A variety of test prep apps have recently come out for the iPad, iPhone and other mobile devices, with more sure to follow. Not surprising given the “on-the-go” convenience and fun of anytime/anywhere access to study aids.

Apps are available for many of the most widely taken standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT and more. There are even apps for the CPA exam and to help you get your pilot’s license! I’ll focus here on just a few of the many that are available for the SAT.

Right now there seem to be three basic types of iPad SAT prep apps available:

  • “Free” apps that essentially serve as content delivery portals for making in-app purchases to get the material you want.
  • “Inclusive” apps that provide a wide range of useful practice content plus value-add features for a moderate price.
  • “Focused” apps that provide generalized help on one key segment of a test, such as SAT vocabulary.

The most popular of the “free” type apps are from BenchPrep. They have versions for the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, SAT, ACT, PCAT, CFA, Nursing, Pharmacy and more. The seller (formerly Watermelon Express) claims that “more than 150,000 users have used our test prep apps across iPhone, iPad and Android.” The Bench Prep apps let you take practice questions and tests, flip through flashcards and make notes. Scoring analysis features let you track your progress and pinpoint weak areas using graphs and other forms of reporting.

The idea behind the “content delivery” model is that learners can use the app to buy educational and test prep content from a variety of publishers from one central hub. While touted as affordable, many of the in-app purchases cost $100 or more.

Another free app that is also “focused,” Ace the SAT, is not a content portal but instead includes a wide range of SAT-like math questions for practice. New questions are added with every update, many with detailed explanations of how to arrive at the correct answer. A screen capture feature enables you to save tricky questions to your photos album for easy sharing with friends and tutors. You even get some scoring analytics like an expected approximate SAT score.

The “inclusive” style of app is exemplified by SAT Score Quest by the Princeton Review. For $9.99, this app lets you take a 45-question SAT assessment test to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses (score report included). You also get 45 additional questions, which include “interactive problem solutions” – top Princeton Review tutors giving step-by-step solutions to the SAT problems. Also included are fifteen “SAT Core Concept” lessons that teach you The Princeton Review’s top SAT strategies.

Easel, the makers of SAT Score Quest, also offer SAT Prep Pro, which they compare to “a tutor on demand!” This highly rated app offers over 200 practice questions in nine sections. Questions are accompanied by instant “show me” lessons. If you get stuck on a problem, just tap “ShowMe” to see a step-by-step animation of the solution.

Another popular test prep app in the “focused” family is SAT Vocabulary Practice for Dummies by Gwhiz. Priced at $3.99, this app focuses exclusively on “the vocabulary you need to know to get a good verbal score on the SAT exam.” The app features flash cards, practice tests, word lookup, and fun games that help you incorporate new vocabulary words into real-life situations.

Have you tried any of the SAT prep apps for iPad or other mobile devices? What are your impressions?

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