Test prep is big business, especially in the ed tech space.
According to George Burgess, the 23-year-old creator of Gojimo, families worldwide spend $100 billion a year on books, classes, tutoring, and other resources in an effort to outdo their peers on standardized tests like the SAT, SAT subject tests, ACT, and AP exams.
Burgess wants to provide digital solutions that are more convenient, cost-effective, and flexible than any other resources available — most of which are in print.
Gojimo launched in 2009 as EducationApps, which then in partnership with the BBC and Pearson spun off to become BBC Bitesize. In January 2014, however, after attracting several investors, Burgess collected the content available on his various platforms and rebranded it in an effort to extend its reach beyond the U.K.
Gojimo is an iOS and Android app and website geared toward quizzing students with material that might appear on any number of standardized tests (plus some things that might show up on undergraduate quizzes and exams). Since the app’s June 2015 update, it’s boasted more than 160,000 quiz questions with rich and detailed answers, many of which are sourced from test-prep books published by companies like McGraw-Hill and Oxford University Press. Those questions that didn’t originate in print are generated and fact-checked by in-house education experts (most of whom are grad students and teachers).
The app is free to download and try out, but full quizzes and practice SATs cost money. Quiz packs will set users back between five and 10 dollars, while practice exams may cost up to 15 dollars. The quizzes tend to present around 20 to 30 questions, and users can answer seven or so questions before they have to pay.
With more than half a million downloads in its two-year existence, most users are presumably high schoolers looking for review and study help. The app covers typical content taught to American, Chinese, Irish, South African, and British students. The U.S. material is extensive — nursing exams, the ASVAB (an exam given to students enlisting in the Armed Forces), the SAT (plus subject tests), the ACT, the SHSAT, the range of AP exams, the SSAT and ISEE, and more. It also hosts quizzes on college subjects like biology, chemistry, marketing, politics, and international relations, to name a few.
First of all, the design is really sharp. It’s a good-looking app with functionality to match.
As soon as you open the program and complete a very brief tutorial, you’re granted access to dozens of quizzes. They’re short and focus on highly specific topics; you can complete a quiz in a few minutes and get feedback very quickly. You can also “star” certain subjects, and the app will notify you when new quizzes in those areas are added. As you take more and more quizzes, you can also take advantage of the “progress report” feature, which charts your performance on a graph and calculates your average score in different subjects.
Another thing that makes the app so convenient is that once you download a set of quizzes, it’s saved to your phone (or tablet or computer), so you don’t need cellular or wireless Internet service to access it. Another bonus is that, as long as you’re logged in, your quizzes and progress will sync across any device, mobile or otherwise.
George Burgess (who reportedly started working on Gojimo while sitting in a high school geography class) has made no secret of the fact that he’s shooting to disrupt the test-prep publishing industry. Last month, Gojimo was shortlisted for the FutureBook BookTech 2015 Company of the Year award. He’s inked deals with some presses to offer users the opportunity to buy supplementary materials like e-books through the app, but he blames slow-moving publishing companies for not being responsive enough to the ever-evolving demands of a young, tech-savvy user base.
Outcomes associated with using Gojimo aren’t available to the public, but Burgess points to his four-star review in the Apple App Store and claims that a “statistical analysis on our data” has indicated “that in the vast majority of cases, students’ scores are increasing over time.”
Whether or not Gojimo will continue to expand its offerings is unclear at this time, but it currently provides a wide range of materials to students at no cost — and access to even more if you’re willing and able to pay.
Check out the Noodle App of the Month for November 2015, Bedtime Math, an enrichment app that aims to build structured, math-based conversation into families’ home lives.
If you’re interested in Gojimo, you might be looking for a college that fits your needs. Try out the Noodle college search, which lets you filter results by location, majors, and more, to find the best match for you.
Maybe you’re not quite there yet and you’d like to find a tutor. The Noodle tutor search is here to help.
Noodle has no ties to or affiliations with Gojimo.