Showing posts with label SAT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SAT. Show all posts

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Good Site for Vocabulary Lists and Practice Activities

Vocabulary.com is an excellent vocabulary study service offering thousands of vocabulary practice lists and activities for students in elementary school through graduate school. In addition to lists of SAT, GRE, and other test prep words, you can find vocabulary lists that are attached to novels, historical documents, famous speeches, and current news articles.

When you sign up for Vocabulary.com you will be given an assessment quiz in order to give you suggested lists with which to start your practice. After completing the assessment you can use the practice lists suggested by Vocabulary.com or choose your own lists from the huge gallery of vocabulary lists.

Applications for Education
One of the aspects of the Vocabulary.com activities that I like is the instant feedback for every practice question a student attempts. As you can see in the image above, if a student answers incorrectly on his first attempt, he will see the definition and the word in context.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

PrepFactory Introduces New PARCC and SBAC Review Content

PrepFactory is a free service that has offered great ACT and SAT prep materials. Last year they started to branch out into guided math and language arts review lessons for middle school students. This year the folks at PrepFactory released PARCC and SBAC content for students in sixth through tenth grade.

Just like their ACT and SAT study guides, PrepFactory's PARCC and SBAC content consists of interactive lessons, practice, personalized study paths, and teacher tools. One of the core elements of PrepFactory's programs is continuous diagnostics that are used to identify the content and the activities that students should spend the most time reviewing. In other words, PrepFactory directs students to work on the concepts they are having the most difficulty mastering.

Beyond the content, PrepFactory helps students familiarize themselves with computer-enhanced question formats. Technology enhanced questions present on the PARCC and SBAC are mirrored in PrepFactory's program, giving students and teachers an extra level of comfort on test day.

Applications for Education
Teachers can also easily set up classrooms on PrepFactory to monitor and guide students through the site's curricula. This can be done whether you have your students use PrepFactory for PARCC and SBAC content or you have them use the site for ACT or SAT content.

Currently, they are only releasing content for grades 6-10. Darin Singh, PrepFactory's CEO did tell me that they have plans to release content for all PARCC and SBAC grades in the near future.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Monday, July 24, 2017

Develop and Track ACT & SAT Prep Activities in PrepFactory

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

PrepFactory offers students a great selection of free SAT and ACT preparation activities. PrepFactory focuses on helping students develop good test-taking strategies while also not boring them with dozens of continuous rote exercises. For example, the Pattern Matcher game in PrepFactory has students look at questions and choose the best answering strategy rather than just answering the questions shown to them.

This past spring PrepFactory introduced helpful features for teachers. When you register as a teacher and create your classroom you can also create specific assignments for your students on an individual or class-wide basis. Then once your students have started on their assignments you can track their progress, see where they need to improve, and suggest more appropriate review activities.


Learn more about PrepFactory in the following video.



Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Let PrepFactory Help You Teach SAT & ACT Strategies

As more schools and states require all high school students to take either the ACT or SAT, you may find yourself having to teach SAT or ACT test-taking strategies. In fact, I had to do this in my homeroom when Maine required that all students take the SAT.

Trying to work SAT or ACT test-taking strategy sessions into your already crammed curriculum is frustrating. When I did it, it hardly seemed adequate. I did my best to help my students when they were with me and provided them with some online resources that they could use independently. PrepFactory is one resource that I wish had been available to me back then.

PrepFactory provides students with ACT and SAT strategy tutorials before each set of review activities. The tutorials are a mix of video and text instruction. Students can work through the tutorials as complete sets or skip to a specific section that they want to focus on at the moment.

One of the nice things about PrepFactory's approach to review exercises is that they rotate a variety of question formats so that students don't get bored by slogging through twenty multiple choice questions in a row. Each set of review exercises includes a mix of multiple choice, sorting, and fill-in-the-blank activities.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Monday, November 14, 2016

PrepFactory Helps Students Develop SAT & ACT Strategies

PrepFactory is a popular site for SAT and ACT practice activities. This fall PrepFactory added practice activities for middle school language arts and math topics. While the practice activities on their own are useful, they're more useful if students first complete the strategies lessons in PrepFactory.

In each section of PrepFactory students have the option to complete a strategy review before attempting a series of review activities. Alternatively, students can just go to the strategy section of PrepFactory's ACT & SAT sections. In the strategy section students can work through eight modules. The strategy module begins with an overview of the ACT and SAT in general. That section includes knowledge of the purpose of the test and general strategies that can be applied to almost any other test-taking situation. After completing the general strategies section students move on and work through seven specific methods for handling the sections of the ACT and SAT exams.
To keep the strategy lessons engaging, PrepFactory uses a variety of question formats throughout each unit. Students won't be slogging through the same style of multiple choice for hours on end to complete a strategy review. Instead, each section is kept short and sweet with a mix of multiple choice, sorting, and fill-in-the-blank activities.

