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spacer all reviews > > > SAT preparation software

Kaplan Emergency Prep for the SAT and ACT

Knowledge Adventure

Ages 14 and up

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

Kaplan Emergency Prep for the SAT and ACTScreen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

About a million brochures for SAT preparation classes were ignored, tutors are no longer available, and it's too late to even begin to tackle that deluxe SAT preparation software. The time has come for quick action. A crash course holds the only hope. It's time for Kaplan Emergency Prep for the SAT and ACT.

This program, which is basically a slimmed down version of the popular Kaplan Higher Score Guaranteed on the SAT, ACT & PSAT, gives SAT-bound kids a good, quick overview of what they will need to know to succeed at the dreaded test. It includes interactive lessons for each question type, full length practice tests, a test score analysis section, an admissions calendar and review games.

As in their deluxe SAT program, Kaplan Emergency Prep begins with a tour explaining the program's content and navigation. Upon completion of the tour, users are guided through a "Secrets of the SAT" presentation, which attempts to lessen student apprehension, prepare them for the type of questions they will encounter, and share basic strategies and tricks for taking the test.

At this point users can choose to take a practice test, or to move through the lessons, reviewing material learned in school. Review lessons are sprinkled with animation and humor -- an attempt to relax the anxious student while staving off boredom. Kids can move through the lessons at their own pace, pausing and/or returning to material that has not been adequately digested.

The Admissions Calendar is neatly compressed in this emergency prep program, with one calendar page that begins with the spring of Junior Year and continues through graduation. Each step along the road to graduation has multiple links with activities that should be accomplished in the indicated time frame. To begin with, for example, students should prepare for and take the SATs. This section features a lengthy list of colleges and includes average SAT scores and the weight the school places on the test. Other sections include information about early decision and how to draft an essay, apply for financial aid, solicit recommendations, etc.

Kaplan Emergency Prep stresses a relaxed, informed approach to the test. It encourages students to throw out the rulebook, to look for traps and patterns. Kaplan Emergency Prep additionally gives students a quick review of the major material covered.

Kid Appeal
Our teen testing group consisted of students facing imminently approaching SAT testing. In general, they liked this program -- because of its brevity. "I could never work through those other programs," commented one student, "The time commitment was too intense." Due to time limitations, however, students were not too receptive to the program's attempts at humor. They sought information, presented in a clear and speedy fashion, and time spent listening to jokes felt like time wasted.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs without difficulty. Optional Internet use requires Quick-Time 2.1.2 (16-bit), which can be installed from the CD-ROM.

Program navigation is simple. The dashboard main screen allows users to jump to any section of the program, and forward and back arrows within the sections make all material accessible at any time.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This concise version of Kaplan's SAT preparation system is nicely packaged and easy to use. Will it increase test scores? In fact, some experts feel that the greatest gains occur in the first 3 to 4 hours of study (see our feature article The SAT: How to prepare). This program is, therefore, recommended for students who need a quick reminder of the basics, and a few test-taking strategies, and especially for those who are short on time and/or attention span.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other SAT software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and the Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1 or higher, 486SX or higher, 50MHz or faster cpu, 13.5 MB hard drive space, 8 MB RAM (16 MB to run with Internet browser), 640x480/256 color display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit audio.

Mac: System 7.0 or higher, 68040 or higher cpu, 18 MB hard drive space, 8 MB RAM (16 MB to run with Internet browser), 640x480/256 color display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, 8-bit audio.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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