SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Courtney Montgomery

Courtney scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. She is passionate about bringing education and the tools to succeed to students from all backgrounds and walks of life, as she believes open education is one of the great societal equalizers. She has years of tutoring experience and writes creative works in her free time.

Recent Posts

The Ultimate SAT Math Prep Guide: Tips, Formulas, and Practice

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Mar 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

SAT Math

The SAT math section is entirely trainable, so the more you understand how it works, the better you will be able to perform on test day. And we are here to give you absolutely everything you'll need to master SAT math. 

This is the best, most comprehensive guide for SAT math prep available. 

We have scoured all the research and resources we could find and put them together here for your perusal. So if you're dedicated to doing your best on the SAT and you're ready to commit your time and energy to improving your score, then this is the place for you. (And best of all, it's entirely free!)

This guide will serve as a directory for all the SAT math information and guides we've written. We'll start by giving a few comparisons between the SAT and the ACT math section for any of you still on the fence. Next we'll go through the math section at the high level and give you access to free SAT tests and practice problems. Afterward, we'll dive into the larger SAT tips you'll need for the test, before getting into individual topic guides you'll need to know.

With that said, it's a good idea to go through each guide we've linked roughly in order, at least for the first time. You can then come back to any of the guides you need in order to give yourself a refresher.

So let's dive in!

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The Easy Guide to the 30-60-90 Triangle

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Sep 28, 2016 6:02:00 PM

Acute, obtuse, isosceles, equilateral….When it comes to triangles, there are many different varieties, but only a choice few that are “special.” These special triangles have sides and angles which are consistent and predictable and can be used to shortcut your way through your geometry or trigonometry problems. And a 30-60-90 triangle—pronounced “thirty sixty ninety”—happens to be a very special type of triangle indeed.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what a 30-60-90 triangle is, why it works, and when (and how) to use your knowledge of it. So let’s get to it!

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Is C the Most Common Answer on the SAT?

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 13, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies

No doubt you’ve heard one piece of advice more than any other when it comes to test-taking: “If you need to guess on a multiple choice test, always pick C.”

But is the popularity of this strategy an indication of its efficacy? Do you have a better chance at gaining points if you guess C on your SAT questions in comparison to any other guessing strategy? And if not, what can you do to improve your odds when guessing?

Let’s look at the facts.

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The Secret to ACT Math: Mastering the Time Crunch

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jul 30, 2016 9:00:00 AM

ACT Math

The ACT is a complex test that requires both an understanding of how the test works and a strategic approach to beat. The more you know about the secrets of each section, the better you'll be at maximizing your overall point-gain and getting the scores you want. And today we're here to walk you through how to do your very best on the ACT math section.

Each subject section requires its own unique approach, and the ACT math section can give even some of the highest math achievers a run for their money. But luckily we’re here to help! We'll take you through the most important strategy you’ll need to know and teach you how to conquer the ACT math section once and for all.

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Complete List of 100+ Free Online High Schools

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jul 22, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Coursework/GPA

Online high schools can be a way for students to take high school classes and graduate at their own pace, without having to adhere to strict schedules and the distractions of a traditional school. So if you feel that an in-person school isn't right for you for whatever reason, an online school might be the perfect fit. 

We’ll give you a list of all the (tuition free!) online high schools available in the United States, as well as how they work, and how and why an online high school could be right for you. So let's get started!

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How to Study Better in High School: 16 Expert Tips

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jun 25, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Coursework/GPA

Studying is about finding a right balance between concentration, understanding, retention, and rest. And, just like any task that taxes your energy—be it physical or mental—it is often just as difficult to get started as it is to engage in the task itself. 

But don't despair! Whether you need to study for just one test, or want to learn how to study over the long haul and retain a whole term's worth of information, we've got you covered. We’ll explain exactly how to study better, helping you revamp both your daily and long-term study habits and giving you the best study tips for managing your time and keeping your focus as you actually study. 

And, once you've mastered these study techniques, we’ll also show you how to prepare yourself for test day so you can do your very best when the chips are down. So let’s get to it!

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How to Improve Reading Comprehension: 8 Expert Tips

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jun 25, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Coursework/GPA

Reading is a skill many people take for granted, but the act of reading and properly comprehending a text is a complex and interactive process. It requires several different brain functions to work together and most often requires one to puzzle through multiple layers of context and meaning. 

Because reading comprehension is so complicated, we can often find ourselves understanding the most basic interpretation of a text, but missing the emotional core or the “big picture.” Or we might just find our brains spinning with no clue at all as to what a text is attempting to convey.

But luckily for everyone who struggles in English classes, on standardized tests, or in daily life, reading comprehension can be improved upon (and it’s never too late to start!). In this guide, I explain step-by-step how to improve reading comprehension over time and offer tips for boosting your understanding as you read.

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Most Common Answer on the ACT: Guess C?

