SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Alex Heimbach

Alex is an experienced tutor and writer. Over the past five years, she has worked with almost a hundred students and written about pop culture for a wide range of publications. She graduated with honors from University of Chicago, receiving a BA in English and Anthropology, and then went on to earn an MA at NYU in Cultural Reporting and Criticism. In high school, she was a National Merit Scholar, took 12 AP tests and scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and ACT.

Recent Posts

What Is a Personal Statement? Everything You Need to Know About the College Essay

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Aug 11, 2019 8:00:00 AM

College Admissions, College Essays

In addition to standardized test scores and transcripts, a personal statement or essay is a required part of many college applications. The personal statement can be one of the most stressful parts of the application process because it's the most open ended. 

In this guide, I'll answer the question, "What is a personal statement?" I'll talk through common college essay topics and what makes for an effective personal statement.

Read More

 

The 12 Best Creative Writing Colleges and Programs

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Aug 4, 2019 11:00:00 AM

College Info

Finding a dedicated creative writing program at a school you're excited about can be a real challenge, and that's even before you start worrying about getting in. Nonetheless, there are some great options. In order to help you find the best school for you, this list rounds up some of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States.

Read More

 

Which States Require the ACT? Full List and Advice

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Jul 21, 2019 8:00:00 PM

ACT General Info

Over the past five years, the number of states that administer the ACT statewide has more than doubled: there are now 12 states that require every junior to take the test and eight more that either require the test in some districts or offer it as a free option for students who wish to take it.

This post explains why these programs exist, which states have them, and how you can take advantage of them if you live in one of these states.

Read More

 

A Massive Collection of Free SAT Practice Tests

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Jul 1, 2019 8:30:00 AM

SAT Strategies, SAT General Info, New SAT

Whether you’re building your own SAT prep program or just supplementing a class, finding SAT practice tests and questions can pose a serious challenge. This article will go through every type of practice SAT test, how to best use them, and, most importantly, where to find them.

Read More

 

What Is the SAT? A Complete Explanation of the Test

Posted by Alex Heimbach | May 26, 2019 4:45:00 PM

SAT General Info

If you’re thinking of applying to college, it’s vital that you know what the SAT is and how it will affect your application process.

So what is the SAT? It’s one of two standardized college admissions tests in the US. (The other is the ACT.) It's run by the College Board, a non-profit that also administers the PSAT and the AP (Advanced Placement) program.

Read More

 

SAT 1 vs SAT 2: What's the Difference?

Posted by Alex Heimbach | May 19, 2019 1:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests, SAT General Info

You might have heard of something called the SAT II (or SAT 2) and wondered what it could be. A secret, harder version of the SAT, perhaps? The reality is less dramatic: the SAT II is just an old name for the SAT Subject Tests.

This guide will explain the current form of the SAT II, outline the differences between the SAT 1 vs SAT 2, and help you determine which of the tests you should take.

Read More

 

How to Teach the SAT: Best Tips for Tutors and Parents

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Jan 27, 2019 4:00:00 PM

SAT General Info

When I started working as a professional tutor, I was fresh out of college with few qualifications other than high test scores and some volunteer experience. I struggled with tutoring my first few students — I didn’t feel comfortable giving them assignments and I struggled to figure out how best to use our lesson time.

But after years of tutoring, I became thoroughly familiar with the ins and outs of the whole process. I've drawn on my hard-earned knowledge to create this guide laying out the key steps to helping someone excel at the SAT so that you know where to start when tutoring your own student or child. A big part of being a great tutor is being properly prepared — these seven steps will set you on the right path to raising your student's score:

Read More

 

Everything You Need to Know About Commas for the ACT

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Dec 9, 2018 4:10:00 PM

ACT English

Nobody likes commas: they're weird and confusing and possibly pointless. My brother decided to boycott them entirely in his senior year of high school, leaving his lists running together and his appositives undefined. Even veteran copy editors sometimes struggle with where exactly to place these reviled punctuation marks. 

Even so, if you want to succeed on the ACT English, you'll have to learn how to expertly employ commas. The good news is that there is a fairly limited set of comma rules you'll need to know for the ACT. But before we get into the nitty-gritty technical stuff, let's establish one very important principle.

