Boston-based Testive, an SAT test prep site, took a bold step this week in a bid to take on the established multi-million dollar test preparation industry.
The company announced it will make its test prep platform free for users until the SAT on June 7. However, if Testive users answer 5 million test prep questions on the site by the June SAT date, the company will make its platform free and “fully unlocked” to users, “forever.”
By the time of this article’s publication, more than 3 million adaptive practice questions had already been answered.
Testive has more than 1,500 practice questions and 600 videos, as well as free weekly classes (taught by founder Tom Rose) to help students prepare for the SATs. Students had to pay for monthly software packages or a $129 subscription to unlock daily questions.
The company is also taking the step of upgrading all of its 90,000 personalized user accounts, no longer requiring the $129 fee and refunding the students who are currently paying for the software packages.
The move to win the market by offering a cheaper product than the incumbent powerhouses is similar to the one made by another local ed tech company, Boundless Learning. Boundless took on the giant college textbook industry by offering affordably priced alternatives, built from Creative Commons content.
The company acknowledges on its site that it is pre-empting a move by Khan Academy and the College Board, which will both be publishing a free SAT platform next year. But no doubt, Testive’s move could also shake up an industry long dominated by Kaplan and The Princeton Review.
Testive eventually plans to create a platform for other tests including the GRE, the LSAT, and more, and said it will continue to make money through the personal SAT coaching service on its website.
As Testive’s announcement of the switch to a free model said, “We believe that high quality, personalized learning experiences should be open and free for everyone in the world.”
The company was part of the Techstars Boston class of 2012, and has raised $500,000 from investors including Dharmesh Shah, Jean Hammond, and Bill Warner.