By Tech Powered Dad | October 10, 2010
Kaplan is one of the best known names in test prep classes for getting students the extra ACT and SAT practice they need. What is probably less known is that Kaplan now offers online test prep in addition to the traditional classroom courses that they have offered for decades. If you’re anxious about the math test (or any part really) on the SAT or ACT, you might want to consider taking advantage of this type of service for some extra math practice for the test.
Since I know a lot of Tech Powered Math readers are late high school students (and their parents) who are trying to evaluate test prep services, I decided to take a look at Kaplan’s site to see exactly what they have to offer. Here are a few of the highlights that I discovered.
Free ACT and SAT Quiz Bank
I actually did an article on the Kaplan Quiz Bank recently. You need to go through a quick registration process, but there is no charge. The Quiz Bank automatically generates ACT or SAT practice problems for you to practice on. There are over 500 questions, and you can adjust the test settings. For example, you can choose SAT practice test, just math problems, timed or untimed, and level of difficulty. The Quiz Bank tracks your progress with statistics, and after you’ve taken a few practice tests, you’ll have a good idea where your strengths and weakness are.
You can click here to try out the Kaplan Quiz Bank.
Online ACT and SAT prep courses
If you want to take our test practice up a level, the next option Kaplan offers is online prep courses for the ACT and SAT tests. At three installments of $33, the cost of the course is extremely reasonable. At the beginning of the course, you’ll start by taking a diagnostic test so that Kaplan can determine where you need to most practice and study. From there, Kaplan’s “Smart Track” system will design a study plan for you, and as you complete the online lessons and your test date nears, it will automatically adjust that plan based on your progress. The “Smart Reports” feature on the site will give you extremely detailed data on the progress you’re making.
In terms of the actual class, Kaplan’s site offers a combination of instructional videos and practice tests. There is an instructional video for every topic covered on the ACT and SAT tests. There are over 1200 practice problems, more than enough to keep you learning to the maximum until test day.
ACT and SAT online live courses
The live online courses were what impressed me the most in Kaplan’s array of online options. These courses provide the same type of instruction you’d find in the classroom experience, but on your laptop. Your course will have an instructor that teaches the class live via streaming video and a virtual white board. Once you are logged in, there’s a live chat, meaning you have the same opportunity to ask questions that they would with the “in person” version of the class. Kaplan even built in a “hand raise” feature for asking questions during the teacher’s lesson. The instructor keeps you involved by asking questions that show up as polls on your screen for you to answer. Kaplan also offers you the ability to upgrade your live online course to live online one-on-one ACT or SAT tutoring.
Traditional Kaplan options
If you decide you rather not go the online route, Kaplan offers the same “in person” options that they have for years. For the same cost as online course, you can take a Kaplan course in the classroom. For a little more money, Kaplan also offers small group tutoring (think 3-5 students). The most expensive option, though probably most effective, is to purchase in home one-on-one tutoring.
The ACT and SAT tests are scary for a lot of students, particularly the math sections. They don’t have to be. I would encourage any student who’s experiencing test anxiety or is scoring a little below their goals to do some sort of test prep. You can achieve your college admission goals with practice.
One of the most appealing things about Kaplan is their money back guarantee. If you don’t improve your ACT or SAT score after completing one of their courses, you can get your money back or retake the course for free. That means you’ve got nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. Kaplan offers an option for every budget. If you don’t have a lot to spend, you don’t have to. On the other hand, if you’re willing to invest more heavily in your future, they’ve got more intensive options. Regardless of what level you chose, Kaplan has some of the most technologically advanced solutions in test prep today.