As your students start to think about the next ACT or SAT offering, have them try the strategy reviews in PrepFactory to prepare to do their best.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com


Monday, October 17, 2016

A Good Site for Free ACT Prep

On Saturday thousands of high school students will sit down to take the ACT exam. If your students are going to be taking the test, they could benefit from using PrepFactory to review before Saturday's exam.

PrepFactory offers free ACT and SAT review activities. When students sign into PrepFactory they are asked to identify which exam they are preparing to take. If students select ACT, they will be shown a screen that has four sections representing the topics students need to review for the ACT. Those four topics are English, math, reading, and science. Students can start their reviews within any of those four sections. Each section contains many sub-topics for students to review. The question formats within each review activity are fill-in-the-blank, sorting, multiple choice, and short response.

PrepFactory isn't just a set of practice problems. PrepFactory provides students with text-based and video tutorials before each set of practice activities. For the student who doesn't feel like he or she needs the tutorials, there is an option to skip the tutorials and go straight into the practice questions.

Besides ACT and SAT prep, PrepFactory offers skills development activities for middle school students. You can learn more about those activities in this post that was published in September.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Thursday, May 5, 2016

An Overview of PrepFactory - Free SAT & ACT Prep

PrepFactory is a free service that offers excellent SAT and ACT preparation activities. The site offers free guides to SAT and ACT strategy along with a plenty of review activities to help students sharpen their skills and knowledge before taking the ACT or SAT. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of a student's perspective of PrepFactory.


Applications for Education
One of the better ways to prepare for a test is to review small chunks frequently. PrepFactory provides students with a good review system that breaks SAT and ACT review into bite-sized modules for each of the topics on the tests; each module contains a 3-5 minute video, notes on the video, and a five question video review quiz.

The modules help to identify problem areas for students. PrepFactory also provides tools to allow teachers to manage their classes by keeping track of how many modules their students have completed, and whether or not they've mastered strategy tips and tricks related to the SAT and ACT.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Monday, March 14, 2016

PrepFactory Helps Students Prepare for the SAT & ACT

PrepFactory is a free service that offers excellent SAT and ACT preparation activities. The site offers free guides to SAT and ACT strategy along with a plenty of review activities to help students sharpen their skills and knowledge before taking the ACT or SAT.

PrepFactory recently launched a new design. The new design heavily emphasizes skills and strategy. In the new design when students sign into their free PrepFactory accounts they are greeted by an overview road map. Students select a test and a test section to begin learning. In each test section overview there are strategy videos followed by a series of five practice questions. Each video is roughly five to ten minutes long. Completing the practice exercise after each video should take students another ten minutes.

After students have completed the strategy tutorials in PrepFactory they can move on to playing review games. (Students can also play these games without completing the strategy tutorials, but that is not recommended).

Applications for Education
One of the better ways to prepare for a test is to review small chunks frequently. PrepFactory provides students with a good review system that breaks SAT and ACT review into bite-sized modules for each of the topics on the tests; each module contains a 3-5 minute video, notes on the video, and a five question video review quiz.

The modules help to identify problem areas for students. PrepFactory also provides tools to allow teachers to manage their classes by keeping track of how many modules their students have completed, and whether or not they've mastered strategy tips and tricks related to the SAT and ACT.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Friday, September 11, 2015

10 Good Tools to Help Students Learn New Vocabulary Words

A couple of weeks ago I published a video about using Vocabulist to create vocabulary lists and study sheets from a document. This week, I was contacted by a reader who liked Vocabulist for her own use but wanted something a little different (easier to use) for her students. Over the years I've reviewed a number of tools that students can use to help them learn new vocabulary words. Here are ten of them.

World’s Worst Pet is a free iPad app that contains a series of fun vocabulary games. In the app players have to help bring home Snargg, the world’s worst pet, who has run away. To get Snargg back players have to fill his food dish by learning new vocabulary words. Each of the six levels in the game contain ten dishes (each dish represents a new set of words) that can be filled. Four games are available for each dish. The games are fill-in-the-blank, synonym identification, antonym identification, and definition identification. World’s Worst Pet is designed for students in grades four through eight. The app contains a total of 1,000 vocabulary words.

