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SAT Vocab by MindSnacks
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.
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.