Varsity Tutors

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
Varsity Tutors App Poster Image
Multiple-choice prep for nearly every test; not much more.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can't learn much from the app by itself, but they can get tons of extra practice on standardized test questions. It's designed mostly for practice and review of content already learned in a classroom or from some other source. Even though it has content for kids as young as first grade, it's a much better fit for older kids who are more self-directed and motivated to prep for standardized tests. Varsity Tutors won't teach kids, but it goes a long way to making test prep more convenient, mobile, and accessible.

Ease of Play

Easy to create custom flash card decks, take practice exams, and review content. If you want live tutoring, it's always one click away. 

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Consumerism

Points users toward Varsity's live tutoring service, which is paid and requires a subscription plan. Kids can tap "Find a Tutor," enter personal information (requires email address), and contact a potential tutor without a parent gate.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Varsity Tutoring is a test-preparation and -practice app that's a free part of a larger, paid, online tutoring program. There are standardized-test-style multiple-choice review questions for a huge number of subjects from first grade math and science (aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards) to high school tests, such as the SAT, AP, ACT, and GED, and beyond to graduate and professional assessments such as the GRE, MCAT, and LSAT. It's not really a standalone learning tool but really an on-the-go replacement for bulky test practice books and review packets, and while there's content for younger kids, it's not really designed for them. The company does require an email address and a phone number for anything more than the test-prep content, so be sure you check out their privacy policy.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byLosmum June 15, 2018
Adult Written bytampamom June 15, 2018

The best free resources around

We love using the free practice tests and flashcards. I can't believe you don't have to pay for the materials in their huge online library! A MUST do... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 3, 2018

Instant is awesome!

I think it's nice and easy to use. I like using the app when I'm working on my homework. I can access it right on my phone or i-Pad.

What's it about?

VARSITY TUTORS is a paid one-on-one in-person and online tutoring service, but this mobile app acts as both a portal to live tutoring and a large bank of multiple-choice questions for lots of subjects and assessments. The app offers diagnostic and practice tests with nicely presented results or the same test questions presented as daily reviews, conceptual reviews (with brief explanations), or customizable flash card decks. The app covers subjects across the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for all grades, most common high school tests (SAT, AP, ACT, GED, and more), and up to professional- and graduate-level tests such as the MCAT, LSAT, and GRE. Each question is presented full-screen, with easily selectable options and immediate feedback. 

Is it any good?

By itself, it's not a good tool for learning anything, but it does offer lots of test-prep practice. Since every question is a test-style multiple-choice question, it won't help with mastery of skills and procedures or give kids any deep understanding. The "learn by concept" section presents a question with the correct solution already identified, followed by a brief explanation, often with some work shown. Unfortunately, this won't really help kids learn much, unless they're already great at sitting down with a textbook and example problems and teaching themselves, which most aren't. Also, even though it has content for kids as young as six, it's really designed for an older, more self-directed kid who will prepare for milestone tests independently. However, the app makes up for its lack of depth with a huge number of problems, so for students who want to replace those hefty test-prep books with something more mobile, this is a fine option. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using technology to learn. Is an app like this helpful to prepare for tests? Why, or why not?

  • Families can talk about the purpose of standardized testing and the frustrations it can create. Are long multiple-choice tests really a great measure of how smart or well-educated someone is? How much prep work does it take to do well on these tests?

  • Also discuss the benefits of practice, whether it's for school, for college prep, for sports, or for games. Why is it sometimes good to do repetitive tasks to improve? 

App details

For kids who love homework help

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