Monday, June 12, 2017

SpeedyPrep ~ CLEP test preparation courses (A Review)

If you have a high school student or college student, you may be interested in this latest review product, CLEP preparation courses by SpeedyPrep. These courses are geared towards students who have already taken high school level classes in a given subject and feel they are probably proficient enough to test out of their basic college level classes (Which is a HUGE cost savings, tuition-wise).

What courses are offered? As you can see in the graphic above, there are 33 college subjects that can be "clepped" or tested out of. SpeedyPrep offers preparation for 24 of those courses:
  • Business
    • Introductory Business Law
    • Information Systems
    • Principles of Management
    • Principles of Marketing
    • Principles of Macroeconomics
    • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Foreign Language
    • Spanish
  • History and Social Sciences
    • American Government
    • US History I
    • US History II
    • Western Civilization I
    • Western Civilization II
    • Humanities
  • Literature
    • Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
    • American Literature
    • English Literature
    • College Composition
  • Mathematics
    • College Algebra
    • College Mathematics
  • Psychology and Human Development
    • Introductory Psychology
    • Introductory Sociology
    • Human Growth and Development
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Natural Sciences

You can read specifics about each course if you visit the SpeedyPrep website and click on the courses tab. There are details about what is covered and how the CLEP exam is laid out. This is a screenshot of part of the information on Western Civilization I:

Lots of great information to read on the website to discover if SpeedyPrep is a good option for your student.

If we had known credits my Eldest's college would accepts while she was still in high school, we might have chosen to use SpeedyPrep in place of the online math course whose credits her college of choice does not accept. I would have been pretty happy with the SpeedyPrep guarantees. It states that if a student masters 90% or more of their course, they are guaranteed to pass the CLEP exam or SpeedyPrep will refund up to three months of the subscription fees used to study for the test. More details can be found on their Guarantee page.

Subscriptions are for 1 month, 3 months, and yearly, and each subscription is meant for only one student/user, and allow that student to access the materials for every course offered by SpeedyPrep. The materials can be accessed on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone), anywhere there is wifi capability.

The program is a mastery program, so material will be covered more than once to ensure that it maintains space in the student's memory bank, with reasonably easy recall. The goal is to fill in the progress bar to the 90-100% range, and then schedule a CLEP exam fairly soon thereafter. Details/information on scheduling exams (not done through SpeedyPrep) can be found on the SpeedyPrep FAQs page.

My daughter decided to spend some time on the SpeedyPrep site (fitting it in around her works schedule as time permitted), to see what the math courses looked like (since she had been counting on her high school math courses being accepted for credit at her college, she figured this was an option to minimize that disappointment).

Over the course of 15 study sessions (At the time of the dashboard screenshot below)  she was only able to complete about 2.5% of the course. From this screen, she could access the course by clicking "study now"  on the specific course that she had started (The top two squares, by clicking study now in the "all courses" listing, OR click the course name in the "all courses" listing and specify which section she wanted to study. However, the only way to know which section she should work on (unless she was willing to accept the random study session assigned) would be to see her progress by clicking the "course progress" button.

One of the things that I think could use some tweaking in this program is the ability to choose which section to study... Here is a screenshot of course progress after those 15 study sessions. You can see that a variety of topics were studied, my impression is somewhat arbitrarily:

As you can see progress is listed by section, but the only way to choose which section to work on is to remember which topic you want to work on and click "study now" and choose that course. I would like to see the ability to choose to complete "Complex Imaginary Numbers Part 1" for example, before going on to Complex Imaginary Numbers Part 2, and an intuitive way to do that would be to click on the name of the section from the progress page to resume studying.

Currently there are too many steps to choose your topic rather than taking what is randomly assigned...

On to the practical~
This is an example of the SpeedyPrep flashcard method of studying ( I decided to use a course that my daughter was not planning to study to give you screen shot examples to that I wouldn't mess up the logarithm for her courses) :

Please notice that this study style requires an answer to be typed in, there is no multiple choice like there is in on the CLEP exam. The very good reasoning behind this is that if you have to type in the answer, you obviously know it.

Now, I came into this with no prior study experience, and thought my choice of word "exertion" wasn't bad, and indeed, it is a synonym for the correct answer of labor. This shows up as incorrect in SpeedyPrep, but I can tell that I would have chosen "labor" out of a multiple choice selection. And next time this question comes up, I'll know which word they are looking for.

I think this is a great way to study/prepare for a test, and although time has not allowed my daughter to get to that 90% guaranteed pass goal just yet, I think she will keep working on it to see if she can get at least one or two courses out of the way. Of course, there aren't many of them that will apply to her Art Education degree, but Math and Literature should fit right in.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company: SpeedyPrep 
  • Product: Speedy Prep Courses
  • Ages: High School -> Adult
  • Price: 
    • Monthly Subscription $24.95 with access to all courses
    • Quarterly Subscription $63.62 (10% savings) with access to all courses for 3 months
    • Yearly Subscription $$194.61 (35% savings over the monthly cost) with access to all courses for a full year
Visit SpeedyPrep on their social media sites: Twitter and Facebook 

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