[App Fridays] Amazon Academy heats up edtech's test prep segment; hits half a million downloads in beta
Amazon’s edtech play in India isn’t new, but certainly new-looking.
About a fortnight ago, the tech giant rebranded its year-old JEE Ready app to Amazon Academy. The latter is still in beta — available in the ‘Early Access’ section of Google Play Store — but has already crossed 500,000 downloads.
Most importantly, it got people talking.
While Amazon did not make a splash about the rebranding exercise, it is possible that JEE Ready became Amazon Academy to improve recognition and recall for customers. After all, few things stick like the Amazon branding.
Amazon Academy comes with a more intuitive user interface, is packed with additional features, and offers a significantly improved user experience.
“All content is currently available for free, and will continue to be for the next few months,” according to the app listing on Play Store.
What Amazon Academy offers
The app is targeted at IIT-JEE aspirants preparing for entrance exams. It offers expansive mock tests, question banks, practice questions, solved test papers from previous years, and daily tips and tricks.
There are 10,000 practice questions covering the entire JEE Syllabus, along with hints and step-by-step solutions for Physics, Chemistry, and Maths.
Class 11 and Class 12 students can choose from the All India Mock Test series. These chapter-wise tests are vetted by domain experts for quality, difficulty, and freshness. Students have the option to pause tests and resume from where they left.
They can also filter questions by difficulty level (easy, medium, and hard), and know their all-India JEE rank to compare their performance with fellow JEE aspirants.
Besides the tests and question banks, the app provides expert-curated daily exam tips, subject-wise shortcuts and mnemonics that will help students remember, improve their problem-solving speed, and be better prepared.
Amazon Academy is focused on helping students optimise their time and skill, and work on areas that need improvement.
“Whether you are enrolled at a coaching institute or prefer self-study, the app will allow you to assess, track and improve your test performance,” the app listing states.
Users can track their progress through personalised reports and rich analytics that let them check their subject-wise preparedness. Besides JEE, Amazon Academy is also useful for BITSAT, VITEEE, SRMJEEE, and MET aspirants.
Verdict: Good start, but can be better
With Academy, Amazon has forayed into test prep, which is the most happening segment of edtech today. CRISIL estimates that it would be a Rs 70,200 crore industry by 2021, more than doubling over the last five years.
Given India’s obsession with engineering, JEE is never going out of fashion.
Add to that the pandemic-induced boost for online learning, with physical IIT-JEE coaching centres closing, Amazon has chosen its playground well.
At present, Amazon Academy is focused on helping students retain concepts smartly and track their performance. However, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to critical components like doubt-solving, video lectures, etc. Many rival test prep apps have a significant edge over Amazon in these areas.
Also, Amazon Academy’s library of solved test papers — a huge draw for engineering aspirants both online and offline — is flimsy right now, spanning just two years. Surely, one could expect a ramp-up when it comes out of beta.
The good part is that all content is free, and that should be a big pull for students in an increasingly commoditised and subscription-led edtech market.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai