As GED Pass Rates Plummet, Shmoop Provides an Affordable Solution

The number of people who passed the new GED® test in 2014 was dramatically lower than it has been in the past, but Shmoop strives to help improve pass rates.

Shmoop GED

Americans have been taking the GED since 1942, and the test has undergone a whopping five makeovers since then. The most recent version was introduced in 2014 and said hello to the 21st century by making the test completely computer-based, but it also came with a nearly 90% drop in the number of people who passed the test. According to NPR, 540,535 test-takers passed the GED in 2013, while only 58,524 passed in 2014 (note: this number doesn’t account for incarcerated test-takers or people taking alternative tests).

Shmoop, an online test prep provider that aims to make learning fun, put its math elves to work and came up with the following conclusion about those numbers: not good.

Why the decline? First, although the exact cost depends on the state, the new test is more expensive to take. Second, the computer-based exam may be less accessible to some test-takers. (Sorry, No. 2 pencils. It was nice while it lasted.) Finally, the fact that the new test is aligned to the Common Core and includes technology-enhanced items means that it’s just flat-out harder.

Shmoop offers a comprehensive, engaging, and totally updated guide to the new GED that features in-depth topic review for Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. Shmoop’s product also includes diagnostic exams, two full-length practice exams, and practice questions galore that include video answer explanations for visual learners. To top it off, technology-enhanced items allow test-takers to become familiar with those newfangled drag-and-drop and drop-down questions. And, to be sure that the material is accessible to everyone, Shmoop offers review in Spanish as well.

It won’t be easy to bounce back from the dramatic drop in pass rates, but Shmoop is optimistic that its accessible and engaging materials can help lead the way.

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching resources. Shmoop content is written by experts and teachers, who collaborate to create high-quality and engaging materials for teachers and students. Shmoop Courses, Test Prep, Teaching Guides, and Learning Guides balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous concepts. Shmoop sees 10 million unique visitors a month on its site and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” twice by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES) three years in a row. Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED Testing Service LLC under license. This material is not endorsed or approved by ACE or GED Testing Service.

7 Things That Are Less Fun Than Taking the SAT

Hi there, Shmoopers!

We know, we know. Test day is the worst. But reality check: it could be way worse. While you prepare to take the SAT® this Saturday, here’s a list to help you keep your chin up.

7 Things That Are Less Fun Than Taking the SAT

1. Working in an early-1900s slaughterhouse

Seriously, even a summary of the details is enough to make you squeamish.

2. Digging holes all day, every day

We’re exhausted just reading about it.

3. Reading Clarissa from beginning to end

It might be worth it in the end, but imagine trying to read this doorstop in one sitting.

4. Solving 274939247 ÷ 359809 by hand

No, really—without a calculator. The SAT Math section is looking a bit better now, huh?

5. Hearing the dentist say, “Oops!”

Ouch. And when Dr. Dentist has all those sharp tools in your mouth, don’t even think about asking what happened.

6. Having a day as bad as Alexander’s

Gum in your hair, a cavity, and nothing good on TV? Way worse than a four-hour test.

7. Finding out that your wife is actually your mother

Oof. At least he didn’t kill his dad or something, too…oh wait.

Feeling better about taking the SAT yet? If you need a little more preparation before the test, head on over to our SAT Exam Prep resources here.

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Quote of the Week

“I think I’ll move to Australia.”

~ Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Things won’t be better Down Under. Might as well just stay put.

*SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

Register for Shmoop and Win a $25 Amazon.com Gift Card

Hey Shmoopers!

Every month between January and June of 2015, Shmoop will be giving one lucky new Shmoop registrant a $25 Amazon.com gift card.

Here are the deets:

1. Register for a new Shmoop account between January and June of 2015.

2. Your name will automatically be in the running for a monthly drawing. Each month’s winner will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon. (We’d spend it on books, but if you’re more into dehumidifiers or whatever, that’s your call.)

3. We will announce the winner (no last names, we promise!) in our newsletter and send a personal email with the gift card.

4. See our legal mumbo jumbo if you have any concerns or email support@shmoop.com with any questions.

Team Shmoop

Shmoop Launches Two New Tools to Help Students Get in to the College of Their Dreams

Shmoop’s College Planning Tool and Resume Builder allow students to find the right colleges and prepare their application materials so they can end up where they want to be: at their dream college and ready to land their ideal job.

college planning tool image

There’s no secret formula for students to get in to their dream college, but Shmoop, a digital publishing company that aims to make learning fun, comes close. An entire section of Shmoop (http://www.shmoop.com), called College 101, is devoted to providing honest and insightful information to prospective college students, all the way from defining their interests and choosing colleges to preparing the application and finding financial aid.

And now Shmoop has two new tools to make the process even more seamless.

Shmoop’s College Planning Tool asks students a series of questions: Do they want to be Division I athletes? Are they city or country folk? Have they already sold their first startup? And of course, what are their SAT® and ACT® scores? Based on their interests, test scores, and general financial outlook, Shmoop then compiles a personalized list of safety, target, and reach schools. Shmoop also provides cost-effectiveness ratings of these schools to be sure everyone gets the best bang for their buck. Students can then learn more about each school…all within the confines of Shmoop.

Once they’ve chosen which schools they’ll apply to, students will need to prepare killer applications. Shmoop already offers a College Application Essay Lab and dozens of articles about the application process—and now it will help students build their resumes, too. Shmoop’s new Resume Redux is like Mad Libs™ for resumes: students fill in the blanks, and Shmoop spits out a fancy, formatted resume.

