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UWorld College Prep Course Review by Laura Delgado and Erica BeyeaU World
545 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Ste 1600
UWorld SAT Qbank is an online subscription-based service that serves as a study aid for students preparing to take the SAT. It has a bank of 1,400 SAT questions, ranked low, medium, and high in difficulty. You can try the program free for 30 days with no credit card required. After that, the program costs $49 for 90 days access, $79 for 180 days, or $99 for 360 days. In essence, this is how it works: when you sign on, there is a quick and easy tutorial that explains exactly how the product works. Unlike many products, this tutorial really is quick and easy. It is not a lengthy and complicated video. Instead, it walks you through the page you are looking at, highlighting the steps you need to go through to immediately begin your SAT prep. The whole thing takes about 30 seconds. However, the process really is completely intuitive, so it’s not actually necessary even to launch the tutorial if you don’t want to.
UWorld has three sections to correspond to the three sections of the SAT: math, reading, and writing. Within each section, you create tests for yourself. You can choose how many questions will be on the test (the default for math, for example, is five, while the maximum is 45), which subjects the test will cover (specific subjects within math and reading/writing), whether the test will be in timed or tutor mode (N.B., the test is always timed, regardless of the mode chosen), question mode (you can choose to see only unused questions, questions you have previously gotten wrong, and more), and difficultly level (low, medium, high, or any). In other words, there is a lot of customization possible!
Within the test itself, you have the ability to create your own flash cards which are then available for you later on to use in your studying. You simply click on the math formula or something within the reading passage, see the flash card symbol (a lightning bolt), and the flash card is created. When you are taking the test in tutor mode, UWorld provides amazing, in-depth explanations of the answers to the test questions. You will be in no doubt as to why a question was marked incorrect.
UWorld does more than just offer tests and tutoring, though. It also keeps track of performance and improvement. At any time, you can click on Performance in the sidebar to view charts and graphs. At a glance you can see, by subject, how many questions you have gotten correct, incorrect, and those you have omitted. Further, and more interesting, you can see answers that you have changed from correct to incorrect, and vice versa. You can also see your average time spent on each question (in seconds) and how that compares with other UWorld users. There is a wealth of information tracked on the site!
My daughter, nearly 16, has been using UWorld for the last couple of months and has some observations on it. She thinks it does a very good job, especially in the “tutor mode.” Tutor mode takes you through each problem and shows you stepbystep how to arrive at the correct answer. She finds the descriptions quite helpful. On the final screen for each test, the student is shown what percentage of each user chose each answer (correct and incorrect). The student is also shown the average amount of time people took to answer each question. My daughter found statistics like these both informative and helpful.
UWorld is her favorite of the SAT prep programs she has tried. However, like all digital preparation programs, it is limited by its own nature. You are unable to make physical marks on the “paper” (obviously), so you can’t cross out incorrect answers, etc., as one is usually taught to do in SAT prep programs. You can’t underline key information or anything else as you would be able to do on an actual SAT. However, for what it is, it is excellent. It doesn’t just show you what you got right and wrong—it shows you how and why you got something wrong. UWorld is not one of those SAT prep programs that will teach you test strategy. Rather, it is a practice program. It will drill you on the kinds of questions that you will see on the test. Every question you will see is at or above the difficulty level you will encounter on the actual test. If this is the kind of prep program you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with UWorld, especially given the fact that you can try it out for 30 days free. So, homeschoolers or public schoolers, this program is perfect for everyone.
-Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017
Another Reviewer’s Response:
UWorld College Prep Course
545 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Ste 1600
Irving, Texas 75062
Preparing for testing (and successfully passing those tests) is a way of life for nursing and medical students. UWorld has designed courses to prepare college students to tackle the tough exams that are necessary to proceed through medical training on all levels. They have expanded their successful repertoire of online prep programs to include high school students preparing to take the SAT. The backbone of the UWorld course is a user-friendly online program that can be streamed on any device, saving the student’s progress, and allowing them to work through the course at their own pace.
For this review, we are using the SAT prep course for my 11th grader who will be taking her PSAT and SAT this upcoming school year. We found UWorld to be very easy to use. After logging in to our account, we can choose math, reading, or writing—the three subject areas found on the SAT. All the questions are modeled from actual released SAT exams, but they write all of their own questions. They hire educators who have been teachers or tutors to help.
When first starting the program, a short tutorial guides the student through all the innovative features of the program, including the ability to flag questions for further review, receive in-depth assistance on a challenging question, open solutions to complex math problems, or tag questions to create flashcards. Once a subject area is chosen, questions are grouped into small tests that the student can work through, either timed or at their own pace.
The flashcards are a very helpful part of this program, especially since they can be custom designed by the student as they work through the question bank. Anytime the student finds a challenging question or subject matter that they feel merits extra review, they can tag it. The level of difficulty can also be chosen, to further personalize the course. After completing test groups, the program charts the student’s progress, showing them how their score and time compares with their peers.
In my opinion, the most useful area of this program is the ability to see which questions were answered incorrectly and click through to a thorough explanation of the question and answer. The program doesn’t just give the correct answer; it provides in-depth analysis equipping the student to answer that question correctly the next time they see it. Math solutions are carefully written out on a full-screen page, with helpful hints demonstrating patterns the students will see on future questions. Once a student has completed the course, they can go back to the beginning and reset the data, allowing them to start over and repeat the program. This allows comparison and can help the student realize the progress they have made.
I have used many SAT test preparation programs with my homeschool children, as they navigate through the world of testing and college readiness. This program has impressed me the most of all, and I highly recommend it. Not only is it thorough and easy to use, but it is much cheaper than hiring an SAT coach. Typically, in order to raise SAT scores, a student must work with a person who can discover their educational weaknesses and tailor a program to address those specifically. Amazingly, the way this program is designed, a motivated student can custom design a course that will pinpoint and review their weak areas just by working through the question bank. Although my daughter is just starting her college-testing journey, I am confident that the UWorld College Prep Course will prepare her for a successful finish.
We are reviewing the six-month course, which is the recommended program, and currently costs $79. Also available is a free 30-day trial program, as well as a 90-day program and a one-year program.
-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017