There’s definitely something fun about test-prep apps.
You can carry them everywhere and do a little interactive practice any time you have a free moment. They may give you unexpected questions or guide your study in new and challenging directions. The good ones will respond to your input and help you zero in on the areas where you need the most work.
It’s important to understand that apps alone will never be your primary study tool for the SAT. Even the best ones are too limited to give you everything you need. Most won’t help you with essential test-taking skills like time management and using the process of elimination. Most apps have too few practice questions, and those that they do have are different in style and content from the ones on the real SAT. Practicing only with a test-prep app is like training for a marathon while wearing swim flippers.
With all that said, SAT apps can be a great complement to the work you’re doing with your tutor or in class. (Many of the online courses offer at least one free app). Here are my favorites.
This app gives you access to all of Magoosh’s high-quality online SAT-prep content. There are helpful videos answering questions like, “What’s a Good SAT Score?”, 200+ video lessons covering every topic on the SAT, and more:
SAT Exam Prep & Practice is really a portable version of the complete Magoosh online SAT program. If you’re already registered for the program, the app is free. Otherwise, it’s $99 or $119 (depending on whether you want to connect with a tutor).
This free app helps you review key concepts in every section of the SAT. It responds to your performance, stacking cards into “learning”, “reviewing” and “mastered” piles to maximize efficiency. There are decks organized by subtopic (like “Math: Coordinate Geometry” and “English: Structure and Style”). The total number of cards is limited, but there are enough to keep you sharp on important test topics.
This is the College Board’s official SAT prep app. It uses authentic questions that have appeared on real SATs in past years: a big advantage to you. The app gives you a Daily Practice Question on a randomly chosen topic. If you have a long time to study and are looking for a low-key way to keep your skills sharp, this may be exactly what you’re looking for.
If you want to step up the intensity, you can hunt through the archives of previous Daily Practice Questions to find ones that focus on the areas where you need to improve. You can sort them by subject area, difficulty level, or posting date. As with just about all SAT apps, the number of available questions is limited.
Khan Academy is a super-successful online teaching company that offers courses in a wide array of subject areas. They’ve partnered with the College Board to create a variety of online SAT-prep materials using only authentic College Board practice questions.
Khan Academy doesn’t actually offer a dedicated SAT-prep app. But you can access many of their high-quality SAT study materials through their general app (just called Khan Academy). It’s free, and once you have it you’ll be able to return again and again for help with other subjects that you may be studying down the road. It includes:
Be aware that you can get all the same material (and more) just by going to the Khan Academy website. You might choose to do most of your studying there, and use the app mostly for backup when you’re out and about.
Ready4 SAT uses a diagnostic quiz to customize your study program. You may or may not find this useful in practice, because the test is so short and the total number of questions in the app is limited.
The answer explanations are pretty brief. If you’re still working toward a fundamental understanding of a particular topic, you’ll want to get that from your books and/or tutor before jumping onto the app.
Some of the basic Ready4 SAT features are available for free. To get the full experience, you’ll need to pay $19.99 for a premium account.
This isn’t an SAT app per se. It’s a game where you race against the clock to find errors in essays on a wide range of topics. I like it because that’s what the SAT Writing & Language section is: a timed challenge to spot errors in grammar, punctuation, and usage in texts written by someone else. Most of us don’t get editing classes in school, so Writing & Language can feel unfamiliar and intimidating. The Grading Game takes away some of that stress by giving you plenty of practice. You can:
Most SAT apps don’t automatically adjust in response to your input. That means you need to be proactive about seeking out questions that are in the right subject areas and at the right difficulty level for you. (It’s surprisingly easy to just hang out in your comfort zone, drilling the types of questions that you usually get right).
Make sure your app divides practice questions into specific categories: not just Math, Reading, and Writing & Language. You need to be able to easily zoom in on the topics that you need to practice (like linear equations or commas).
Be aware that there are some outdated SAT apps floating around out there. Be sure to pick one that’s structured around the new, post-2016 SAT.