When I was a sophomore in high school, my mother plopped an SAT book on my desk that she had ordered on Amazon and told me I needed to start studying. The book, three inches thick, had the three dreaded letters on the front. The sheer volume intimidated me and when I opened it I was instantly bored. I scanned through the book for about 15 minutes and put it on my bookshelf where it collected dust for the next six months.
It wasn’t until about three weeks before taking my first SAT, the fall of my junior year that I decided to crack the book open again. I unearthed it under a pile of fiction books and teen magazines, sat down on my bed, and opened to a random page. I fell asleep within 20 minutes.
No matter how hard I tried, I could not get myself to study. This wasn’t due to lack of motivation. I had excellent grades and wanted to go to a good college. I knew I needed to do well on the test, but the monstrous book filled with miniscule text overwhelmed me. I had never been able to learn just by reading and because my family was stationed overseas private tutoring was not an option.
Ultimately, I took my SAT and did okay but not as well as I could have done with a private tutor or more interactive practice.
Luckily for students like me, there’s a new app available that makes practicing for the SAT engaging and almost fun. I believe it’s the best SAT prep app on the market today. Best news of all, it’s totally and completely free!
The app available on iPhone, iPod, and iPad, is called SAT Up. It allows students to take practice SAT tests in critical reading, math, and writing in increments of 10-30 questions. After taking each practice test, the app allows students to review the questions they answered incorrectly breaking down why the answer the student selected was incorrect. It also gives students a detailed report of their strongest areas and largest areas for improvement.
The app allows students to create accounts, selecting what colleges they are hoping to apply to. After each practice test, the app gives the students a comparison of how they are performing compared to other students planning on applying to the same universities. For example, if you are applying to the University of Virginia, you may rank in the 58th percentile of all those interested in applying, or if you are applying to American University in Washington DC you may rank in the 66th percentile. As you practice more, your overall score will be reflective of your growth.
For those who love gold stars, the application gives students ‘badges’ as they accomplish different tasks (e.g. practicing for so long, or getting above a certain mark on one section). If a student is working with a tutor and is particularly stumped by a question, SAT Up allows the student to send questions to another individual, allowing the student and their test prep tutor to work on the problem together during their next tutoring session.
SAT Prep with a Tutor
Though SAT Up is phenomenal for practicing SAT questions and getting a better understanding of the test, it is important to understand that students are still going to need to crack open the book and preferably meet with a tutor for optimal results. But for the student who needs something interactive to keep them going and avoid falling asleep when the book gets too boring, SAT Up is worth checking out.