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Review CornerSoftware
Math Advantage 2002
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
Serious students will benefit from this suite of software titles that offers well-organized tutorials and practice tests in math subjects ranging from pre-Algebra to Calculus and Statistics. The set helps boost confidence as students work through self-correcting, pressure-free tests and learn math skills at their own pace.
Ages: 11 and up   Subject: Math/Logic   Brand: Encore
Review Sections: Product Overview  Technically Speaking  Skills Covered  Educational Value  Entertainment Value  Design  Replayability  Dollar Value
image Product Overview
The nine CD-ROMs of this latest version of Math Advantage offer math tutorials, examples, and practice tests for 10 core math subjects. Lessons are read aloud, incorporate visual aids, and provide plenty of opportunity for students to participate as they learn. Math Advantage 2002 is not designed to include the bells and whistles of fancy animations or other distractions. Instead, it is a well-organized, focused, and highly instructive tool for getting ahead in mathematics.

The first seven CD-ROMS–Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus & Calculus, and Statistics–are each presented in a similar format. Students can choose to view and participate in a program's set of tutorials, working through the various chapters and sections at their own pace. Practice questions and interactive lessons that allow students to try problems out for themselves can be found in these valuable sections. When more in-depth work with important concepts is desired, users can choose to work through problems one step at a time, or practice putting their own figures and values into problems in the Interactive Zone. Chapter quizzes generally consist of 10 multiple-choice problems that are randomly generated based upon material from the entire chapter. Reference sections that define terms and list formulas are easy to access.

An examination consisting of 20 randomly generated problems is offered on each CD. These tests are automatically graded and step-by-step solutions are available for both correct and incorrect answers. For those students who feel they have mastered the featured subject and want to challenge themselves further, a Genius Corner option generates an examination with advanced material.

Only after students have completed the examination with at least "good" results can they play the CD-ROM's bonus game. Some students will enjoy taking on the challenge of opening up the game room for a feeling of accomplishment or, at the very least, to see how the games play. However, the games themselves don't stand out as exciting.

Students interested in the history of math will enjoy the tidbits provided on some of the CD-ROMs. Perhaps more relevant are the sections that demonstrate real-world applications of math, such as the importance of calculus in the field of medicine. A Parent/Teacher Corner provides math projects that incorporate concepts learned in the software package in real-world problems.

The last two CD-ROMs review Advanced Placement Calculus and Statistics with plenty of examples, self-testing sections, and helpful video demonstrations. A bonus Infinite Problem Generator will be especially useful for preparing for exams. It generates millions of questions and provides solutions for each.

Students looking for extra help and practice in math will consider this low-priced software package invaluable. Because time limits can be adjusted, detailed solutions to problems are always available, and lessons can be repeated as often as needed, children can increase their understanding of math at their own speed with minimal stress.

Technically Speaking
Minimum system requirements are Windows 95/98/ME, Pentium CPU, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM. Mac users require Power Macintosh or better, System 7.5, 16 MB RAM, and 4X CD-ROM. This program requires 8 MB of hard drive space.

Skills Covered
Math subjects covered by the CDs are: Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Statistics, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics.

Educational Value
This program is useful as a study guide, homework helper, or tutorial experience. Children looking to review, brush up on skills, or prepare for math challenges will benefit from this organized approach. The lack of flashy graphics helps kids stay focused on the task at hand.

Entertainment Value
Game breaks are awarded only after an examination is completed with at least "good" results. These breaks are neatly tucked away so as to be non-intrusive–they are there for those who want to play, and are not forced upon those who don't. In all, this program is for self-motivated students wishing to improve their understanding of core math subjects.

Each CD-ROM in the set is devoted to a specific subject. Users can install each disc individually as needed. The interface is very functional and never frustrating. Plenty of help is available through hints and video demonstrations. Progress tracking is detailed and easy to access. A narrator clearly voices the text in the tutorials, and students can opt to turn narration off, as well.

The content of this software suite spans a wide range of core math subjects and skill levels. Students from sixth grade and up will find material they need to learn in this package that will grow along with their skills.

Dollar Value
This program carries a suggested retail price of approximately $40 US.

Released: 2001
Reviewed: June 2001