SAT Word Slam

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
SAT Word Slam App Poster Image
A slam dunk for helping teens' vocabulary to ... burgeon.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn and remember high-level vocabulary words like "arcane," "malaise," and "recuse" with this well-designed SAT prep app. For each of the 400 words, teens can read or listen to a short definition, a rhyming poem, and a mnemonic device. They can also learn the part of speech and a pronunciation for each word. The clever rhymes and exaggerated voices make the words and meanings memorable. In addition, teens can tailor the learning experience by creating a custom playlist and ranking words by difficulty. SAT Word Slam is a slam dunk for learning apps that will have teens' vocabularies ... burgeoning.

Ease of Play

This app is pretty straightforward, and full instructions are included on the information page. On first opening the app, users will see hints to help navigate each section. The words are challenging, but users can designate words as "easy" or "difficult," and can customize lists words they want to study or test.

Violence

Some poems and mnemonics mention violence, such as King Henry's wives and a Barbie being beheaded.

Sex

Several poems and mnemonics reference sex -- an "impregnable" egg is protected from sperm, a "philanderer" is a womanizer who wants to "land" her, and teens blush when they start to "burgeon." A gold-plated thong is mentioned, a father commands his scantily clad daughter to "redress," and Aristotle "ruminates" about whether he is gay or straight.

Language

Gateway words are fairly common in this app, although "hell" and "ass" are written with symbols replacing some letters. Other language includes: butt, BS, damned, crapathy, suckup, and queer. 

Consumerism

A link from the information page goes to a page where kids can purchase the book this app is based on. The information page also says that more words will be available as in-app purchases in the future.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol is frequently mentioned in the app, sometimes, but not always, with a negative spin. For example, a "bacchanal" (wild, drunken party) will send you back to rehab, but a "stoic" person should be given champagne, and the poems often mention wanting or enjoying beer. Smoking and drugs are typically mentioned in a negative light -- cigarettes are "abhorred," and the doctor from Cider House Rules dies after sniffing "ether."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SAT Word Slam is a vocabulary learning and testing app based on the book by Jodi Fodor. In fact, the 400 words in the app utilize many of the same definitions, poems, and mnemonics as the book. Each word is accompanied by a poem, mnemonic device, definition, and audio recording. The writing is very stylized and often sarcastic, making frequent references to pop culture. Some of these references may be too mature for younger teens -- either because of the adult content or because they're just too young to really know that Pamela Anderson is mostly "fictitious." The app includes numerous references to drinking alcohol, and a couple to sneaking out at night. Recordings are professional and often use accents to make them more memorable. Future updates may include in-app purchases to add more words.

User Reviews

Adult Written byWordLover February 23, 2012

My kids love this app. I give it 5 Stars.

My kids are crazy about this app. This is the first time I've been able to get my teenagers interested in learning vocabulary. They love that the vocab r... Continue reading
Adult Written byReaderMum February 25, 2012

My Kids Love This Vocab App Because it Makes Them Laugh

I have three kids using this app: 13, 15, and 17. They all like it--especially my 13-year-old who likes to keep up with the other two. They like that the word... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

From the navigation bar, teens can choose from Teach Me, Test Me, Playlist, Index, and Test Results. The index includes an alphabetical list of words with parts of speech, pronunciations, definitions, and mnemonic devices. Teens can mark words as easy, medium, or difficult. The playlist lets kids create a custom set of words from the full list. The Teach Me section includes the poems and mnemonics. In both the Teach Me and Test Me sections, teens can review or test all words, words they've marked as difficult, or a custom playlist.

Is it any good?

SAT Word Slam is very down-to-earth, and the author's voice comes through pretty clearly, opinions and all. The testing section is well-designed, and the teaching and index sections give teens various ways to learn the words with clever poems and mnemonics, as well as the ability to categorize and study words by difficulty. While the sassy references to Paris Hilton and O.J. Simpson make for memorable associations, they don't always provide the most precise idea of the meaning and correct use of the words. However, in terms of learning design, it would be hard to find an app that's better than SAT Word Slam for helping kids learn and remember challenging vocabulary.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage your teen to use the SAT words in everyday conversation. Choose one word a week to focus on as a family, and make a point of using it.

  • Suggest to teens that they start a vocabulary journal. Along with the words and definitions, they can include original sentences and hand-drawn images to help them remember the meanings.

App details

For kids who love working with words

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