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Technology in the Classroom to Prepare for the SAT

Jacqui Murray

Taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) has become a rite of passage for high school students as they leave formal education and enter the next phase of learning. More than 7 million will take SAT tests in 2018 in January, March/April, May, June, October, November, or December. Some will take it for the first time; some for the umpteenth time. For many, it represents a last desperate attempt to qualify for the college of their dreams. In an earlier article, I focused on preparation for the essay portion of the SAT. This time, I'll discuss some of the great technology in the classroom online sites that help students prepare for the math and reading portions. Below are 11 technology in the classroom options for SAT preparation, from my top five choices to six honorable mentions. All are easy to use, differentiated, up to date on the recent changes to the SAT, and represent a good investment of both time and money.

I've based my selections on the following criteria:

  • Ease of use -- accounts are easy to set up with access to both the site and materials are quick and intuitive.
  • Well-rounded -- nicely differentiated tools that address varied student learning styles.
  • Quantity and quality of available prep materials -- materials are both in-depth and in a variety of formats (written, online, video, live/chat) with explanations of answers.
  • Cost vs. value -- free is nice, but if students get good value for fee-based resources, that's just as important.
  • Time commitment -- students can spend as much or little time as they have on any given day.

Top Five Technology in the Classroom SAT Prep Websites

College Board

Free

College Board is by reputation and tradition the home of the SAT. Here, you can register for an SAT test, send score reports to colleges, go behind the curtain to see what concepts are tested on each section, and practice for the test with authentic questions and full-length practice tests. Once you set up an account (which is easy to do), the site is intuitive to use and differentiates for varied learning styles by offering question collections as well as full exams.

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Kaplan Test Prep

Free/Fee

Kaplan Test Prep is one of the original names in SAT/ACT prep. It has the most practice tests of any program currently available, as well as offering its study guides and practice tests in both in print and online. Test prep can include questions, tests, and videos. Some options also offer online/live chat. How much time and money you spend depends on what resources you select and can vary from free to a substantial fee.

Khan Academy

Free

Khan Academy, in partnership with the College Board, has designed a scaffolded SAT prep program that diagnoses the student's level and takes them through practice questions in a step-by-step approach to prepare them for the real thing. It was developed in collaboration with the College Board, so all of its practice questions are authentic, focused, and realistic. Its combination of video and written explanations also serve varied student learning styles. Practice tests can be taken online or downloaded. The student account can be linked to their College Board account.

UWorld SAT Prep

Fee

UWorld, considered by many to be the gold standard in test preparation, provides materials for not only the SAT but many professional licensing exams, including USMLE, ABIM, ABFM, ACT, and AP. The site includes more than 1200 SAT questions written by experienced educators and is designed to be similar to what students will find on the real test. With each question is a rigorous explanation, step-by-step instructions, and helpful images about the logic behind answers.

Registered students can access questions at any pace, take full timed tests to build test-taking stamina, pause during testing, flag questions they want more work on, save generated tests to finish or retake later, and more. See my full review here.

Veritas Prep

Free/Fee

Veritas Prep is the world’s largest provider of test prep and admissions consulting services. Founded in 2002 by graduates of the Yale School of Management, Veritas Prep offers live classroom prep courses, interactive online courses, on-demand classes, and private SAT tutoring sessions. Veritas Prep offers both free and fee tips, videos and more for both SAT and ACT.

Honorable Mention

Albert

Free/Fee

Albert's test prep courses offer 40,000+ rigorous, subject-aligned questions written in the style of the AP, SAT, and ACT exams. Students gain exposure to rigorous content, master critical thinking skills, and have the opportunity to clarify common topical misconceptions. Students can also take sample tests that mimic the real SAT.

Number2.com

Free

Number2.com's online test preparation allows users to customize their prep course with user-friendly tutorials, practice sessions that dynamically adapt to their ability level, a vocabulary builder, and more. Parents, teachers, and counselors can monitor a student's progress by viewing real-time reports. Currently, test prep includes only ACT, GRE, and vocabulary, so why did I include it in an SAT study list? Because it's a quality free program that helps students master the general knowledge covered in SAT tests. I have no doubt that in the near future, Number2.com will expand to include SAT preparation also.

Perfect Score Project

Free/Fee

Perfect Score Project focuses on the tips and strategies most likely to help students excel at the SAT test. The website program is tied to the author's popular book, “The Perfect Score Project,” on preparing for the SAT. To participate, students sign up for the Student SAT series. Also available is a Chrome app to sync learning across the Internet.

PrepFactory

Free

Prep Factory guides students through strategies required to excel at the SAT. It starts with a pre-quiz to determine where the student is in their SAT preparation (much like Khan Academy does) and then develops a plan to address holes in learning, delivered via interactive and gamified questions that make learning as fun as SAT prep can be. When ready, students can take SAT practice exams and then repeat review in their weak areas. Nicely, it includes vocabulary or grammar gameplay against an unknown opponent -- perfect for the student who loves a challenge.

StudyBlue

Free/Fee

StudyBlue is user-driven SAT prep which works by providing access to user-created flashcard collections that address SAT skills. To date, there are more than 500 free study resources that cover SAT prep.

USA Testprep

Fee

USATestprep is a standards-aligned teacher-directed test preparation for elementary through high school. It addresses not only graduation tests like the SAT and ACT, but subject area summative tests and end-of-grade assessments for states, Common Core, and more (including PARCC). It works across all platforms and can be individualized to each student need. Teachers can offer formative or summative assessments, customize questions, or choose benchmark options that are offered as games, vocabulary lists, videos, on the projector, puzzles, worksheets, flashcards, bell-ringer questions, item of the day, or a class scoreboard.

***

This list of SAT prep approaches varies from user-driven to highly organized, from free to fee, from online to individualized. What works best for you or your students depends on needs and personal approach to learning. Take time to try several of these before committing to one. Good luck!

More on Assessments:

12 Fresh Ways to Assess Student Learning

How NOT to Assess Student Writing

8 Popular Year-long Assessments


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 20 years. She is the editor/author of more than 100 ed-tech resources, including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in ed-tech, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on ed-tech topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thriller series, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.