Knoword is a fun and challenging game that tests your ability to match definitions to words. Knoword is played like this; you're presented with the first letter of a word, its part of speech, and the definition. You then have to fill in the correct spelling of the word. If you enter the correct word, you earn points. If you don't get it right, you lose points. You don't have to register to play Knoword, but you can register if you want to. Registering for Knoword gives you the option to keep track of your game statistics. Registered users can also earn badges based on their performances. In the few games that I played I noticed that Knoword is probably best suited to use by students in middle school and high school. I think many of the words would be too difficult for elementary school students and they could end up frustrated with the game.

Vocab Genius is an iPad app from Brainscape. Vocab Genius features more than 800 vocabulary flashcards. Like any flashcard application the cards present one word at a time. To get the definition tap the card to read it. After reading the definition and sample sentence rate your understanding of the word. Over time the app learns the words that you know better than others and shows you the words you don’t know more often than those you do know.

Sight Words is a service that provides vocabulary flashcards and games designed for K-3 students. On the site you can find pre-made flashcards and pre-made vocabulary games. All of the the flashcards and games are PDFs that you print to use offline. In addition to the pre-made flashcards and games Sight Words offers templates for creating your own printable flashcards and games. Most of the games on Sight Words include detailed directions and videos on how to utilize the game in your lessons.

Flashcard Monkey is a fun little site on which students can review SAT vocabulary words. The flashcards feature simple cartoons that illustrate the meaning of the words on the flashcards. Flashcard Monkey currently offers cartoons for more than 500 SAT words. Flashcard Monkey is a nice little review tool for students preparing for the SAT. The model of Flashcard Monkey could easily be applied to any other set of vocabulary words. Your students could make their own cartoons to depict the meaning of the vocabulary words they're trying to learn.

WordWriter is a neat writing tool from BoomWriter. WordWriter allows teachers to create vocabulary lists that they want students to incorporate into a writing assignment. Assignments are distributed directly to students through the class lists that teachers create in their BoomWriter accounts. Students do not need email addresses to receive the assignments. Teachers can log-in at any time to see if and when a student has completed an assignment. Click here for videos on how to use the service.

Winning Words is a series of free iPad apps that feature matching / “memory” style vocabulary games. There are six apps in the series. Each app is played in the same manner of flipping a card and trying to find a match for it. The six apps are synonym match, antonym match, homophone match, compound match, double letter match, and singular/plural match. Each app supports up to four players and has three levels of difficulty.

PrepFactory is a free service for high school students can use to prepare for the SAT and or ACT. PrepFactory offers students a series of tutorial videos and written tips to help them prepare for both tests. After completing a tutorial students can test themselves in a series of practice questions. Each question set is timed and and limited to chunks of ten questions at a time. Students can earn badges for completing tutorials or question sets. Click here for video of PrepFactory in action.

Flashcard Stash is a free vocabulary flashcard service for teachers and students. The service makes it easy to quickly create flashcards and sets of flashcards. As a registered user of Flashcard Stash when you type a word into a blank flashcard suggested definitions and sample context sentences are provided to you. You can then choose to add one or all of those definitions and sentences to your flashcard or you can write your own definitions and sentences. When making your own flashcards you can include images. If you don't have time to create your own flashcards you can choose to work with some of the pre-made lists of flashcards. Teachers registered on Flashcard Stash can create flashcard sets to share with their students.

Vocabulist enables students to upload a document and have it extract words and definitions from it. Each word in the document is matched to a definition. If the definition rendered isn't exactly right, students can modify it within Vocabulist. Once the list of words and definitions is set students can download the list as a PDF or export the list to Quizlet where it will then be turned into a set of digital flashcards. (Students must have a Quizlet account).

Disclosure: Prep Factory and Boom Writer are advertisers on FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Free SAT & ACT Prep Exercises

Disclosure: PrepFactory is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com.

As we head into the fall many students will be preparing to take the SAT or ACT. PrepFactory is a free service for high school students can use to prepare for those tests. PrepFactory offers students a series of tutorial videos and written tips to help them prepare for both tests. After completing a tutorial students can test themselves in a series of practice questions. Each question set is timed and and limited to chunks of ten questions at a time. Students can earn badges for completing tutorials or question sets.

To get started on PrepFactory students choose the test that they are preparing to take (they can change their choices at any time) then take a short guided tour of the service. After taking the tour students complete a ten question quiz intended to give them a sense of what they need to work on. Upon completion of their first quiz students can choose to review their answers with the help of PrepFactory, take another quiz, or watch a video about test-taking skills.

