Studyware for the SAT. (educational software) (evaluation)
by Joyce Sides
Competition can be a good thing, but it sometimes means heartbreak for high school students who've set their sights on attending a prestigious college or university. These students need an edge to improve SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores to get into those institutions, and help comes from StudyWare for the SAT.
StudyWare comes not only with an informative and easy-to-understand user's manual that offers strategies and tips for taking the SAT, but also with Cliffs SAT Preparation Guide, a sister publication of Cliffs Notes. Cliffs Guide offers two practice exams with removable SAT-like answer sheets. Also included in Cliffs Guide are a study guide checklist, a discussion of two approaches to taking the SAT, and strategies for completing each SAT section, including antonyms, analogies, sentence completion, reading comprehension, mathematics, and quantitative comparisons. All of these topics are covered in StudyWare's useful practice exams.
Special features in the program include mouse support, pull-down menus, and an onscreen glossary with over 450 listings. There's also an onscreen clock to help you keep up with the amount of time you've used for each question.
To start, choose Test, Drill, or Exam. If you're interrupted, use the Pause option to stop the exam clock until you're ready to continue. Drills help to improve your speed, and with the Math Drills you can choose to practice squares and square roots, units of measure, word problems, algebraic operations, ratio/proportion, quantitative comparisons, geometry, and more. In Tutor mode, an explanation appears for the answer you choose, whether the answer's right or wrong.
Your scores are automatically tallied, and you can view the results in three ways: Topic Priority Breakdown, Items Missed, or Results Graph. The Topic Priority Breakdown displays 20 categories with the composite results of your correct answer. This report lists the page numbers in Cliffs Guide where you can study that topic.
I encountered a few curious typographical errors and a mismatched explanation for one of the math problems. When I called StudyWare, a spokesperson thanked me for calling and promised to send a disk with fixes to me and any registered user who calls the full-time technical support department.
I was impressed that StudyWare holds its own when compared with other SAT programs. It offers more than 800 onscreen questions and more than 4000 explanations. It also displays more true math symbols than the two other leading SAT programs by Barron's and Davidson and Associates.
If you're looking for a way to help your children score higher on the SAT, put StudyWare on your shopping list. Whether they're taking the SAT for the first time or the tenth time, they can't go wrong by studying more. StudyWare for the SAT is the perfect tutor, and with a price tag of $49.95, it's an investment in the future with potentially great returns.