Wow! I seriously wish I had this Top Pick app about a month ago, when my students were preparing for our standardized tests. Exam Elf is a great way for students in fourth through sixth grades to practice a wide variety of math skills with a focus on test taking strategies.
Exam Elf by ZumFun is a really in-depth app for practicing math facts. This isn't your standard skill and drill math review though. Exam Elf works not just on grade level, Common Core aligned math standards, it also focuses on essential test taking strategies. When first opening the app, users choose to work as a student or parent/booster. If the user is a parent or teacher or other caregiver, they can log in using a unique code and password to help their student. Parents can send boosts by giving their child a high five, answering questions, or sending messages. This is also how parents or teachers can check the progress of the student. Clicking on the strengths and weaknesses report gives percentages of mastery on each of the topics covered. Tapping on one of the skills details the actual questions answered so that adults can analyze the student's progress.
But back to the student. Students login in to the karate themed app and create their own avatar. After choosing which grade (4th-6th currently), students can begin practice. Students work to earn belts by answering questions in a variety of sections. These sections are split into test taking strategies instead of academics.
The questions themselves cover the full range of math standards, but all focus on the testing skill. Students must answer a set number of questions within a given time constraint in the Timing section, not get distracted by the silly hamster in Focus, and figure out which answer is wrong in Quality. Other sections include Strategy, Vision, and Grasp. With each attempt, students are asked to answer just a few questions before achieving success. Within the game, they also earn brains and stars to help students earn power-ups and keep them engaged.
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This app is huge! And wow do I wish that I had this to prep my students for the "big test." There is a lot to like about this app. I love that within each task, students only have to answer a few questions before achieving success. With the focus on test taking skills, kids are practicing math, but also practicing those skills that are important for being successful on any task (not just testing). This app takes a really unique approach to math practice, and I love it. I also like the parent/booster component. What a neat way to get parents and family involved in learning. Aunts, uncles, even friends can send boosts. I like the way the app ties everyone together. One thing I'd love to see in an update is a built in scratch pad portion. Right now, students will need scratch paper to solve the harder problems. While this is similar to how they will do the work on the test, no built in scratch paper makes it a little tough to take this app mobile.
Overall, this Top Pick is an incredible app for parents and teachers with children in upper elementary grades. Exam Elf covers skills from numbers and operations to geometry and measurement. With questions provided by the Kaplan Test Prep, rest assured, your child will be challenged.
At the time of this review, the app had no in-app purchases, ads, or external links.
Exam Elf is available for download via the iTunes App Store
RRP - Free
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She is a self proclaimed tech nerd and is passionate about technology in education. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.