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Vocabulary Upgrade

  • iPhone
  • Paid
  • age 16+
Downloadfor iOS

About Vocabulary Upgrade

Vocabulary Upgrade is an app to help students broaden their vocabulary to a level that will assist them in passing the ACT or SAT tests.  It works to associate words with images and so help students remember the words and know when to use them. 

The app is available on iOS devices as a single purchase.  While there is nothing inappropriate for children in the app, it is aimed at students old enough to be preparing for college admissions.

Teacher Review

What we love about Vocabulary Upgrade?

Vocabulary Upgrade has a straightforward purpose that is useful for those with ambitions to get into the best colleges. Its reference section, including a reverse dictionary, is useful and helpfully provides the pronunciation of the words included.  

Videos and animations introduce the words while quizzes test retention and understanding. On a student's phone, it will provide a useful activity that can be used anywhere to broaden their vocabulary to a new level of sophistication.

What skills does it improve?

Vocabulary Upgrade's content reflects its title very well. It provides a wealth of new words with which students can enrich their spoken and written output while also giving them a better understanding of more advanced texts.

There are a total of 150 words and their definitions included in the app alongside the materials to introduce them and their meanings.   

What age is it appropriate for?

Really, anyone who feels that their English vocabulary levels could be improved. This could be for people who want to achieve personal development, those who have learned English as an additional language but want to keep learning, or those for whom it has been designed: prospective college students.

Is Vocabulary Upgrade easy to use?

There should be no problems with general navigation between the different sections of the app although it becomes a little opaque when it comes to choosing subjects within the one section. Actually, playing through the content is straightforward and browsing words and meanings in the lexicon section is easy. 

How will students benefit?

Students often lead busy lives and the convenience of having this app on their mobile device will help them to fit studying around their other activities. It is quick and easy to pick up and put down whenever they have a few spare minutes.

How will teachers benefit?

The app can have its user data reset easily. In the classroom, this means that teachers can use it again and again with different students, further increasing Vocabulary Upgrade's value. 

The quizzes, where students contemplate words and their meanings, are a useful and quick way for teachers to check students' understanding. They are quite informal in their delivery as they don't lock in students' answers so they do require an honest approach on the part of students.  

How will parents benefit?

Parents face many demands on their money when they are trying to support their children's education. Vocabulary Upgrade is a useful app that will have tangible benefits for students, won't break the bank, and might make a difference in their ACT/SAT performance.

What Vocabulary Upgrade can improve on?

Vocabulary Upgrade uses a musical keyboard as the menu for the exercises. The black and white keys work to divide the quizzes from the animation/video exercises, but this comes at the expense of knowing which exercise you are choosing. Further confusion results from making the ninth key reverse the colours, which seems a pointless feature, and the eighth key accesses the reverse lexicon. It all feels a bit overdesigned at the expense of clarity.

The animations and videos don't always hit the mark in polish. Some videos scale strangely as they progress and some of the graphical elements are rather roughly rendered on screen. This only applies to a few of them, though, and does not negate their purpose.

The device upon which you use the app will influence how you feel about the app's presentation. It is designed for the iPhone and looks fine there. 

The app is not designed for the iPad but sometimes people like to use apps across devices. It will work on the iPad, where it defaults to a phone-sized display. A button press causes the app to toggle between stretching or not to fill the screen. It is unusual to see an app nowadays that does not natively work on an iPad but Vocabulary Upgrade makes no claims to do so, so it is not a criticism, just something of which to be aware.

How much does Vocabulary Upgrade cost?

There is no trial version of Vocabulary Upgrade but it is available for a low cost - cheaper than a book with comparable content. It is not a subscription so the app can live on the user's device for as long as they require it.

Is Vocabulary Upgrade safe to use?

It is unlikely that young children would be ready to use this app but they would not find anything inappropriate if they did. There are no advertisements or social-media functionality.

Overall rating of the app

Vocabulary Upgrade app has some slight issues with its presentation but nothing that gets in the way of its aims. It provides an effective way of learning, practising, and revising the words needed for a college test. It comes at a low, one-off price, too, which is becoming a rarity. The array of content and its presentation places it favourably, price-wise, against comparable books and apps so this app has achieved 4 stars in its review.

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App Details

Teacher Ratings

Devices

iPhone

Category

Skills

Communication Skills

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No

Publisher

Global Vocabulary LLC

Download Vocabulary Upgrade

Downloadfor iOS

Screenshots for Vocabulary Upgrade

  • Vocabulary UpgradeVocabulary UpgradeVocabulary UpgradeVocabulary UpgradeVocabulary UpgradeVocabulary Upgrade

Description

FEATURES

* Patented associative method
* Engaging videos and animations
* 80 frequently tested words + 70 frequently tested synonyms
* 10 Same or Different quizzes
* User Guide, Lexicon, Reverse Dictionary
* In Other Words, Idiomatic Phrases Challenges
* Audio word pronunciation
* Restart for multiple users—unlimited use
* No in app purchases—YOU OWN IT

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