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College Prep: Is ‘Gamifying’ SAT Studying A New Trend?

When you’re about ready to pull your hair out after hours of studying for SATs and writing essays — you know, that point where you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry — how do you push yourself to keep going? The newest trend in high-tech learning says that you can pass the hours faster and more pleasantly if you turn studying into a game. Sure, using games may pass the time faster and keep you engaged during a road trip (license plate game, anyone?) but does it really make studying for the SATs less gruelling? An onslaught of gamified new learning tools are trying to convince word-weary studiers that yes, that gaming really can make learning fun.

We just heard word that is unveiling a new feature today called “Writing Dynamo,” which will apparently allow high school students studying for the SATs to upload their personal essays onto the site and have them be edited by a “virtual English teacher” for sentence structure, length, and word choice, among other elements. This is a new feature on their already-existing tool “Word Dynamo,” a free tool for young people to play games designed to help them prep for tests.

Of course, skill-building word games, online study “dashboards,” and expert guides are nothing new in the world of college prep, but these online “gamified” education tools have grown into a full-fledged online market, particularly in an economic climate causing so many students anxiety about the college application process and where only 1 in 6 high school freshmen will go on to graduate from college on time. SAT and ACT internet-based study games have been embraced by both well-known brands this year, such as, and have been the theme of buzzy startups like, and,, among many others. Other education-focused companies, such as (one of HuffPost High School’s content partners) and Cliffsnotes Films, are using video in unique game-like ways as a learning engagement tool.

Do you think gamifying learning actually helps you absorb more information, or do you learn better the old-fashioned way? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet @HuffPostTeen!

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