Originally published May 2, 2020
Updated and migrated August 29, 2020
Whether you are a student or parent, access to academic resources to enhance the at-home learning process is invaluable during the strange and difficult time of the COVID-19 outbreak. For most students and teachers, however, knowing where to find useful resources is the primary challenge. To address this, we at Robin’s Nest have compiled a list of free online resources to ensure that every family is able to make the best of a demanding situation. We hope that every Robin’s Nest family is able to make use of these resources and we would love to hear from you if this article helps you, if you need help finding resources, or if you have other access resources you’d like to share.
All grade levels (grades K-12)
STAAR released test questions
Students around Texas are required to take State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness in all core subject areas. However, many of these students and their parents are unaware that officially released full-length STAAR exams and answer keys for all subjects, and sample questions for most subjects, are accessible online—these exams and questions can be used for practice at home and can help to ensure that students end the 2020-2021 school year having met the standard upheld by the Texas Education Agency. These exams and questions are available in English as well as Spanish.
Khan Academy is usable for just about all age groups and all subjects; it is among the most well-known educational enrichment services available online for free. It provides multiple-choice questions and videos to explain concepts in math, science, computing, and arts and humanities. Additionally, Khan Academy can be used for AP and SAT preparation and can create personalized SAT study plans by connecting to students’ College Board accounts.
High school (grades 9-12)
5 Steps to a 5 series
To help students across the country prepare for online administrations of AP exams, McGraw-Hill has provided free access to its 5 Steps to a 5 series of AP preparation and review books for most AP subjects. These are useful resources for all AP students looking to gain college credit for performing well on these challenging exams.
For most AP subjects, past free-response questions are available free of charge from the College Board website; these questions can be used to effectively study relevant AP material and recognize how concepts are tested. To access these past questions, open the above link and select the relevant course; then click “The Exam” (at the top of the screen) and scroll down to click “past exam questions” (depending on the particular subject, this may be labelled “Practice Free Response Questions” or similarly). If none or a few questions are on this site, feel free to contact us and we can do our best to help you find resources elsewhere.
Because the SAT and PSAT/NMSQT are nearly identical in content and only vary slightly from one another in time limit, number of questions, and the optional SAT essay section, SAT resources can be used to effectively study for the PSAT/NMSQT and vice versa.
10 Official SAT practice/released tests
For many students, taking practice tests is an efficient way to improve on the SAT. While practice tests should supplement rather than replace dedicated study, the ten full-length practice tests accessible for free online are invaluable resources that can be used in their entireties (if a student wishes to gauge his/her current score or work on adapting to the time limit) or in parts (if a student wishes to improve on one or a few specific sections). These same ten official tests can be taken on Khan Academy, which can tailor its personalized study plan to your performance on each section.
1600.io free course bundle
1600.io is an SAT video-instruction service. Though full access is paid, students can create an account to enroll in a course bundle containing a strategy course, a tools and resources course, and in-depth video analyses of all questions and their respective answers from official SAT practice tests 1-4 (linked above). This can be especially useful for a student wondering how to approach particular questions; because question formats are repeated across SAT administrations, learning question formats in tests 1-4 is invaluable and applicable to official administrations.
To make the most of these useful SAT resources, students can take a timed, full-length practice test from official tests 1-4 (at the above link or on Khan Academy), then score it and review all missed and confusing questions in 1600.io and/or Khan Academy.
From numerous colleges renowned for their excellent educational programs come edX and Coursera, online services aimed at students that cover a wide range of subjects. edX and Coursera courses are taught by accredited college professors who are well-versed in their areas in their fields. There are lectures, readings, and discussions, and many more activities benefiting the learner with the experience of professionals seeking to help others master course content. While these tools are free, sites that are supported by prestigious universities may sometimes have time limits, deadlines, or upgraded versions that require payment. However, most of the information is completely free of charge and can open students up to a new world of higher education.
Have any questions or resources to share with Robin’s Nest?
We at Robin’s Nest are always happy to help! Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you might have or find more relevant resources to suit your individual needs. If you have access to academic resources you wish to share with us, send us an email and we’ll work to keep our list updated.
Thanks for reading!
This post was written and later updated and migrated to the current website by Aetizaz Sameer and Kate Kim, co-head writers at Robin’s Nest.