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- Shmoop is an online education provider that offers guides and online classes across a wide range of subjects from math to literature. They also have resources and courses for teachers
- Its content is clear, informative, and presented with a distinctive style that encourages rather than intimidates students.
- You can take advantage of its high-quality free learning guides, or pay a little extra each month to get unlimited access to premium materials like test prep guides, which help boost confidence and scores, and online classes, which may fulfill college admissions requirements or be transferred to college credit.
From classes that coach you through the dreadful job searching process to the courses that the country's best universities offer in their hallowed halls, you can learn just about anything online today. Your only job is to figure out which platform offers what you need, in a style and at a price point that you like.
For high schoolers and college students — current and aspiring — who are looking for affordable options, Shmoop is one of their best bets.
Shmoop offers a large library of free and premium educational content, including in-depth learning guides for a variety of subjects, test preparation guides, and credit-eligible online courses. Teachers and homeschoolers will also find the content useful since it includes teaching guides and homeschooling lesson plans.
Since 2009, the site has been drawing in students of all ages and levels (including myself) with its friendly and, at times, cheeky teaching style. Its casual, approachable voice and real-world references make you feel like you're learning from a friend, not an impersonal, intimidating textbook — a strategy that proves to be remarkably effective. When you're already feeling stressed and pressured to attain certain grades or scores, the last thing you want is boring or convoluted content holding you back.
Interested in more e-learning opportunities?
- 54 free online courses from the best colleges in the US — including Princeton, Harvard, and Yale
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- 100 online courses from Coursera are $0 now through May 31 — here's a list of all the classes open for free enrollment
Shmoop offers so many resources that the website can be a lot to take in as a first-time visitor. Here, we'll take you through some features you should focus on so you can see whether Shmoop is the right educational website for your needs.
I highly encourage all students to take advantage of Shmoop's free learning guides, which I personally used in both high school and college to help me understand the nuances of Shakespeare, poetry, and US history.
Though my teachers and textbooks presented a respectable amount of information, these guides served as excellent supplements to round out my understanding of the subjects. With their summaries, themes, timelines, analysis, questions, and quizzes, they made things "click" in easily digestible ways that the traditional classroom couldn't seem to accomplish.
These learning guides, which cover a wide range of subjects, from English and literature to college resources and life skills, became indispensable parts of my exam study plans. Having sifted through plenty of free content of dubious quality, I was impressed with Shmoop's top-notch free offerings. However, the free content does include a lot of ads that can sometimes be bothersome.
Access to premium content like test prep guides and online courses requires a paid subscription plan, which can range in price from $14.99 to $87 a month.
Here are the different options both students and teachers can choose from:
- Month-to-month ($14.99/month): Unlimited access to all premium resources except ACE CREDIT recommended courses
- Yearly ($150/year): Unlimited access to all premium resources except ACE CREDIT recommended courses
- College Plus ($87/month): Unlimited access to all premium resources, plus ACE CREDIT recommended courses
Each course starts with a general introduction and what you'll need to know before beginning (required supplies or software, expectations, grading policy). Then, each unit of the course offers readings and activities for you to practice and apply your knowledge. Accompanying study aids like flashcards are also provided. The types of activities will vary; some ask you to fill in text boxes while others may have you upload files of your work.
High schoolers who want to boost their confidence in test-taking and improve their scores on the dreaded AP, ACT, PSAT, SAT, and SAT subject tests will benefit from the intensive test prep programs. Shmoop has more than 30 AP test prep guides containing review topics, drills, videos, and practice exams, seven full-length practice exams and more than 1,000 practice questions for the ACT, and five full-length practice exams and more than 1,000 drill questions and 1,000 vocabulary words for the SAT.
All these resources work alongside a dashboard that motivates students to study by creating to-do lists, awarding points for completing practice exams and drills, and encouraging them to compete against other users to earn more points. Through practice, these standardized tests can be mastered.
If you want to learn something new, work towards college admissions requirements, or earn transferable college credit, take one of Shmoop's many online courses.
They cover important skills like Excel and InDesign that you might want to brush up on before applying to your dream job, are approved by the UC and CSU systems if you want to apply to their schools, and are legitimate alternatives to expensive college classes.
ACE CREDIT recommended courses are affordable, flexible alternatives to traditional college classes, and credits can be transferred to more than 2,000 colleges nationwide. Students must take proctored final exams and earn at least a 70% overall grade in the course in order to qualify for credit.
Shmoop also has excellent resources for teachers, including teaching guides and classroom courses. Their teacher resource videos cover everything from hot-button items to dealing with parents. You can even access full lesson plans complete with quizzes, discussion topics, and activity ideas.
There's much more to explore on the site, including the robust college resources section and homeschool resources center. The types of content introduced above, however, are great places to start for any learner.
You can experience all of Shmoop's offerings with a 24-hour free trial here.
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