Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2017
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SAT Vocab by MindSnacks

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Variety is key in charmingly effective SAT vocab app

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • English-Language Learning

  • Critical Thinking
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Each game presents vocabulary in a different way, leading to real depth of understanding.

Cons: Level progression stalls in the free version once the list is mastered.

Bottom Line: Upgrading to the full version gets you great games and a thorough word list for SAT vocab prep.

There's no way to customize lists, but the word bank is solid SAT prep, which is exactly what it's meant to do. A couple of valuable options to note: Students can receive push notifications to remind them to do their daily vocab practice, and they can get a word of the day as well. Give extra-credit quizzes or points to kids who keep up with daily vocab on their own devices. Students register with an email address, and the terms of service and privacy policy apply to those 13 and older.

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SAT Vocab by Mindsnacks is a game-based app that helps kids studying for the PSAT or SAT improve vocabulary skills. The free version includes one lesson with only 20 words. Once it's unlocked, you'll find 500 SAT prep words presented in 25 different lessons that focus on 20 words each. Students demonstrate word mastery by completing nine different games that highlight the words in a lesson.

Game objectives involve matching the word to a synonym; matching definition, image, and antonym; sentence completion; and identifying the word by definition and spelling the word. A tutorial leads students through the game feature, and the app tracks not only the words students have grasped but also the skills -- such as antonyms or rapid recall -- that they've mastered or may be struggling with.

The games themselves are fun and surprisingly challenging. Speed factors into performance, which certainly helps when preparing for timed tests. For example, as the level progresses in the first game -- where students must correctly match the term to its definition or synonym to keep a fish from running out of water -- the water levels decrease progressively faster as the game goes on. At some advanced levels, students barely have time to read all the word choices before the water level is out and their little fish becomes an angel.

Completing certain quests rewards students with different spirits, which can be motivating. And students can review what they've mastered at points along the way, which helps to reinforce learning. They can also see a report of their performance in each of the skill sets, such as antonyms or rapid recall, which helps with test skills.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

A variety of game formats keeps the words fresh and the challenge high. Hand-illustrated graphics are modern and fun, and kids will get hooked on the motivating quests.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Nine different games give students many ways to cement understanding of new vocabulary and the ability to recall it.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The speed with which kids are pushed to recall words is nerve-wracking! Gameplay isn't always intuitive, leading to some unnecessary misses while still working out how to play.

Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Patty G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
La Sierra University
Riverside, United States
Great tool for learning the SAT Vocabulary!
Overall, it was simple enough for everyday use, and kept the student engaged. It's also not very pricy.
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