Starts-Ups Change How Students Study for Tests

Anyone who’s applied to college has dealt with the frustration of standardize testing. With the cost of failure so high, parents and grads continue to spend a lot of cash on test preparation to ensure the best results. However, there’s a crop of web startups popping up to ease the pain and we’re all benefiting from the competition.

Prepme is one online test prep company coming out of the University of Chicago’s business incubator. Founded in 2001, the company offers test preparation for the SAT, PSAT, and ACT, using an adaptive algorithm to customize the preparation course for each student.

Unlike Kaplan’s online offering, Prepme doesn’t calculate the best lesson plan once, but continuously as you work your way through the material. Their system keeps track of what questions you get right and wrong, working you harder on the types of questions you miss.

Additionally, customers can connect electronically, using real time chat, with high scoring college students who serve as tutors.

With test prep for the SAT alone being a $130 million dollar-a-year industry, using web 2.0 technology to help students seems like a logical move. Seeing the threat, some of the major players in the industry, like Kaplan or Princeton Review, have been attempting to develop online test prep products to compete with new online offering like Prepme. Prepme charges around $300 to $500 for their lessons compared with Kaplan’s lowest offering costing $400.

At the same time, Prepme is expanding the tests which they provide preparation for to include the GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT and partnering with brick and mortar companies to provide comprehensive test-preparation services. Additionally, the company signed a contract earlier this year to provide their services to every high school junior in the state of Maine.

See also our coverage of Grockit, a Silicon Valley startup focusing on helping students study for the GMAT via P2P ideas evolved through MMOGs..