SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Christine Sarikas

Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

Recent Posts

The Expert's Guide to the AP Calculus AB Exam

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jul 19, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Are you taking the AP Calculus AB exam this spring and want to be well prepared on test day? The AP Calculus AB exam in 2021 will be held on Tuesday, May 4, at 8 am.

Before you sit down to take the exam, though, it's critical that you know how the Calculus AB test is formatted, what topics it covers, and how you'll be scored on it. This guide will go over all of that information while also showing you official sample problems and giving you tips on the best way to prepare for AP Calculus AB.

The exam was updated in May 2017, so this guide will explain what changes have been made and how they might affect your review. The AP Calculus AB exam can sometimes seem overwhelming, but we're here to break it down into clear and manageable information for you. You can also check out the College Board's new AP Classroom tool for AP Calculus AB, which has additional resources and information. Let's get started!

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ACT Book Review: Kaplan ACT Prep Plus

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jul 15, 2020 1:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies

Kaplan is a well-known name in the test prep industry, but does that mean its ACT materials are good? The ACT prep book you choose can mean the difference between reaching your goal score or not, so you want to use a book that's right for you. Kaplan's materials are known for helping students (particularly lower-scoring students) learn the content they need to do well on the ACT, as well as preparing them for the exam's format and question types. However, there are other areas where they're not as strong. 

This Kaplan ACT book review explains what Kaplan's ACT book, ACT Prep Plus 2021, includes, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and who the book is right for (and who will be wasting their time reading it).

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Should You Buy the ACT Black Book? Expert Review

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jul 13, 2020 1:30:00 PM

ACT Strategies

The ACT Black Book is a popular ACT prep guide, but because it lacks the name recognition of large test prep companies like Princeton Review and Barron's, many people aren't sure if it's worth purchasing. The ACT Black Book is great for clever strategies to answer questions, but it's not as strong in other areas. So is it right for you, and what should you use the ACT Black Book for? In this in-depth ACT Black Book review, we explain what the book includes, its pros and cons, and who should buy it. Let's dive in!

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ACT Computer-Based Testing: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jul 13, 2020 1:00:00 PM

ACT General Info

Have you been told you need to take a computer-based ACT or heard that some people take the ACT on a computer and want to know if it's an option for you? Who is allowed to take ACT computer-based testing, and who is stuck still making sure they have a #2 pencil on test day? We answer all your questions about computer-based ACTs in this guide, including if taking a computer-based ACT will give you a higher or lower score than a paper test, why computer-based ACT is being offered, and how you can prepare for this new version of the test. 

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4 Top Tips for Answering the Common App COVID Prompt

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jun 27, 2020 11:00:00 AM

College Essays

High school students have been dealt a lot of curveballs with the coronavirus pandemic and transition to e-learning. If the spring (and potentially fall) 2020 semester haven't gone quite the way you wanted, the Common Application is giving you the opportunity to address that in an optional essay. This guide will cover everything you need to know about the Common App COVID essay, including why it was added, what the actual prompt is, if it's a good idea for you to answer it, and what you should and shouldn't include in your response.

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The Complete Guide to the Coalition Application

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jun 26, 2020 4:00:00 PM

College Admissions

The Coalition Application can make applying to colleges much fast and easier, but only if you know how to use it. In this in-depth guide to the Coalition Application, we explain every part of the website you should know, what the best strategies are for using it, and how to decide if you should make use of the Coalition Application during your college application process.

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The 11 Best High School Science Competitions

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jun 16, 2020 10:00:00 AM


Love science and want to show off your skills? High school science competitions are a great way to do that! But which competitions will impress colleges the most? We've gathered information on 11 of the best science competitions for high school students. Look over the descriptions that seem most interesting to you, then keep reading to learn everything you need to do to make them stand out on your college applications.

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How Much Is a 2 Dollar Bill Really Worth?

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jun 3, 2020 5:00:00 PM

General Education

Have some $2 bills lying around and wondering if they're your ticket to a life of wealth and luxury? Before you start planning how to spend your riches, read this article to learn how much is a 2 dollar bill worth. This FAQ guide will answer all the common misconceptions about $2 bills and explain the crazy history behind them.

