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Mobile App Seeks to Offset Record-Low SAT Scores

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A new way to prepare for standardized tests has arrived, but it won't be found in the classroom or even in the homes of America's tutors -- unless you count what's in our pockets.

QuotEd, a new mobile app from the Milwaukee-based Knerr Tutoring Center that launches on Jan. 28, has already impressed users in beta for months. Unlike other standardized test prep applications, QuotEd doesn't try to fit a textbook-amount of review onto a phone screen -- the experience is specifically tailored for mobile use.

The app focuses on reading comprehension, and its timing couldn't be better: SAT reading scores across the country are the lowest they've been in 40 years. While the jury is still out on whether SATs are an accurate predictor of college success, the No Child Left Behind Act ties public school funding to standardized test success -- meaning that if things don't get better soon, they could get worse.

But as mobile devices become more prevalent in our society (this past Christmas saw a record-number of phones being activated), the ability to study effectively on-the-go will likely be a huge boost for America's students, more of whom took the SAT last year than ever before.

"QuotEd exposes students to the kinds of complex texts and structures that schools do not offer," said Kreigh Knerr, the founder of Knerr Learning Center and a long time veteran of test prep tutoring. "From the ability to group favorite questions together to giving users access to the entire archive of quoted texts and authors, this app democratizes the standardized test prep process, putting as many tools as possible directly into the hands of the students."

QuotEd differs in its delivery from test prep apps offered by stalwarts like the Princeton Review. The app sends out one reading comprehension question per day based on quotes from famous poems, intellectual essays and other sources. Users can study concise explanations of each answer, vary their question difficulty and utilize a "quiz mode" feature. Students have used QuotEd to study for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT, GRE and other standardized tests that include reading components.

While a single quote per day may not seem like a lot, researchers from Stanford University contend that frequent and close contact with individual note-worthy sentences is the best way to become familiar with language. As Understanding Language, the Stanford paper based on this study, suggests, "There is only one way to acquire the language of literacy, and that is through literacy itself... Because the only place students are likely to encounter these structures and patterns is in the materials they read."

The app was first launched in beta in August 2012, and its user base has since risen over 700 percent. Users in over 20 countries have downloaded the app.

Prospective students can check out the app in the Android and Apple markets.