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spacer all reviews > > > SAT preparation software

The Princeton Review Inside the SAT, PSAT & ACT 2000 Deluxe Edition

The Learning Company

Ages 14 and up

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

Inside the SAT, PSAT, & ACT 2000 Deluxe Edition Screen Shot System Requirements

Price Survey
    Deluxe: PC / Mac
    Standard: PC / Mac

Product Support

This latest version of SAT preparation software from The Princeton Review discards the rough edges found in previous versions and focuses on the basics: helping students raise their standardized test scores by offering sound test-taking strategies, and specific subject review.

The program is divided into six main sections or classrooms: Intro, General Strategies, Verbal, Math, Tests, and College Counselor. Verbal and Math rooms include specific lessons for each of the subjects included on the tests, while the College Counselor room holds useful information for the confused college applicant.

Students initially take a tour of the program, which outlines its many resources and suggests a plan of attack. The General Strategies section offers solid advice on how best to take the tests. According to The Princeton Review, test taking is like a game, and students who score highly are those who know how best to play the game. Such basics as eliminating obviously wrong answers, avoiding easy answers on difficult questions, and educated guessing, are concisely described in this section.

Lesson sections are relatively painless and highly informative. Not only do they go over the basics, but they help users strategize in useful ways. For example, students receive advice on when to use calculators and when to use scratch paper, how best to tackle analogies, ways to beef up their lexicons and more.

The College Counselor portion includes extensive information about the PSAT, the SAT and the ACT.

Information about financial aid offered through The Princeton Review and Merrill Lynch is available in .pdf format, as are applications for Federal Stafford and Federal Plus loans. Also included is a complete paper copy of The Princeton Review’s "Paying for College Without Going Broke 1999 Edition”. This resource includes detailed information on financial aid and college costs, with line-by-line tips for completing the 1999-2000 Financial Aid Forms.

The College ‘search’ feature asks the student to define personal characteristics as well as those of his or her ideal institution and then generates a list of matching schools. Finally, a ‘Web’ option connects the user with the Princeton Review Web site which includes helpful links and student services, and features a downloadable version of Apply! software. This software allows students to access multiple college applications and apply online.

To its credit, Inside the SAT, PSAT and ACT has eliminated its previous focus on portraying ETS test-writers in a negative light, and instead focuses on the actual task at hand. In addition to providing direct advice on general test taking strategies, the program encourages the student to study vocabulary words and review verbal and math basics to best prepare for the test.

Practice makes perfect, and Inside the SAT allows the student plenty of test-taking practice in the forms of drills, which provide instant feedback on the correctness of the response, and full length tests. A report feature also keeps track of the users progress.

SuperKids student reviewers found the lessons included with this program to be straightforward and easy to understand. They applauded the abundant interactivity of the program, commenting that the interplay between user and program helped confirm understanding of the concepts being covered. "The program is very clear, understandable and effective," was one reviewer’s comment. "It doesn’t waste any of your time or effort." Our teacher reviewers were extremely impressed with the program and mentioned that they would recommend it to their students.

Ease of Use / Install
Inside the SAT, PSAT & ACT installs easily on Windows 95/98.

Our reviewers did not encounter any difficulties with program navigation or performance. Connecting to the Internet from the program was instantaneous and trouble-free.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Students looking for an effective SAT training program will appreciate the clarity and completeness of this program’s lesson and review sections. As with any program of this type, successful use requires a dedicated user.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other SAT preparation software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the
Deluxe edition: PC / Mac or the Standard edition: PC / Mac

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, 486/66 MHz Processor or faster, 25 MB free hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, SVGA display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, Sound card, Modem.

Mac: System 7.5 or higher, PowerPC, 25 MB free hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, SVGA display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, Modem.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium 266 with 64MB and 12XCD
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