying attention to anything that’s not flashed across a smartphone screen. Yet somehow, parents still expect results when they plop an SAT study book in front of their children.”

    • I think that using technology to help teens study will help improve test scores too. It makes it more fun, and teens will get enthusiastic about preparing for big tests.

  20. These apps seem great for those who have the technology to download these apps. For me and I’m sure many others who don’t have this kind of technology (i.e. iPads, iPhones, Android) it wouldn’t help us out much. There should be something like this that is also compatible with laptops and desktops. Then we would have the same advantage and possibly the same fun as those with iPads and iPhones. Right now, since I don’t have the technology, it doesn’t impact me that much.

  21. The article states that apps can be very helpful to study with for SAT/ACT. I think that they are better if you don’t want to go out and buy an expensive textbook. However, the textbooks are better for me personally because it helps to actually try and find the things you are studying, as oppose to typing it in on an ipad or Android where the results may not be as reliable. All in all, a textbook would be a better choice in my opinion

  22. I think that it is a little sad that no one had realized this before now. Of course students study better when using some type of electronic application. Why would parents expect Students to learn through textbooks or study packets when they could learn thought electronics. This makes perfect sense to me, that students learn better through electronics.

  23. This article is about different apps for studying for the SATs/ACTs. I think that these apps are very helpful. I know that myself that I find it easier to study from a electronic device than a textbook.

  24. This aricle is about how comapnies have created phone and iPad apps to study for the SATs. I think this is a great way to learn because rather than reading from a boring textbook trying to absorb a lot of information, teenagers can be interactive and play games to learn. Today, teens are already so attached and glued to technology and with these apps they can study anywhere at anytime! This is a great idea and I’m sure it’ll become very popular, I know I would use them.

    • I completely agree with you. Using apps to study would be more fun and entertaining. This would help them absorb information and improve their scores. I would rather use an app to study too.

  25. This article is mostly about how teenagers have trouble focusing when a big book of practice tests is put in front of them, but when they can use an app they agree more to studying. This article also describes some apps that are made to help teenagers study for the test and if they are helpful or not. Personnaly, I think this is a great idea. Apps are very commmon throughout all people who have the iPhone, and the iPad. E-books have become available as apps, also, to make reading easier, so its right at your finger tips. This makes studing for the SAT more conveinent and more easier to use than big books, just like the e-books. When my brother used to study for the SATs he would complain every time, and would have a huge book in front of him. If he had apps, his thoughts may have been different. I think having apps to study for the SATs is very helpful.

    • I completely agree with you! My brother had to take the SATs last year and every time he had to study with a book in front of him, he would complain. Good job!

  26. This article is about tutorial and exercise apps that can help students study for the SAT. I think it would benefit us more because growing up in this century has made us rely on using technology, so why not relate it to something that is school oriented? A relatively cheap, hands-on app such as the ones discussed in the article would interest the students more and make them want to learn. I don’t think any student actually enjoys reading and doing work out of a textbook. Next year when I start preparing for the SAT, I know how I’d rather study.

    • I agree with your comment, “I don’t think any student actully enjoys reading and doing work out of a textbook.” Students don’t like the extra “effort” they have to put in when they use a textbook. They have to go get it, and then find the page they are on. If they had an app though, the app would know where they are, so they don’t have to search for the pages. It makes life easier. Good job!

  27. This article is about how colleges are making apps which help kids study and prepare for the SAT’s in a more fun way, rather than reading text books. I personally feel that this is a really good idea. Kids can begin to develop better skills and knowledge even before high school, which can be beneficial for not only the SAT’s, but also everyday life and school. Also these apps are better because rather then paying thousands of dollars for courses and textbooks, you only need to pay $10 or less for an app on your iPod, iPad, or iPhone. Some Android users can too. I think that kids will have a more positive attitude towards learning these things than they usually would have because it seems more fun using technology, which they probably use everyday, to learn. I honestly feel this will highly benefit high school students looking to do well on their SAT’s.

    • I agree with you, these apps save a lot of money and will get kids to have a more positive approach to their SATs.

  28. This article is about how kids could use their ipads and iphones to study for the SATs using different apps. I personally think that this is crazy, but when I think about it, it could actually work. Kids are so adapted to advanced technology and so putting study apps on them would be a good idea to help them prepare with SATs or ACTs. I would probably prefer to prepare for the SATs using and iphone or ipad rather than a text book.

    • You are right and I totally agree with you that we have adapted to a more technological way of living and this is a way that people are catching up. I think the apps would help them study and do better on SAT’s and ACT’s.

    • I totally agree with you Kevin. I would also want to use an ipad instead of a big book.

  29. This article is about how new apps are being created to help students study for the SAT/ACT’s. I think that this is an ingenious idea because today it seems as though many people pay better attention to technology than to books. This may be because technology today is very interactive. I think that using these apps will be better than using regular books because the students will enjoy it more, and therefore, will learn more. Better yet, they are priced very reasonably, $0-15. Many textbooks cost upwards of $80, so in times like these, it is also more economical to get a studying app than a textbook.

    • I agree with you EJ. The interactive apps would definitely catch our attention and from that, we will learn more. Also, with prices that can’t be beat, why would anyone still prefer textbooks?

    • I think that the price angle of this is very interesting. I did not think of it that way but it is cheaper than most textbooks.

    • agree with you EJ. This ingenious idea can help tons of students study for big tests like the SAT’s. Also, like you said they are very affordable so people that are not as wealthy as others can have a good education.

  30. This article is about how technology has evolved so much that now, people use it to study for the SATs instead of normal books. I don’t think this is a bad thing. As times change, so will the way people study. Obviously since technology is becoming more advanced, people will use it for more various reasons, one of them being studying. There really isn’t much of a difference, because you are still reading words, practice problems and examples. It’s just that in one instance you’re reading it off of paper, and in another you are reading it off a screen. Kids are still getting all the beneficial needs required. Also, these apps aren’t too expensive. They range from $0-$15. I’ve never bought books to study for the SATs, but I would imagine they cost about the same, if not more than these apps. So the apps give the same information, and they are the same price or cheaper than the books. I really think these apps are great.

    • Good point that as times change, so will the ways that people study. And true, there isn’t much of a difference.

    • I completely agree! These apps are a really good way of making kids actually wan to learn more and study. Also it definitely will save people a lot of money because the apps are much cheaper than taking a course or buying a textbook.

  31. This article is about how kids can study for their SAT’s on their ipad and other devices. I think this is helpful because this makes it much more fun and you might learn more. The companies are basically showing the kids that studying can be fun and they did it in a way that is beneficial to the kids and companies.

    • I agree with you. Sometimes, kids don’t like to sit down and read from a huge book. Maybe making it on the iPad/iPhone will make it sound more fun, so more kids will want to do it. The only negative thing is it might be tempting to go on other websites since you are online.

    • You made great points and i agree with you everywhere. Kids enjoy using these devices more so it would seem more fun than just working out of a text book.

  32. This article shares some new thinking on how students in 2011 could prepare for the SAT. Interesting, indeed.
    I just downloaded some of the apps mentioned in the article, and have been trying them out. I am doing better on the vocab and critical reading ones!
    How about you? Try some, and share feedback on the apps as well.
    What do you think?

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