If you have ever searched a math query on the internet, especially in the early days, chances were that you’d run into a Khan Academy video lesson on YouTube. Khan Academy was initially started in 2006 by Sal Khan to tutor one of his cousins in mathematics by posting video lessons to YouTube. Little did he know that, at the time, his channel would grow into an international non-profit organization that would end up reaching millions of students worldwide.
To this day, Khan Academy has remained entirely free for everyone, and its lesson catalog has only grown in size. In 2016, Khan Academy partnered up with College Board to offer its specialized SAT course. The online course provides a great free alternative for those who cannot afford the expensive SAT courses or don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a course.
In this Article
- How Does Khan Academy Work?
- Is Khan Academy Good for SAT Prep?
- Personalized Lessons
- High-Quality Video Lessons
- Official Resources and Practice Questions
- Video Lessons Broken Down into Specific Topics
- It is Free of Cost
- Unrealistic Testing Experience
- Limited Test Strategies
- Is Khan Academy Enough for SAT Prep?
You begin by creating a free account on the website and then selecting your grade. Khan Academy would then ask you what subjects you want to learn, and this is where you can scroll down and click on “SAT” under “test prep.”
You will see SAT in “my courses”. Every time you click on it, you will be taken to the main dashboard. Here you will find all the different video lessons that are categorized into separate SAT sections. The whole process is very smooth and intuitive without any needless clutter.
The course’s two main sections are “SAT Math” and “SAT Reading and Writing”. As you can imagine, these two sections contain the video lessons for their respective subjects. All the lessons are delivered through YouTube Videos.
The two additional sections are “Full-length SAT Tests” and “SAT Tips and Strategies”. The former contains “online” and “paper” SAT practice tests, and the former provides a plethora of tips and strategies on the various question types.
This feature is usually seen in paid courses, and it is nice that they have implemented it here. When you initially log in to your account, you will be asked to submit your SAT scores if you have already taken the test. Your score will determine your strengths and weaknesses, and the algorithm will use that information to display video lessons relevant to your skill level.
If you have not taken the test previously, then that’s fine. You can instead take eight diagnostic quizzes to help determine your skill level. Half of these quizzes are for the math section and the other half for the verbal section.
Once you have taken the test, you will immediately see your score and be assigned a skill level for each topic. Your skill level will determine which lessons will be suggested to you and the practice questions’ difficulty.
High-Quality Video Lessons
This pro isn’t about the production quality rather the contents of the video lessons. Khan Academy is known for providing high-quality content; their videos break down each problem into a step-by-step explanation. The instructors who voice the lessons are articulate and are delivered smoothly without awkward pauses. I also like the pace of the tutorials, and they are neither too slow nor swift. You can easily follow along and see the whole process on a digital whiteboard.
The detail of the lessons is something that has always impressed me. If you like to learn via multiple various explanations, you will like Khan Academy. The lessons explore each aspect of the question and leave no rocks unturned.
Moreover, since all the video lessons are on YouTube, it gives you the added benefit of posting your query in the comment section. Viewers can quickly help each other out in the comments section, and since so many people watch these videos, the chances are that your question may already be answered. The videos are typically about 10 minutes long and focus on a particular SAT topic.
Official Resources and Practice Questions
A crucial advantage of using Khan Academy for SAT prep is that College Board has created the whole course. College Board is the official administrator of the test, which means that all the course resources authentic. This also means that the practice questions and the full-length practice tests you will solve are official and the most authentic ones you can find.
A big problem with third-party practice questions is that they fail to imitate the actual practice tests’ format and contents. They are either too easy or needlessly complex, costing you points in the actual test. On the other hand, official material familiarizes you with the type of questions that you will encounter on test day. This way, there are no surprises, and you have a better over-all chance of scoring high.
Video Lessons Broken Down into Specific Topics
A great feature of Khan Academy’s SAT course is that the video lessons are particular, helping you drill yourself on specific topics without having to sit through unneeded video lessons. If you are careful about your weakness and, let’s say, you want to prepare and practice algebra. You can easily select specific sub-topics and save time.
This sort of topic-focused system allows you to develop your skills in areas that you deem essential quickly. Why waste time on things you already know?
It is Free of Cost
How can I write this article without acknowledging the fantastic accessibility of Khan Academy? One of the primary reasons to study for SAT through Khan Academy is that you will not be asked to pay a dime. Third-party SAT courses can run well into hundreds of dollars. It is no surprise that many students worldwide do not have the means to spend money on such courses. Khan Academy is doing an excellent service to underprivileged students worldwide by offering all its services free of cost.
Moreover, it’s not like you are compromising on quality just because the course is free. Like I mentioned earlier, the video lessons are comprehensive and detailed and, the practice questions are of the highest quality.
Unrealistic Testing Experience
The problem that stands out the most is that the practice questions are delivered digitally, whereas an actual SAT is always paper-based. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you only use Khan Academy practice questions for your prep, you will not be familiarized with the actual test. Moreover, the full-length tests are also delivered through the computer, and for good prep, a student must replicate the actual test’s testing conditions.
Since you will be solving all the questions on a computer, I would suggest that you buythird-party practice booksin addition to Khan Academy. Solving the problems on paper will give you the feeling of an actual test, and you will more accurately gauge your weaknesses and strengths.
Limited Test Strategies
I know I mentioned earlier that one of the course sections is wholly dedicated to tips and strategies. However, since the course has been created with the College Board’s help, the strategies provided are not conducive to a high score.
College Board cannot inform you about the nuances of their test. They cannot expose what tricks they use to make their questions confusing, and they won’t tell you which subjects the SAT has more questions on. Instead, their strategies are very general and only cover the basic stuff that won’t help you.
There is no doubt that Khan Academy provides a great free alternative for SAT prep. The official resources, such as the practice questions and full-length tests, are handy, and the video lessons do an excellent job of explaining topics. That being said, I would still suggest that if you can, you should supplement your SAT prep with additional prep material, preferably from a reputable company such as Kaplan, Princeton Review, or Barons. The practice material is delivered through a computer and does not resemble the actual SAT.
Moreover, you will need additional practice if you want to score above the 95th percentile. While high in quality, Khan Academy practice questions are not nearly enough for you to ace the SAT. I would advise that you purchase additional practice material to ensure a high score.
Furthermore, if you are interested in learning helpful test strategies, you would again have to look someplace else because the tips and techniques provided by Khan Academy are not that effective.