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SAT preparation software
Structured much like its antecedent, Kaplan RoadTrip for the SAT, this program is based on Kaplan's highly successful SAT preparation course. It features interactive lessons for each question type, full-length and practice tests, a customized study plan, a math reference section, math, grammar and vocabulary flashcards, review games, and admissions information. In addition, Kaplan Higher Score Guaranteed includes a wealth of helpful tidbits, from average SAT scores at various well-known colleges and universities to a list of schools with fewer than 1,000 students and more.
Users initially receive a tour of the program's content and navigation and complete a diagnostic test intended to reveal strengths and weaknesses, and facilitate development of a plan of action for approaching the software. Each subsequent practice test is analyzed, and feedback is provided on the speed and confidence with which the answers are given, in addition to their accuracy.
Lessons are narrated by the program's two interactive guides who present a realistic preview of the tests and provide multiple strategies for approaching their questions. Animation and humor at times bordering on the absurd succeed in keeping the user from napping. Secrets, tips and tricks revealed are invaluable, especially for those students who tend to do poorly on standardized tests. Review sections provide just enough information to reinforce concepts learned throughout years of schooling. Repetition is never a problem, reviews move at a comfortable pace without getting bogged down in too much detail.
An additional lesson tackles the PSAT writing section, leading the user through sample questions and clearly explaining the easiest way to complete them.
The program's weakest sections are the electronic flashcards and fast-paced drill games. The games in particular are confusing and frustrating, and after a quick trial were mostly ignored by our testers.
Finally, the basic program includes a comprehensive Admissions guide that offers a monthly planning calendar beginning with spring of Junior year, extensive financial aid information, and a search engine that allows the student to find schools that best meet personalized criteria.
The Deluxe version of the program also includes three additional disks, covering:
"The program made me relax," was one user's comment. "It dispelled the myths so I could approach (the test) with a confident attitude." Another student commented, "Knowing that I did well on the program's practice tests will make all the difference to me on test day."
Other reviewers were not as impressed by the program. They saw the programís attempts at humor and entertainment as a "waste of time and energy" and despised the fancy graphics, bells and whistles. "The very serious college prep student might get annoyed with this program," commented one reviewer. "It is directed to the average, typical (sometimes too stereotypical) high school student."
One SuperKids reviewer using a Hewlet Packard Pavillion was unable to access the "Vocabulary Lesson" portion of the program. A Kaplan Tech Support advisor told her that the problem involved corrupted installation caused by pre-existing files present in her HP StartUp Menu. After a lengthy process that included movement and deletion of files, the program was reinstalled. Sadly, the problem was not corrected. At this point the technician indicated that a new, bug-free version of the disk is currently in production, and promised to send one as soon as they become available (scheduled for early August 1998).
PC: Windows 3.1, 95 or higher, 486SX 50MHz or faster cpu, 13.5 MB hard drive space, 8 MB RAM, 16 MB RAM to run with Internet browser, 640x480/256 color display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit sound card.return to top of page
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