Friday, April 21, 2017

Review of SpeedyPrep

Whenever I think about college prep "stuff," I have to mentally shake myself. Therese *can't* be that old! But somehow she is. So when we had the opportunity to review SpeedyPrep and their CLEP (College Level Examination Program) study guides, I jumped at the chance, not because I expected Therese to take a CLEP test, but because it is such awesome review for her in light of her missed days (weeks, months) of school due to illness. I'll elaborate below.
What is SpeedyPrep? A website that offers CLEP prep material in the form of fill-in-the-blank flashcard questions. Question explanations and short videos complement the flashcards.
A progress bar monitors your overall movement through your course (N.B., the progress bar moves slooowly. This is by design, since SpeedyPrep is a mastery program. You actually have to answer a SpeedyPrep question correctly multiple times in order to get credit for knowing it. That's really good news for CLEP test takers! What it means is, when you know the material on SpeedyPrep, you really know the material!). 
There are 24 courses in total:
  • Science: Biology and Natural Sciences
  • Business - Introductory Business Law, Information Systems, Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing, Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Foreign Language - Spanish
  • History and Social Sciences - American Government, US History I and II, Western Civilization I and II, Humanities
  • Literature - Analyzing and Interpreting Literature, American Literature, English Literature, College Composition
  • Mathematics - College Algebra, College Mathematics
  • Psychology and Human Development - Introductory Psychology, Introductory Sociology, Human Growth and Development
By passing a CLEP test, you demonstrate that you have mastered at least the fundamentals of that college-level subject. That's why you can get college credit for the courses you "CLEP." For our purposes, though, I don't know if I plan for Therese to CLEP any courses yet. I'm not sure. I am ecstatic about SpeedyPrep, though, for another reason - filling out her high school transcript for her freshman year (she is currently finishing her sophomore year).

I don't want to take a ton of time here to go into Therese's chronic illnesses, but because of them, she basically lost her freshman year of high school. In brief, she has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS-Type 3), Crohn's disease, a chronic Mycoplasma infection, and more! We were still looking for diagnoses her freshman year, and there days (weeks, months) that she really couldn't get out of bed. Now, she was ahead in most of her subjects (years ahead in some), and she has always been a massively gifted auto-didact. But you just can't get around the fact that US History is a required course in high school! It doesn't matter if your child has read historical fiction since she was five and can tell you stories upon stories about everything historical under the sun. She needs US History. *That's* why I love SpeedyPrep.

It turns out that Therese can work her way through a SpeedyPrep course and review US History thoroughly enough that a college would be willing to give her credit for the course. If, when she has completed the SpeedyPrep course and knows all of the flashcards cold (in other words, if she could knock the CLEP test out of the park), she could receive college credit, I have no problem at all giving her high school credit. In that way, she can work through a couple of SpeedyPrep courses while she does her regular course work and can fill in some of the gaps on her transcript. Best of all, Therese happens to love SpeedyPrep's methodology! It works really well with how she likes to study. Here are a few of the notes she has taken using SpeedyPrep's flash card system:

This is the way she enjoys learning the most. Deliver the information, quiz on the information, move on to new information. No frills, no furbelows. Just the facts - many, many facts. Currently, Therese is 38% through US History I and is looking forward to US History II next. We have SpeedyPrep for the next 4.5 months, and I definitely envision renewing our subscription for another year (for $179.55). In that way, Therese will be able to SpeedyPrep any classes that interest her, but she will also be able to continue to plug those transcript holes in a relaxed non-"classy" manner (you know what I mean - SpeedyPrep is definitely classy - it's just not "class-roomy"). Therese's curriculum is hardcore classical, so being able to just hit the books in a nuts and bolts way is very refreshing for her. Here's her take on SpeedyPrep in her own words:

"I like how they review through questions and answers and how, if you get it right, you get to move on, and how, if you get it wrong, you get an explanation before you move on. I found the videos helpful and it was nice that they were addressing short isolated events each. The one thing I found frustrating was how even slight deviations from the programmed answers were marked wrong; even when the most commonly acknowledged correct answer was marked wrong. For example, "Stephen F. Austin was marked incorrect, while "Stephen Austin" and even "Austin" were considered correct. Any Texan will tell you, the man is always referred to as Stephen F. Austin! Overall, I am really enjoying SpeedyPrep and I plan to continue to use it to review material that I *know*, but need help bringing to the front of my brain."

Other Homeschool Review Crew members also got to review SpeedyPrep, so be sure to click the banner below to read about their experiences!

College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}
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