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Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2018

PrepFlash

Turn any content into a flexible study aid

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • 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.
7–12
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Pros: Copy, paste, upload, and keyword generation features save time and energy when creating study aids.

Cons: Keywords don't always produce reliable results, and some of the passages are long and may not contain content that's helpful for studying.

Bottom Line: Students will benefit from the ease of creating study materials, but getting beyond surface knowledge will take concentrated effort.

Teachers can use PrepFlash to encourage their students to develop independent study habits and prepare for high school and college classes, where information overload can be overwhelming. The generation of study sets based on natural language processing helps to narrow down key terms and concepts, and students can save time and focus their energy on studying relevant content in ways that challenge them to apply knowledge instead of simply memorizing terms. Of course, the option to study student-created sets is still available, and students can type, paste, or upload text in order to maximize their study experience. Although students may retain information more easily if they create their own study sets, it's not always feasible with the time constraints many face, and PrepFlash provides a viable alternative that enables students to access key terms and make studying more active than reading the same paragraphs in textbooks again and again.

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PrepFlash is a flash card generator that relies on keywords to generate sets of questions from user-uploaded content. Users will need to provide a username and a password to sign up, but they can begin creating sets without much ado. Multiple options allow users to type out their own sets, upload PDFs, or paste text from files or webpages into the site. PrepFlash then generates multiple-choice, true/false, or fill-in-the-blank questions for users to study. Students can use a mouse or keyboard shortcuts to toggle through questions, self-marking each one as correct or incorrect as they study. The score generated at the end tells students how well they know the material and whether or not they need further review.

Students can also search and study sets generated by other users by typing in keywords, and they can rate questions and add notes as well as copy them to other sets. Note that not all keywords will return the results users desire. For instance, searching with the keyword "English" brought up a study set on the English Football League. The user interface is clean, and the tool is easy to use right out of the box. One note: When creating sets via typing in terms, users should be sure to use the proper format (term = definition) to get the results they want.

Objective tests aren't going away anytime soon, so tools that make it easier to study for them will continue to be somewhat in demand. PrepFlash doesn't contain the games and excitement that characterize other flash card tools, making it a better fit for upper middle school and beyond. It's a bonus that students can create sets so easily -- leaving more time for studying, but perhaps sacrificing depth of learning in the process. To deepen their understanding, students may want to create multiple study sets from different sources on the same topic. For instance, students studying the Harlem Renaissance can upload a poem, a biography, an article, and the text from an advertisement from the era in order to produce more well-rounded study sets that consider a topic from more than one angle. For students in college or postgraduate courses of study, or for those preparing for high-stakes tests, PrepFlash can offer an advantage that translates to better overall scores. Mobile devices users can also take advantage of the listening feature to have text read aloud, adding some variety to the experience. 

Overall Rating

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

Students can toggle through sets easily to see correct answers, progress to the next question, and self-correct to generate a grade for each session.

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

A step above rote memorization: Users can take advantage of PrepFlash's use of algorithms to generate high-quality questions; the ability to study other users' sets can provide variety and add depth to the experience.

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

Embedded video tutorials walk users through step by step, but the tool is intuitive enough that most students will not need much help.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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