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jun 10, 2016 9:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies

Everyone knows that, when guessing on a multiple choice test, the best answer to choose is C...right? A friend of a friend swears by it, it’s served you well in the past (probably?), and it’s become such a commonly known “fact,” such and undisputed strategy, that you may feel as if you were born knowing it—”when it doubt, pick C and move on.”

But does this time honored tradition of picking C when in doubt actually work on the ACT? And if not, what can you do to improve your odds when guessing? Let’s look at the facts.

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Polynomials on ACT Math: Complete Guide and Practice

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jan 9, 2016 2:00:00 PM

ACT Math

Polynomial problems will show up in some way, shape, or form on the ACT two or three times per test. And since polynomials are so deeply connected to other ACT math topics, like operations and functions, it’s even more important to take the time to understand them before test day.

Luckily, you probably know a lot more about polynomials than you think, and if you’re currently rusty on the subject, just a little review will have you knocking out your polynomial questions left and right.

This will be your complete guide to polynomials on the ACTwhat they are, how you’ll see them on the test, and the best way to solve your polynomial problems before time is up.

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Coordinate Geometry on ACT Math: Strategies and Practice

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Dec 5, 2015 4:00:00 PM

ACT Math

Coordinate geometry is a big focus on the ACT math section, and you’ll need to know its many facets in order to tackle the variety of coordinate geometry questions you’ll see on the test. Luckily, coordinate geometry is not difficult to visualize or wrap your head around once you know the basics. And we are here to walk you through them.

There will usually be 3 questions on any given ACT that involve points alone, and another 2-3 questions that will involve lines and slopes and/or rotations, reflections, or translations. These topics are tested by about 10% of your ACT math questions, so it is a good idea to understand the ins and outs of coordinate geometry before you tackle the test.

This article will be your complete guide to points and the building blocks for coordinate geometry: I will explain how to find and manipulate points, distances, and midpoints, and give you strategies for solving these types of questions on the ACT.

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The Ultimate ACT Math Prep Guide: Strategies, Topics, and Tips

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Dec 4, 2015 8:00:00 AM

ACT Math

We at PrepScholar believe in providing you with the best quality ACT study material ever. And we have put together the best guide for your ACT math prep here, all of it available for free. 

This is the best, most comprehensive guide to the ACT math section available. 

We compiled all of our ACT math guides and brought them together in one place. The path the mastering the ACT is challenging, but if you're dedicated to doing your best on the ACT and you're ready to commit your time and energy to improving your score, then our guides are here to help you reach your greatest potential. 

This ultimate  guide will break down what you need by first comparing the ACT and SAT math sections so that any of you still on the fence can make the best decision about which test is right for you. Next we'll go through the ACT math section at a high level, so you know what to expect from the test, point you towards the best free ACT tests and math practice problems. Afterwards, we'll dive into the more general ACT tips you'll need for the test, and finally list the individual math topics you'll need to know.

It's a good idea to go through each guide we've linked roughly in order, at least for the first time. Afterwards, you can come back to any of the guides you need, in order to give yourself a refresher.

Let's dive in!

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How You Can Take Advantage of ACT Math Question Order

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 23, 2015 9:00:00 AM

ACT Math

 

Understanding how to do your best on the ACT math section means understanding how the math section is structured and where you can get the most points for your time and energy.

We’ll walk you through how each ACT math section is organized and how you can use this information to your benefit, both in your studies and as you take your official ACTs.

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ACT Math Word Problems: The Ultimate Guide

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 22, 2015 2:30:00 PM

ACT Math

Though the majority of ACT math problems use diagrams or simply ask you to solve given mathematical equations, you will also see approximately 15-18 word problems on any given ACT (between 25% and 30% of the total math section). This means that knowing how best to deal with word problems will help you significantly when taking the test. Though there are many different types of ACT word problems, most of them are not nearly as difficult or cumbersome as they may appear. 

This post will be your complete guide to ACT word problems: how to translate your word problems into equations and diagrams, the different types of word problems you’ll see on the test, and how best to go about solving your word problems for test day.

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The Complete Guide to Conic Sections on ACT Math

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 22, 2015 1:30:00 PM

ACT Math

You will usually see one conic section question (though no more than one) on any given ACT, but just what is a conic section and how do you solve it? Luckily for us, though conic section questions are rare, they are generally straightforward and can get you an easy point if you take a few minutes to study them.

This will be your complete guide to conic sectionswhat they are, how you’ll see them on the test, and the best way to approach these types of ACT math questions.

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Inequalities on ACT Math: Strategies and Practice

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 22, 2015 12:00:00 PM

ACT Math

Inequality questions come in a variety of shapes and forms on the ACT, but, no matter their form, you will see approximately three inequality questions on any given test. This means that inequality questions make up 5% of your overall ACT math test. Now 5% of your test might not sound like a lot, but with only a quick brush-up on inequalities, that’s an additional 5% of your questions that you’re bound to rock!

This will be your complete guide to inequalities on the ACT: what they are, the different types of ACT math problems on inequalities, and how to solve them.

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