Nov 13 2014

Publisher Joins Test Prep App Market

McGraw-Hill's new app integrates mobile content with its textbook study guides for AP students.

Textbook publishing giant McGraw-Hill is expanding its test prep reach with a new app designed to help Advanced Placement students ace their exams.

McGraw-Hill has been making strides in personalized education experiences. The company's AP Planner app, which augments all of the guides in its print AP study series, “5 Steps to a 5,” is a step in that direction.

At EDUCAUSE 2014, Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, told one session’s attendees: “Textbooks are dead, they’re dinosaurs.” He said the future for learning materials lies in adaptive learning methods. The publisher has been practicing what it preaches: The AP Planner app comes loaded with daily challenges, allowing students to choose which topics they focus on and to create customized study plans.

The growth of the mobile marketplace was key to McGraw-Hill’s decision to branch out into app development.

“Increasingly, tablets and other mobile digital devices are what students use to access information, so it makes sense that a study program designed to meet students' needs would use the technology they prefer,” a McGraw-Hill news release states.

There have been other signs that the test prep marketplace has been changing. In May, the play2prep app sought to disrupt the tedium generally associated with studying by integrating gaming concepts like multiplayer challenges.

Play2prep's creator Kenny Nova told EdTech that his app was designed to introduce fresh ideas in the ACT and SAT testing market. It features daily questions similar to those on the standardized tests, and test results let students identify which subjects they need to brush up on.

McGraw-Hill's app is available for free for Android devices on Google Play and the iTunes App Store for Apple iPhones.