4 minute read
This blog is dedicated to every parent who has told their student to get off of their phone and every student who has said that they were studying. Sometimes they really are.
We’re all pretty attached to our phones. And this makes sense! Our calendars, banking, means of communication, road maps, and memories all live in our hands. There are also a great many ways to relax and entertain ourselves on our phones, and after a long day at school and in extracurriculars, students may be looking for something a bit mindless.
And yet, the SAT and ACT loom in the near future. Many students express difficulty finding time to fit SAT and ACT prep into their already packed schedules, so we at The Answer Class like to find ways to slip prep into students’ everyday lives. (That’s why our live, virtual and in-person classes are only 8 hours long – much shorter than other more expensive prep options.)
In this first of a two-part blog series, we introduce a list of phone or tablet applications that can help students build and review the skills that they will find on both the SAT and the ACT. Each can be easily added into a regular stint of phone time. None of these apps are specifically created for these standardized tests, but they assist with skills and problem-solving commonly seen in questions on the tests. Students can focus on the subjects that need the most practice or try out all of the apps to find one that grabs their interest.
We’re starting with the two sections that students usually have the strongest opinions about: math and reading.
Math Skills (Calculator and No Calculator sections on SAT, Mathematics section on ACT)
The Why: Many students are unenthused about the mathematics sections of the SAT and ACT, but almost all dread the no calculator section specifically. Training the brain in mental math can make the sections seem less daunting.
Mental Math Master – This app helps users increase the speed and accuracy of their mental math skills. This can make a big difference, particularly in the No Calculator section of the SAT, where students rely entirely on mental math to find their answers. Even in the sections of both tests where students are permitted to use calculators, mental math will increase the overall speed of problem-solving, allowing students to attempt more questions.
Khan Academy – On top of the thousands of skills in many different subjects offered by this app, it also has no in-app purchases or subscriptions, so students won’t be bugged with pressure to buy additional features. Many students find that they are less familiar with math skills learned in late middle or early high school, and Khan Academy allows users to easily pinpoint those topics in need of review. Instructional videos can even be downloaded and viewed without internet access.
Reading Comprehension Skills (Reading sections of both SAT and ACT)
The Why: Although neither test outright quizzes students on vocab definitions, being familiar with a variety of words and writing styles can assist with reading comprehension. Here’s an example sentence from a practice SAT: “Please don’t judge my candidacy by the unseemliness of this proposal.” Without working knowledge of all of the words in the sentence, students may slow down dramatically when considering the entire text. As new words and styles feel more expected, they are less likely to trip up test-takers.
Serial Reader – Primarily in the 1800s, authors published longer works as “serial” novels, which meant they were broken into short installments and published in more accessible forms (like in newspapers), so a wider audience could enjoy them. This app gives users daily bite-sized portions of classic novels, mimicking the experience of early readers of authors like Charles Dickens and Jules Verne. These texts can help students practice reading comprehension of different writing styles, tropes and themes, and characters in worlds.
Vocabulary.com – This app offers new vocabulary words and helps users review words that they’re working on learning. New words can then appear in quiz games that can even be played against friends or other vocab-builders. Further, the app serves as a pocket dictionary written in plain, understandable language.
Look out for the second blog in this series that will share great apps to use for writing concepts, science skills, and good study habits. Need more info about the ins and outs of the SAT and ACT? Register now for one of our live, virtual or in-person prep classes.