Study Island SAT/ Study Island ACT

Article excerpt

Company: Archipelago Learning, 3400 Carlisle St., Suite 345, Dallas, TX 75204. Phone: (800) 419-3191; Internet: www.studyisland.com.

Price: The cost begins at $25 per student for an annual subscription to Study Island SAT or Study Island ACT. Volume discounts are available.

Audience: Students in grades 10-12 preparing to take the SAT or ACT tests.

Format: Web-based test preparation program.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with an internet connection and a recent version of Internet Explorer, Netscape, Safari, or Hot-Java Browser. A Java plug-in is required to play the games; some of the documentation requires Adobe Acrobat Reader software. As is usually the case, the newer the computer, the faster the internet connection, and the more recent the browser, the better the programs will work.

Description: The subscription-based Study Island SAT and Study Island ACT test preparation programs stress content and strategy with practice sessions that present relevant concepts. Both programs offer full-length practice tests and extensive report and management functions.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: No actual installation is needed for this internet-based program. Users should make sure all of the needed plug-ins are installed on the computer. Before using the program with a class, teachers must enter student names and make a few easy adjustments. Generally, getting started is very easy. Installation Rating: A

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Content/Features: Study Island SAT and Study Island ACT are two of many test preparation programs offered by Study Island for various--often state-specific--tests for grades 2-12.

The Study Island SAT and the Study Island ACT programs were examined for this review; they are very similar programs with test-specific differences. Both programs are web-based subscription services that can be used by students or teachers at any time from any location--lab, classroom, library, or home. This review will focus on the Study Island SAT program.

Study Island has partnered with Tutor Associates, a one-on-one tutoring company, to offer the SAT (and the ACT) review program. The mathematics portion of Study Island SAT helps students master both computation problems and word problems similar to those used on the test; the verbal portion includes practice for the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT.

Animated interactive instructional videos help students learn key test-taking strategies and help them avoid common pitfalls. The program also provides hundreds of printable flashcards designed to help students practice common SAT vocabulary. Practice exams allow students to get a score estimate. Full-length practice tests can be generated on request.

Subscribing users can log on to an opening page that provides specific user statistics and desired reports. To the left of the screen, a menu offers choices including School Stats, Class Manager, Benchmarking (an add-on at an extra cost), Create New Topic (to generate new practice exercises), New Message, My Attributes, and My High Scores. Below the menu is a list of subscription services available to the user's school. At the top, users can click on on-screen buttons to link to Emailed Report Manager, Printable User List, and Adjust Student Difficulty.

An SAT button takes the user to a page offering three selections: Math, Verbal, and Practice Tests. The Math option leads to a page with nine math lesson areas and more than 50 specific lessons. The Verbal option leads to a page with nine verbal lesson areas that link to a total of 34 specific lessons, a guide to writing SAT essays, and practice prompts. Check boxes offer a direct link to the selected lesson areas. As students work through a subject, their results are recorded on this page as well. …