SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Dr. Anna Wulick

Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

Recent Posts

The 18 Hardest ACT English Questions Ever

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Aug 13, 2016 8:00:00 AM

ACT English

If you’ve been hard at work studying for the ACT, you’ve mastered the basics of the test. But are you ready to tackle the hardest grammar, punctuation, syntax, and writing logic questions that ACT English will throw at you?

Read this article to try your hand at 18 of the toughest, most confusing challenges ACT English poses. Then check out the detailed explanations of what makes each question tick, how to solve it and others like it, and what to watch out for when faced with similar questions on the real test.

Read More


Most Important Quotes in The Great Gatsby, Analyzed

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 29, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Book Guides

Need to solidify your Great Gatsby essay with some evidence from the text? Want a refresher on the novel's style and sound? Curious how to go from a piece of text to a close reading and an analysis? Then check out this article featuring key Great Gatsby quotes!

We've rounded up a collection of important quotes by and about the main characters, quotes on the novel's major themes and symbols, and quotes from each of The Great Gatsby's chapters. In turn, each of the Great Gatsby quotes is followed by some brief analysis and explanation of its significance. 

Read More


Everything You Need to Know: The Great Gatsby Era

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 28, 2016 10:00:00 PM

Book Guides

The Great Gatsby takes place during a time that's now known as the Jazz Age or the Roaring 20s. Wondering what the world was like when Jay Gatsby struck it rich in bootlegging? Curious to see how much Daisy and Myrtle's struggle for more echoes the lives of real women? Interested in the other ways that The Great Gatsby era matters to the plot of the novel? 

This article will guide you through the historical, economic, and social movements of the 1920's as they relate to events, themes, and characters in The Great Gatsby.

Read More


Everything You Need to Know About The Great Gatsby Setting

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 28, 2016 8:00:00 PM

Book Guides

One reason that The Great Gatsby has now become a byword for the East Coast of the Roaring 20s - the decadently extravagant post-WWI era - is that Fitzgerald was amazing at creating memorable settings. Whether it's the sprawling luxury of Gatsby's mansion, the drunken chaos of Myrtle's apartment, or the suffocating airlessness of a suite at the Plaza Hotel, The Great Gatsby features settings that perfectly encapsulate character, mood, atmosphere, and emotions.

In this article, I'll go through all of the Great Gatsby settings, explain what role settings play in a novel, show how these settings compare with one another, and explore what symbolic meaning they have.

Read More


Best Great Gatsby Character Analysis

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 28, 2016 7:00:00 PM

Book Guides

Familiar with the characters of The Great Gatsby, but need to analyze one or more of them for an essay or class assignment? This article has got your back! In it, we'll discuss what the point of analyzing a book character is. We'll also talk about the dos and donts of writing a character analysis, essay, explaining how to go from an argument to finding evidence. Finally, we'll give you an example of how to develop an essay of this type by constructing one around the old money characters (Tom, Daisy, and Jordan). 

You'll also find links to our in-depth articles on each of The Great Gatsby's main characters, explaining their role and significance in the novel, key quotes for each, and some ideas for essay topics, really helping you pull together your thoughts about these characters!

Read More


Every Great Gatsby Character You Have to Know: Complete List

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 25, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Book Guides

This article provides a broad overview of all of The Great Gatsby characters, their relationships and connections, and any major issues and questions surrounding them. 

Throughout the guide, you will find links to each character’s page, as well as links to our character analysis, compare/contrast, and quotes pages. Use this page as your jumping-off point for discovering The Great Gatsby’s major and minor players!

Read More


How to Write a Compare/Contrast Essay for The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 24, 2016 10:00:00 PM

Book Guides

A very common essay prompt/discussion topic for The Great Gatsby is to have you compare and contrast a pair of characters in Gatsby. Why do teachers love these prompts so much?

These compare/contrast essays are an opportunity for you to tie the character similarities and differences to larger observations about society and class, the American Dream, or identity in the novel. They also allow you to practice standard English class skills: close reading, using lines from the text as evidence, and taking a stance and presenting a supporting argument in an essay.

We’ll go over some basic dos and don’ts for writing compare/contrast essays before diving into some analysis of the most asked-about character pairings. Keep reading if you have a Compare/Contrast assignment on the horizon!

Read More


Every Great Gatsby Movie, Compared: 2013, 1974, 1949

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 24, 2016 7:00:00 PM

Book Guides


If you’ve looked up The Great Gatsby movie, you’ve probably realized that there is more than one. So which of The Great Gatsby movies you should watch? Wondering if you can skip reading the book?

We have a complete guide to each of the Great Gatsby movie adaptations, as well as some advice for writing about the movies!