For the fall PrepFactory has introduced SAT Wordplay, a head-to-head vocabulary game between two players. SAT Wordplay randomly matches players in a game to answer vocabulary questions as quickly and accurately as possible.

In the video embedded below I provide an overview of PrepFactory's features.

Monday, February 2, 2015

PrepFactory - Free Online SAT and ACT Practice Exercises

PrepFactory is a relatively new service that offers online SAT and ACT practice exercises. To get started on PrepFactory students choose the test that they are preparing to take (they can change their choices at any time) then take a short guided tour of the service. After taking the tour students complete a ten question quiz intended to give them a sense of what they need to work on. Upon completion of their first quiz students can choose to review their answers with the help of PrepFactory, take another quiz, or watch a video about test-taking skills.

Applications for Education
I am not an advocate for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, but I realize that they are still tests that many students have to take. PrepFactory could be a good service to help students prepare for the ACT or SAT.

Students can log into PrepFactory by using a Google account or a Facebook account.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashcard Monkey - Cartoons for SAT Vocabulary Words

Flashcard Monkey is a fun little site on which students can review SAT vocabulary words. The flashcards feature simple cartoons that illustrate the meaning of the words on the flashcards. Flashcard Monkey currently offers cartoons for 507 SAT words.

Applications for Education
Flashcard Monkey is a nice little review tool for students preparing for the SAT. The model of Flashcard Monkey could easily be applied to any other set of vocabulary words. Your students could make their own cartoons to depict the meaning of the vocabulary words they're trying to learn.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Search for Vocabulary Lists and Learn New Words on Vocabulary.com

Vocabulary.com is an excellent vocabulary study service offering thousands of vocabulary practice lists and activities for students in elementary school through graduate school. In addition to lists of SAT, GRE, and other test prep words, you can find vocabulary lists that are attached to novels, historical documents, famous speeches, and current news articles.

When you sign up for Vocabulary.com you will be given an assessment quiz in order to give you suggested lists with which to start your practice. After completing the assessment you can use the practice lists suggested by Vocabulary.com or choose your own lists from the huge gallery of vocabulary lists.


Applications for Education
One of the aspects of the Vocabulary.com activities that I like is the instant feedback for every practice question a student attempts. As you can see in the image above, if a student answers incorrectly on his first attempt, he will see the definition and the word in context.

Vocabulary.com has an optional competition aspect to it. Students can play for their schools and climb the Vocabulary.com leaderboard.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I Need A Pencil - Realistic SAT Prep

I Need A Pencil is a free SAT preparation service provided by the CK-12 Foundation. The service provides students with 60 lessons and more than 800 SAT practice problems in math, writing, and critical reading. The lessons are based on questions that students typically encounter on the SAT. To track their own progress students can mark lessons as complete or as lessons to review again. After completing lessons students can jump to practice questions. Students can work through questions in the random mode or they can choose to only work with questions from one subject. To help students have a sense of how they might score on the SAT, I Need A Pencil tracks the questions that they have answered and projects a score based on practice problem answers.

Take a look at the overview of I Need A Pencil in the Slideshare presentation below.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Professor Word - Identify SAT & ACT Vocabulary Words on Any Webpage

Professor Word is a promising new service that should help students learn new SAT and ACT vocabulary words. Professor Word operates as a browser bookmarklet in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. When you're reading a webpage click on the Professor Word bookmarklet to quickly identify SAT and ACT vocabulary words on that page. You can also use Professor Word to get definitions for any unfamiliar word on a webpage. To get a definition just highlight the word a small dialogue box containing the definition will appear.


Applications for Education
Professor Word could be a great little tool for students to use to not only read definitions, but to also see SAT and ACT words used in "real world" context.

Big thanks to my friend Mary Beth Hertz for telling me about Professor Word. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vocabulary.com - Extensive Lists of Vocabulary Practice Activities

I've written about a lot of vocabulary development websites in the past (here are seven good ones) so I was kind of surprised when I realized that I have never written about Vocabulary.com. Vocabulary.com offers hundreds of vocabulary practice lists and activities for students in elementary school through graduate school. In all there are more than 40,000 questions available through Vocabulary.com

When you sign up for Vocabulary.com you will be given an assessment quiz in order to give you suggested lists with which to start your practice. After completing the assessment you can use the practice lists suggested by Vocabulary.com or choose your own lists from the huge gallery of practice activities.

Vocabulary.com keeps tracks of your progress for you and, if you care for this sort of thing, gives you a virtual achievement badge.