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How to Get Into UC Berkeley: 4 Steps to a Stellar Application

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jun 3, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Wondering how to get into UC Berkeley? Getting accepted to Berkeley can be tough. How hard is it to get into Berkeley? In 2019-2020, UC Berkeley received 87,394 applications, and it admitted 14,668 of those applicants, for an acceptance rate of 16.7%.

This makes UC Berkeley a "strongly competitive school": it's not quite as ultra-competitive as Ivy League schools, but you'll need to have a strong application across the board in order to get accepted. In the rest of this guide, we'll explain the UC Berkeley admissions requirements, when and how you should apply, exactly what Berkeley looks at when they review your application and how you can create the strongest application to maximize your chances of getting into Berkeley.

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How to Stand Out at Regeneron ISEF: 5 Key Tips

Posted by Christine Sarikas | Jun 3, 2020 11:00:00 AM


Have you heard about how impressive the Regeneron ISEF (previously called Intel ISEF or the Intel Science Fair) is and want to know if it's true? Can it really be a ticket to acceptance at top schools? Yes, the Regeneron ISEF is a highly-competitive science fair that attracts top high school students from around the world. Read this guide to learn how to get into ISEF, what a top project must have, and how you can put yourself in the best position to win this competition.

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The 5 UC Application Tips You Need to Get Into University of California

Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 31, 2020 11:00:00 AM

College Admissions, College Info

If you're applying to one or more of the UC schools, you want to make sure you get the application right. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the UC application, from the time you decide to apply to a UC school to when you submit the final piece of the application.

Keep reading to learn when the most important UC application deadline is, which documents you need to submit to complete your application, if you need a separate application for each UC school, and how you can make sure every part of your application sets you apart from the crowd.

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Should You Use a Priority Application for College?

Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 28, 2020 5:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Did you receive a priority application from a college but aren't sure what exactly it is? Is it a scam? Does it mean you'll automatically be admitted? Should you apply to schools that offer you priority applications or do you have better options? This guide on priority applications will answer all your questions!

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Will the SAT and ACT Go Online as a Result of the Coronavirus?

Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 26, 2020 12:00:00 PM

SAT Logistics, ACT Logistics

Are you concerned that, as a result of the novel coronavirus, you won't be able to take an SAT or ACT this fall? Multiple spring and summer exam dates have already been cancelled as a result of COVID-19, and there's no guarantee that in-person exams will be safe to hold in the fall. What does that mean if you were planning to take one of those tests, especially if you're a high school senior who needs standardized test scores to apply to college?

In this article we go over everything we know about potential online SATs and ACTs, as well as our expert opinion on what online standardized tests will be like, how they'll be viewed by colleges, and if this means the exams will move online permanently.

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Should You Attend Yale Young Global Scholars?

Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 21, 2020 6:00:00 PM


Have you heard of the Yale Young Global Scholars program but aren't sure if it's worth attending? YYGS is a summer program for high school students run by Yale Unviersity. Some attendees love their experience, while others don't feel the program is worth its high price tag. So, should you apply?

This article will explain exactly what the benefits and drawbacks of YYGS are, as well as the questions you need to ask yourself before you make a decision to attend.

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Should You Defer College a Year During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 15, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Info

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended much of the world, and colleges are no exception. Around the world, colleges have sent students home and implemented virtual classes. No more dorm living, cheering for your team at sports games, or meeting new people in the cafeteria. Now, many students are learning via online classes in their parent's homes. And, unfortunately, no one yet knows if the coronavirus will be contained enough to allow campuses to open up in the fall. For incoming college freshmen, this is a huge blow. They already missed out on their final months of high school, along with all that entails such as prom and graduation. Now they might begin their college experience in much the same way. 

For some of these students, the thought of losing even more traditional experiences, such as moving into the dorms with a roommate, joining college clubs, and engaging in classroom debates, is enough to make them consider postponing college until students can return to classes. In fact, if schools don't resume in-person classes, more students than ever before may end up taking a gap year. Currently, 16% of high school seniors are planning to take a gap year rather than virtual classes.

But is deferring college during a pandemic the right decision for you? What factors do you need to consider and what questions do you need to ask yourself before you decide? We go over everything you need to know and think about to make the best decision for you.

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