With all these tools combined, students who Shmoop are guaranteed* to be accepted by the colleges—and jobs—of their dreams. (*Guarantee not guaranteed.)

ACT a federally registered trademark of ACT, Inc. Shmoop University is not affiliated with or endorsed by ACT, Inc.
SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

8 New Year’s Resolutions that Would Have Changed Everything

Happy 2015, Shmoopers!

It’s only been a week, and we’re already feeling the pressure of our New Year’s resolutions. So instead of dwelling on our very real and very hard-to-stick-to goals for 2015, we’ve decided to travel to the world of the imaginary.

We’ve come up with a list of New Year’s resolutions that some of our favorite literary characters probably should have made. Sure, these resolutions would have changed the endings…but the stories would’ve been a lot less bleak.

8 New Year’s Resolutions that
Would Have Changed Everything


1. J. Alfred Prufrock
“This year, I resolve to suck it up and just eat the peach.”

2. Winston Smith
“This is the year I conquer my fear of rats.”

3. Captain Ahab
“I vow to get past that whole white whale hang-up I have.”

4. Ethan Frome
“This is the year I move to California.”

5. Meursault 
Cette année: no shooting people on the beach.”

6. Jay Gatsby
“I’ve spent way too many years hung up on Daisy. It’s time to move on.”

7. Winnie-the-Pooh
“Oh bother. I guess this year I’ll try not to stick my head in so many small spaces.”

8. Victor Frankenstein
“This is the year I put aside my passion for science and read a few books instead.”

Can you think of other New Year’s resolutions that would have changed everything? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ShmoopYear.


Quote of the Week

“Some show a smile and some a frown;
Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
Old weary year! it’s time to go.”

~ Robert Service, The Passing of the Year

New resolution: read more poetry.

Shmoop Launches College Profiles and College Majors Outlooks, With a Twist

Shmoop’s new guides to colleges and majors give high school and college students the information they need to make educated decisions about their educational futures.

Every college has its own personality, and Shmoop is here to shine the light on what each school is really like. Shmoop (http://www.shmoop.com), a digital publishing company that aims to make learning fun, has launched college profiles with acceptance stats, student body information, and more for top schools across the nation. But there’s a twist: each profile, written by students and alumni of the school, is narrated from the point-of-view of the school itself—picture OK State on OkCupid.

Shmoop’s college profiles tell students all they need to know to choose the right school, from the average SAT® scores of accepted students to the hottest hangout spots on campus. Dig Birkenstocks and environmental ed? Better head to Brown. Excel at almost everything? Princeton might be the right choice. Also included are stats on admitted students, and most importantly, the ruling on which Harry Potter house each school belongs in.

Once students have made it to their dream school, they can use Shmoop’s descriptions and outlooks for various college majors. This information will help them hone their academic interests and give them a look into the crystal ball of the future. Hankering to major in finance? There might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Want to become a therapist? Expect a rich…internal life. Shmoop gives students the lowdown on what classes they’ll take in each major, but they don’t stop there. They provide students with careful insight about how those classes will affect their future.

With Shmoop’s new sections on College Profiles and College Majors, students are bound to find success—and a few laughs.

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching resources. Shmoop content is written by experts and teachers, who collaborate to create high-quality and engaging materials for teachers and students. Shmoop Courses, Test Prep, Teaching Guides, and Learning Guides balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous concepts. Shmoop sees 10 million unique visitors a month on its site and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” twice by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES) three years in a row. Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product.

Shmoop Goes Global to the Max with SAT® and ACT® Test Prep Materials in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish

Shmoop has translated its SAT® and ACT® prep into four languages, making it easy for international students and English Language Learners to ace the exam and get into the college of their dreams.

Juniors and seniors returning to the classroom this fall already have one eye on the university of their dreams, and Shmoop (http://www.shmoop.com) is ready to help get them there.

Shmoop University, Inc., a digital curriculum company that aims to make learning fun and accessible, has SAT® and ACT® test prep materials for 2014-2015 that are sure to impress students, teachers, and parents alike. Far more affordable than an in-person tutor but just as personal, Shmoop’s SAT® and ACT® prep products include practice exams and drills, vocabulary flashcards, humorous and informative explanations of even the driest math concepts, and much more.

And these products aren’t available just in English. Now Shmoop offers SAT® and ACT® test prep in Arabic, Chinese, and Korean, in addition to Spanish. Students and parents can purchase Shmoop in multiple languages, while schools and districts are eligible for group discounts. Of course, students still have to take the exams in English, so Shmoop presents example reading passages and test questions in English. But explanations of answers to sample test questions along with additional review sections are offered in students’ native tongues. This way, they can quickly figure out what they got wrong on their practice tests and be ready to take home a perfect score on the real thing. Then they’re just an application essay (or four) away from the Ivy League.

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Offering multilingual test prep materials isn’t the only way Shmoop is going global, either. Shmoopers can now enjoy test prep videos with Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish subtitles. Soon to come are literature learning guides in more languages, Common Core Standards and explanations of the Standards in Spanish, and career planning information in Spanish. Shmoop welcomes new users from across the globe—and English Language Learners here at home—into its e-learning community.

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching resources. Shmoop content is written by experts and teachers, who collaborate to create high-quality and engaging materials for teachers and students. Shmoop Courses, Test Prep, Teaching Guides, and Learning Guides balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous concepts. Shmoop sees 10 million unique visitors a month on its site and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” twice by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES) three years in a row. Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product.
ACT is a federally registered trademark of ACT, Inc. Shmoop University is not affiliated with or endorsed by ACT, Inc.