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spacer all reviews > > > SAT preparation software

One-on-One with the SAT

The College Board and Logicat Inc.

Ages 14 and up

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

One-on-One with the SAT Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

One-on-One with the SAT, from The College Board, is designed for the serious student who doesn’t need fancy video, graphics or animation to keep on track. It is the most accessible of all the SAT preparation software, as it loads and is run from two floppy disks, and doesn’t require the latest and greatest computer system.

One-on-One stresses that the SAT is a measure of verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities, abilities that develop and are refined over time. It promises to help the student prepare for the test in two ways: Short term, which focuses on the test itself and offers techniques that help the student maximize test-taking capability; and Long term, which stresses academic performance and encourages the student to work to improve competency and gain skills necessary to answer the more difficult questions on the test.

The user is initially asked to chose an "advisor" or guide, who helps create a study plan, and councils throughout the program. Various levels of advisor involvement are available, from the ever-present obsessive who watches the student’s progress every step of the way and ensures that s/he doesn’t skip a beat, to the couch-potato slouch who practically ignores his advisee. Thankfully, the student can also choose to pass on the advisor option.

As one would expect, One-on-One does not include a list of ways to out-smart the test-writers, but rather features a ‘General Strategies’ section that focuses on test-taking fundamentals to be used by students throughout their lives. It includes and elaborates on such basics as: Know the directions, Keep moving, Check you answer sheet, Don’t panic, Don’t throw away points to carelessness, Use your test booklet as scratch paper, and Eliminate obviously incorrect choices.

A lesson section is available for each of the subjects included on the SAT. Although they lack the pizzazz of other more commercial SAT preparation software, lessons are clear and complete, including informative text passages and many practice problems. Specific points are condensed and highlighted so that even students who chose to skim the lesson will be amply able to pick up important information. Following each lesson are practice tests that begin with easy questions and move on to quite difficult ones. Students receive immediately feedback on the correctness of each of their responses, and the advisor steps in now and then with recommendations and accolades.

One-on-One stresses the importance of setting goals and choosing target scores before taking the test as a way to relax and work more efficiently. It explains that in order to do well in each section, the test-taker does not actually need to answer every question. S/he can skip the more difficult questions and take time to ensure that completed questions are answered correctly. For example, a student who desires a Math score of 600 can skip those questions that are extremely difficult and concentrate on those that are more easily answered. Once s/he has confidently answered enough questions to reach the targeted score, previously skipped questions are revisited. These problems are then like bonus questions--the more the student answers, the more s/he ensures that the target score is reached and possibly surpassed. This method is meant to help students relax and gain confidence as they complete the test.

This is not an exciting program with beautiful graphics and hot-shot video. Included information must be read, a process that pales in comparison to having upbeat tutors talk the student through each lesson. Advisors are sophomoric caricatures, including one reminiscent of Carmen Sandiego.

Our student reviewers found completing the program to be a formidable task, but commented that it did provide sufficient training for the test. "I completed one small section each time I used the program," was one comment. "It took concentration to stay focused, but I learned a lot."

Ease of Use / Install
One-on-One with the SAT installs from two floppy disks. To begin installation the user must insert disk 1 into Drive A, select ‘Run’ from the file menu, and then type "a:/setup".

Some of our Windows 95 users experienced problems with broken and incomplete text. One-on-One tech support admitted that this is an occasional occurrence, and noted that changing display drivers usually corrects the problem.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program works best for those serious and committed students who want to use a software SAT preparation program, but are unable to use one of the jazzier versions because of computer hardware restrictions. It also appeals to visual learners who prefer written text, and by parents who want to preserve the integrity of standardized testing for their children.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other SAT preparation software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only title.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1 or better, 386MHz or faster cpu, 8 MB hard drive space, 4 MB RAM, VGA display, Sound card (recommended)

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 24MB (Win95)
  • Pentium90 with 24MB (Windows 3.1)
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