Read More

 

Should You Take the ACT With or Without Writing?

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Sep 12, 2018 5:00:00 PM

ACT General Info, ACT Writing

Because ACT Writing is optional, many students are unsure whether they need to add the extra 40 minutes to the test. However, there’s a simple answer to whether you should take the ACT with writing or without writing: it depends on whether the colleges you want to apply to require a writing score.

This guide will talk you through how the ACT writing got started, how to determine whether you should take the ACT with or without Writing, and some other considerations you may want to keep in mind.

Read More

 

Which States Require the SAT? Complete List

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Sep 10, 2018 9:00:00 PM

SAT General Info, New SAT

 

The College Board offers a program called SAT School Day, which, as the name suggests, allows schools to offer the SAT to students during the week, generally for free.

In some states, all high school juniors are required to take the SAT under this program, while in others only some are. Read on to learn more about this program and what it means for you.

Read More

 

Do You Need SAT Scores to Transfer Colleges?

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Sep 5, 2018 6:30:00 PM

SAT General Info

Determining all the different requirements for transferring colleges can be a huge hassle. One of the most common questions students have is whether they need to submit SAT scores to apply as transfer students.

There’s no single answer to this question, but this guide will explain some common policies about SAT scores for transfer applicants, how to determine whether you need to submit SAT scores, and how much attention schools pay to these scores when they also have your grades from another college.

Read More

 

College Essay Prompts: Complete List, Analysis, and Advice

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Aug 28, 2018 8:30:00 AM

College Admissions, College Essays

When talking about college essays, we tend to focus on the Common Application prompts, and it's true that many students will need to write a Common App essay. However, there are actually quite a few schools, including both public and private universities, that don't use the Common App and instead ask applicants to respond to their own college essay prompts.

Luckily, college essay prompts tend to be pretty similar to each other. In this guide, I'll list all the college essay questions for popular schools in the US (and a few abroad) and then break down the patterns to help you brainstorm topics and plan how to approach multiple essays efficiently. After reading this guide, you'll be able to strategize which essays you'll write for which colleges.

Read More

 

Complete Strategies: Common App Essay Prompts (2018-19)

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Jul 16, 2018 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

If you’re applying to more than one or two colleges, there's a good chance you'll have to use the Common Application, and that means you’ll probably have to write a Common App essay.

In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the essay. I'll break down every single Common App essay prompt by covering:

  • What is the question asking?
  • What do college admissions officers want to hear from you?
  • What topics can you write about effectively?
  • What should you avoid at all costs?

This will be your complete starting guide for Common App essays. At the end of reading this, you should have a lot of ideas for your own essays and directions to write a really strong personal statement.

Read More

 

How to Write a Great College Essay, Step-by-Step

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Jul 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, College Essays

Writing your personal statement for your college application is an undeniably overwhelming project. Your essay is your big shot to show colleges who you are — it’s totally reasonable to get stressed out. But don’t let that stress paralyze you. 

This guide will walk you through each step of the essay writing process to help you understand exactly what you need to do to write the best possible personal statement. I'm also going to follow an imaginary student named Eva as she plans and writes her college essay, from her initial organization and brainstorming to her final edits. By the end of this article, you'll have all the tools you need to create a fantastic, effective college essay.

Read More

 

The Ultimate Study Guide for ACT English: Tips, Rules, Practice, and Strategies

Posted by Alex Heimbach | Jun 18, 2018 12:00:00 PM

ACT English

This guide collects the best ACT English prep material on the internet. We've created everything here from scratch, and we think it's the best guide available anywhere.

In writing it, we pored over real ACTs, consulted the best existing books, and thought deeply about what you'll need to excel on ACT English. Our subject guides closely reflect what you’ll see on the actual test and our strategies have all been used successfully by our past students. We’ve covered everything you need to know about ACT English.

This post is a table of contents, designed to lead you through the different articles you’ll want to study in a logical order and explain how to get the most out of them. It starts with the big-picture, high-level ideas that will get you thinking about the best way to approach ACT English. Then it moves on to our coverage of the skills and concepts you’ll see on the test. The last section includes a variety of ACT English tips and strategies that can help you create a study plan and learn to attack the test in the most efficient way.

Read More

 

Ask a Question Below

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