Applications for Education
The Vocabulary.com activities that I tried reminded me very much of the SAT. The activities were a mix of fill in the blank and analogy activities. Students using Vocabulary.com receive instant feedback on each question that they attempt. Overall, Vocabulary.com could be a good site for students to use in preparation for the SAT.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three Vocabulary Apps for Android That I'm Testing

This morning I had the opportunity to run a couple of short workshops at my own school. Other than the initial oddness of being "the consultant" in the place where I've worked for almost nine years, it went well. The workshops I ran were based around our new school agenda of helping students improve their vocabularies and in turn improving the SAT scores on which we're judged as a school. (For the record, I don't agree with teaching to a test, particularly one as flawed as the SAT. That said, I was asked to present some tools that teachers and students could use to practice SAT vocabulary so that's what I did this morning).

One of the things that came up in the course of a conversation in the workshop was the idea of having students use their cell phones to study. And since in my district Android phones outnumber iPhones by at least 10 to 1, I thought I'd test out some Android apps for studying vocabulary. Here are the three that I am testing on my own phone right now.

Vocab Builder, built by Gordon Hempton, was the first app that I installed. I chose it, in part, because it has the most 5 star ratings of any of the apps I browsed through. Vocab Builder also offers more words than most of the other free apps that I looked at. You can use the app to quiz yourself in a flashcard style of matching words to definitions or matching definitions to words. A good companion to Vocab Builder, from the same developer, is Beworded which is a "Boggle-style" word game.

Wordalation, developed by Appulearn, is the second app that I installed on my phone. I chose Wordalation because it offers a text to voice feature for hearing your vocabulary words and definitions pronounced. I also like that Wordalation presents the vocabulary words in groups of ten. Study a group of ten until you think you know them all before moving onto another set of ten words.

Vocopedia is the third app that I installed on my phone. Vocopedia offers a very large selection of vocabulary words that commonly appear on the SAT. To study the words you can use the standard flashcard method of reading a word and guessing the definition. You can also use the Vocopedia hangman game to practice identifying and spelling the words in your vocabulary lists. I have to admit that I'm not as keen on Vocopedia as I am the other two apps, but that could change depending upon the feedback I get when my students try these apps.

Friday, July 15, 2011

BLine Test Prep Offers Free SAT Prep

BLine Test Prep is a test preparation service that is now offering a free SAT and GMAT preparation program. Both programs offer full-length practice tests that students take online. After completing a practice test students receive instant feedback on the questions they answered. The feedback comes with animated and narrated explanations of the correct answers. For busy students who don't have time to work through a whole test in one sitting, there is an option to pause and come back to the same place later. Overall, this could be a good service for students to use as they prepare to take the SAT this fall.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Free Android Apps for Vocabulary Practice

Last month I bought a new Android-powered phone and have been experimenting with different free apps that I've found in the Android Market. With SAT season not too far away, this week I experimented with a handful of vocabulary apps. One app froze my phone, one app was too limited, but three of them were worth passing along to you.

At first glance Power Vocab appears to be just a set of vocabulary words that you have to select the correct definitions for, but there is more to it. You can also work on spelling of the words that appear and play word search games. In my testing of the free version of the app featured words that were appropriate for middle school and high school students. The paid version of the app promises more difficult vocabulary.

Words, Words, Words is a free vocabulary app from Socratica. I had previously checked some other apps from Socratica that I liked, and this one was no different. I like that the interface was very visually-pleasing and easy to navigate. Words, Words, Words can be used in a flashcard-like manner for familiarizing yourself with the words or in a quiz mode. Words, Words, Words offers audio to help users with pronunciation.

Vocab Builder I liked in part because on my phone it loaded the fastest of all the apps. The simple interface offers two ways to play; match definitions to words or match words to definitions. Of the three apps listed here, the words I encountered on this app were the most challenging.

Do you have a favorite vocabulary app that everyone should know about? If so, please leave a comment.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Easel - Algebra & SAT Tutoring on Your iPad

Easel is an educational iPad App that was recently recognized at TechCrunch's Crunchies Awards. Easel provides a canvas for working on Algebra and SAT practice problems. Select a problem type from the menu and you're provided with a blank canvas to write and draw on in the same way that you would use scratch paper. If you get stuck, you can tap the "show me" button to get help. Easel has free and paid versions of an app for SAT prep and an app for Algebra.

Watch the video below to see Easel in action.

Easel iPad Getting Started from San Kim on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
What I like about Easel is that it is not a simple "drill and kill" math game or test prep application. Easel gives students the option to work through problems on their own before requesting help. If your school is issuing iPads to students, Easel is an application worth considering adding to those machines.