Like most people in the test prep space, we at Magoosh were eager to see the results of Khan Academy’s partnership with the College Board get released last week. For those unfamiliar, this new SAT prep material was created along with the input from the official makers of the SAT, is aligned to the redesigned SAT that will be coming in March of 2016, and is available to everyone for free.
We’ve written before about our support for the partnership, but it bears repeating:
Magoosh is committed to making education more accessible, effective, and enjoyable, and we welcome anything that aligns with that mission. Students everywhere — regardless of economics, geography, or background — deserve access to high quality education and test prep. But beyond a shared commitment to leveling the education playing field, there are several other reasons that Magoosh welcomes Khan Academy’s new SAT prep tools.
A shifting paradigm helps online education
When Magoosh was founded, the idea of sitting down in front of a computer to study for a test was still pretty foreign. Most students who could afford test prep paid big bucks to go to test centers and take scheduled classes, while many more who couldn’t afford it bought or borrowed guidebooks and did their best alone. Having so much of the College Board’s official material available online can only help bring more students into the (far cheaper) world of digital education. For an online test prep company, more students studying online is a good thing!
Khan Academy’s offering will also help to erode the misconception that, when it comes to test prep, quality is correlated with cost. At Magoosh, we’ve known for a long time that it’s possible to help students achieve great score improvements without charging them through the nose, but we still encounter that perception. Khan Academy’s free, high quality prep is yet another counterexample we can point to.
Better official material makes for better products
Anyone who works in test prep can tell you, when it comes to making the best possible practice questions, no one does it better than the test-makers themselves. At Magoosh, when we’re writing questions for our test prep products, we rely heavily on the official guides to inform how we work. For the first time, the official stuff is available from the College Board, en masse, for free, to everyone.
We love this for two reasons.
First, we have more inspiration to draw from, and a better roadmap for how to make our own test-like questions and passages.
But second, and more importantly, students can now have great examples of what the test actually looks like, and will be able to more easily evaluate test prep options against the College Board’s standard. More examples of what great prep looks like means better informed students, which will help make our products shine against the competition.
Raising expectations for what’s possible in test prep
Perhaps the best reason we’re excited for the official study material from Khan Academy is that it forces everyone in the test prep game — including us! — to step it up. Having good lessons and questions simply won’t be enough to justify charging students, and all test prep providers are going to have to figure out how to create more value in order to ask students to pay.
Magoosh’s offerings already go beyond questions and lessons — when students pay for our service, they also get access to our team of test-prep experts. Students can send in questions about anything in our product — lessons, questions, general study tips, or whatever else they need — and a tutor will get back to them as quickly as possible. Our team works hard, 24/7 to make sure that students have what they need. What’s more, our product team is hard at work building new features and products to help students succeed.
In the end, the only way a business can survive is if its customers find its products valuable. Our students tell us that they love what we do. We’re continually humbled by their overwhelming support and we hope to keep earning that love. This new free SAT prep helps everyone — both students and test prep companies like Magoosh — continue to push for bigger and better things.