Read More


Everything You Need to Know About F. Scott Fitzgerald

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 24, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Book Guides

Curious about the man who created The Great Gatsby? Did you know that some of the events of this novel are actually based on things that happened to F. Scott Fitzgerald himself? This article will give you a broad overview of Fitzgerald’s life, with a focus on the autobiographical details that he later worked into The Great Gatsby

Use this background on The Great Gatsby author to further deepen your understanding of the novel, to connect it with the historical period that it's describing, and to better analyze the motivations of the characters.

Read More


Best Analysis: Love and Relationships in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 21, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Book Guides

Love, desire, and sex are a major motivators for nearly every character in The Great Gatsby. However, none of Gatsby’s five major relationships is depicted as healthy or stable.

So what can we make of this? Is Fitzgerald arguing that love itself is unstable, or is it just that experiencing love and desire the way the characters do is problematic?

Gatsby’s portrayal of love and desire is complex. So we will explore and analyze each of Gatsby’s five major relationships: Daisy/Tom, George/Myrtle, Gatsby/Daisy, Tom/Myrtle, and Jordan/Nick. We will also note how each relationship develops through the story, the power dynamics involved, and what each particular relationship seems to say about Fitzgerald’s depiction of love.

We will also include analysis of important quotes for each of the five major couples. Finally, we will go over some common essay questions about love, desire, and relationships to help you with class assignments.

Keep reading for the ultimate guide to love in the time of Gatsby!

Read More


Best Analysis: Money and Materialism in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 21, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Book Guides

In The Great Gatsby, money is a huge motivator in the characters’ relationships, motivations, and outcomes. Most of the characters reveal themselves to be highly materialistic, their motivations driven by their desire for money and things: Daisy marries and stays with Tom because of the lifestyle he can provide her, Myrtle has her affair with Tom due to the privileged world it grants her access to, and Gatsby even lusts after Daisy as if she is a prize to be won. After all, her voice is “full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it. . . . High in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl. . . .” (7.106).

So how exactly does materialism reveal itself as a theme, how can it help us analyze the characters, and what are some common assignments surrounding this theme? We will dig into all things money here in this guide.

Read More


Best Analysis: The American Dream in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 12, 2016 11:00:00 PM

Book Guides


The Great Gatsby is a tragic love story on the surface, but it’s most commonly understood as a pessimistic critique of the American Dream. In the novel, Jay Gatsby overcomes his poor past to gain an incredible amount of money and a limited amount of social cache in 1920s NYC, only to be rejected by the “old money” crowd. He then gets killed after being tangled up with them.

Through Gatsby’s life, as well as that of the Wilsons’, Fitzgerald critiques the idea that America is a meritocracy where anyone can rise to the top with enough hard work. We will explore how this theme plays out in the plot, briefly analyze some key quotes about it, as well as do some character analysis and broader analysis of topics surrounding the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.

Read More


Best Character Analysis: Myrtle Wilson - The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 12, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Book Guides

In most books and movies, the “other woman” – the woman having an affair with a married man – is often painted as a villain. But what about in The Great Gatsby, a novel in which both married women (Myrtle Wilson and Daisy Buchanan) are having affairs? Especially given that one (Daisy) ends up killing the other (Myrtle), is Myrtle just a one-note “other woman,” or is there more to her?

Myrtle’s role in the story isn’t as large as Daisy’s, Gatsby’s, or Tom’s. However, she is crucial to the plot of the story, and especially to its tragic conclusion. Find out more about Myrtle’s role in Gatsby in this guide!

Read More


Best Character Analysis: George Wilson - The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 12, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Book Guides

When you think about The Great Gatsby’s major characters, George Wilson is often the last to come to mind. Compared to his voluptuous wife, Myrtle, Tom, Daisy, Jordan, and, of course, the titular Gatsby himself, pale-faced, shrinking, passive George can almost escape your memory – and perhaps he entirely would if he didn’t turn out to be one of the novel’s most crucial characters.

George has the least “page time” of the seven major characters, but is important because of the crucial role he plays in the novel’s conclusion. Because of this, we don’t know quite as much about George’s personality, motivations, or characteristics as we do about other characters.

This guide goes over what we do know about George and explains why he is so important. Read on to learn more about the man underneath the ash.

Read More


Most Important Symbols in The Great Gatsby, Analyzed

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 8, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Book Guides

Have you ever come across an object or an image in a book that was really over-described? That the author seemed way too over-invested in? Most of the time, that feeling is a hint that what you've encountered is a symbol! The Great Gatsby features many objects and images that pop up exactly like this.

But how do you interpret Great Gatsby symbols once you've found them? And how can you find symbols that don't have as much signposting around them? In this article, I'll take you through an explanation of what symbols are, how to locate them, and how to write about them. I'll also point you to in-depth articles about each of the most important symbols in The Great Gatsby.

Read More


You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:

Twitter and Google+

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!