Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Experience with Bench Prep

This is a Public Service Announcement for those considering using BenchPrep.

Now normally, I would not post something like this, but this experience has gotten my blood boiling so much that I can't stand it. I work in supplemental education, which is an industry that is also known as "for-profit" education. There are many people in this industry who are well-intentioned and have their clients' best interests at heart. There are also those who are in the industry solely to make a profit and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

Enter BenchPrep, which has been lauded as one of the best educational platforms. For those of you who are not familiar with BenchPrep, it is a platform that allows you to access practice questions for just about any standardized test you can think of: ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, the Bar exam, etc. etc. etc. Basically, BP has gotten permission from other companies to use their content, and resell this content to you at a reasonable rate.

They also present it to you in a very nice interactive package allows you to get immediate results if you get an answer wrong. You can also use their services on your tablet or mobile device. The idea is pretty innovative.

However, the content is not even close to being decent. I was gifted the SAT package (by Nova) which is valued at $99. And here's where the problems start to abound.

I will not bore with you mathematical dribble, but I will post screenshots of questions that I encountered in this one $99 package. Remember, on the Bench Prep website, they tout "The content in BenchPrep courses is provided by the World's best educational publishers."

Um... Have they heard of the Triangle Inequality Theorem?

There is a brief break in the image because I couldn't fit the whole thing in, but I included the relevant information. For an expert educational company, they sure don't know how to read their own graphs.

Use apostrophes much?

This must be a new way of doing mathematics. Pretending that rules of mathematics apply only when you want them to.

I can't even follow this one...

I actually e-mailed a long time ago about a discrepancy I found and the reply came as such: "Thanks for point it out. We are working on a new design that would look much closer. Also, we are developing new content edit tool that would help us fix these content errors." They have since implemented a flag tool, which I have being using like there's no tomorrow, but they still have not even tried to fix the incorrect question I brought up a year ago. These are five incorrect problems that I encountered having gone through 36 practice questions. This does not even include the questions that were irrelevant or poorly worded, nor have I even touched about the incorrect ACT questions I found.

At first it was kind of amusing. Oh! Let me see how many wrong mistakes I can find! But after a certain point, amusement turned to frustration turned to anger. Imagine being an unsuspecting high school student who saved up to pay a hundred dollars for this drivel. I couldn't let that stand without doing something about it. I fully support supplemental education when you receive quality in return, but this -- as is the case for many other companies -- is not offering an equal exchange in my opinion. I would definitely want my money back. 

As I look on their on their website, I see 24 people on their team -- 3 in charge of content.

I think this is a case of a company having expanded way too rapidly for their own good. Considering that even after a year, my problem has yet to be addressed. Even after I flagged the questions, I was asked by support to upload photos. Three attempts to fix a something that should have been fixed before the product was released. Better yet, how about finding a better educational company to sell you their questions?

On their FAQ page, it states "We are continuously updating the content to make sure it is shown in the best possible way. Please send an email tosupport@benchprep.com if you find any issues with the content. Make sure to attach a screenshot of the error and a short description of why it's wrong.  There is also a "Flag Content" tool/feature located to the right of your course content. To report an error, click the Flag Content tab and write a brief description of the content error." Last I checked, this wasn't a crowd sourcing page. People are paying money for your content. 

I do my best as a tutor, and I also write my own content. I take a painstakingly long time because I take pride in the quality of the work I put out there. I understand that there may be inconsistencies; I make mistakes, too. Quite often actually. However, with 24 people working on a team, 5 out of 36 is simply unacceptable. In any other professional editing job, that kind of track record would be enough to get you fired. A quick look at their reviews in the Apple Store and Google Play shows that I'm not the first one to think this.

I think the company needs to seriously address content quality issues before they try to push their platform on other unsuspecting buyers who don't know any better. Consider this  a warning to those of you who are considering their platform.

Disclaimer: I have only reviewed the Nova SAT and ACT practice questions as well as Allen Prep's ACT practice questions. I have not seen course content. I will update if I have the nerve to even look.


  1. This blog is used to get more savings Bench Prep Coupon Code at topincoupons.com

  2. Why is #1 wrong? The longest side can be greater than 7 but less than 8. 7.1, 7.2, 7.9….

    Why is #2 wrong? The 1992 profit is $700,000. Profit from corporate copying was 15% more than profit from government. 700,000*.15 is 105,000.

    1. #1 is wrong. The only 2 possible answers are "BC < 8" or "None of the above" but neither is offered as a choice.

  3. The green markers are what the system deemed to be correct.

    1. The answer can be determined. Thus, E should not be correct.
    2. The question asks for profit from copying. Revenue from copying is only the black part of the bar graph - roughtly $315,000.

  4. Well the program sounded like a great study tool until I kept reading. I could see this on a free application put not one that you have paid a good amount of money for. I have been trying to prepare my son for the ACT so I appreciate knowing useless study aids to avoid. II found him a local Chicago ACT prep course which so far seems really good. I don't remember having anything like this when I was in school and took the test.

  5. thanks for sharing information really it is very useful

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  6. I like how the essay is being written since it is being done in a very ordered manner. The thesis statement has been supported well in the subsequent paragraphs.

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  7. Benchprep has so many wrong questions it's just annoying. Content is okay; but I feel sorry for people who payed full price just because of the dumb practice questions.
    Two problems: typos when solving (so none of the offered answers are correct) and not accepting correct answers (even if they didn't specify which form to put it in). The latter I understand, but seriously? Can they not check their work?