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

What's a Good PSAT Score for 2021?

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Oct 22, 2021 8:00:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Did you take the 2021 PSAT and are now awaiting your scores? The PSAT score report contains a lot of information! It can be confusing to look over the first time, especially if you're trying to figure out if you got a "good" PSAT score.

In this guide, we'll explain everything you need to know about PSAT scores, including what score you should be aiming for, what score you'll need to meet National Merit cutoffs, and what PSAT score you'll need to impress colleges.

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4 Top Tips to Write a Stellar Syracuse Essay

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Oct 15, 2021 3:00:00 PM

College Essays

Getting admitted to Syracuse has only gotten tougher in recent years, and its current acceptance rate is about 50%. You'll need a strong application to get admitted, and that includes your essays.

You'll need to write one supplemental essay as part of your Syracuse application, and we're here to guide you through every step of the process. Read this guide to learn what the essay prompts are, what the admissions team is really looking for in your responses, what you can write about (and what to avoid), and what strong examples of Syracuse essays look like.

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What Colleges Are Need Aware? How Does It Affect Admissions?

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Oct 8, 2021 6:00:00 PM

College Admissions, Financial Aid

What is a need aware college? Does a college being need aware mean they won't accept students who need financial aid? What colleges are need aware? 

There are a lot of misconceptions about need aware colleges and how they handle applicants who need financial aid. Having the wrong information can lead students to skip applying to schools that could still very well accept them and offer generous aid packages. Read this guide to be fully informed on need aware colleges.

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The 110 Demonstrated Interest Colleges: Complete List

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Oct 5, 2021 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions

Have you heard about demonstrated interest colleges and learned that colleges love to admit students who really want to attend their school? Demonstrated interest can be an important part of the application review process, but only at certain schools. Which colleges care about visits, and what are the colleges that track demonstrated interest?

This article lists all the colleges that consider demonstrated interest. Does USC track demonstrated interest? Does Harvard track demonstrated interest? You'll get the answers to those questions in this guide, and you'll also learn what demonstrated interest is, why it matters to schools, and how you can use it to your best advantage.

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3 Writing Tips for the University of Florida Essay Prompts

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Sep 14, 2021 5:00:00 PM

College Essays

Are you applying to the University of Florida? You'll need to answer some essay prompts as part of your application.  Read this guide to learn what the University of Florida essay prompts are, what admissions officers are looking for in your response, what you should include and avoid in your answers, and what strong UF college essay examples look like.

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The 7 UChicago Essay Prompts: How to Write Stellar Responses

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Sep 10, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

The University of Chicago is famous for its unique essay topics. They're some of the most creative and off-the-wall essay prompts you'll see when applying to colleges, and it can sometimes be confusing to know how to tackle them.

What should you write about in your UChicago essays? How can you show that you're intelligent, creative, and worthy of a place at their school? As someone who spent a long time on my UChicago essays (and who got into the school), I've figured out exactly what UChicago is looking for in these essays.

 Read on to learn all about the UChicago essays, what the admissions team expects to see in your responses, what topics you should write about, and which topics you should avoid. In this guide, we also suggest sample essay ideas for each of the 2021/2022 UChicago supplement essay prompts and analyze past University of Chicago essay samples so you can see what a great UChicago essay looks like.

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4 Tips for Writing a Stand-Out Why UChicago Essay

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Sep 6, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

For students applying to the University of Chicago, the "Why UChicago" essay is more straightforward than most of the other essay prompts you'll see, but it can still be intimidating to try to figure out how you should tackle this essay.

What should you mention? What will impress the admissions team? What are they really looking for in your response?

We break down the why UChicago essay, explain everything the University of Chicago is looking for in this essay, suggest topics to write about that'll help you stand out, and give why UChicago essay examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

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7 Steps to a Successful MIT Application

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Sep 4, 2021 12:30:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info

In 2019/2020, MIT admitted only 4.03% of students who applied to the school. With such a low admissions rate, it may seem like getting accepted is close to impossible, but we're here to help!

In this guide, we'll explain everything you need to know to complete the MIT application, including when every important MIT application deadline is, what exactly you need to submit with your application, what admissions officers are really looking for when they review your application, and how you can make each part of your MIT application stand out from the pack.

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Why Duke Essay: 4 Tips for a Great Essay

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Sep 3, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

Are you hoping to become a Blue Devil? The Why Duke essay is a small but important part of your Duke application. This is the place where you explain exactly why you love Duke so much. However, there are thousands of students who want to attend Duke, and only a small percentage of them get in. What can you do to make sure your Why Duke essay sets you apart and helps you get accepted?

Keep reading to learn what the Why Duke essay prompts are, exactly what Duke is looking for when they read them, and what you should write about to and convince Duke you'd be an asset to their school. We also include a Why Duke essay example so you can see what an actual essay response looks like.

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Which Colleges Don't Require SAT/ACT Scores for 2021-2022 Admissions?

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Aug 30, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

The novel coronavirus has had a massive impact on colleges, and that includes college admissions. Because of stay-at-home orders, virtual learning, and cancelled SAT and ACT exam dates, among other things, many universities are aware that it might be difficult or impossible for incoming high school seniors to take and do well on standardized tests in time for application deadlines.

The result? Hundreds of colleges have dropped their SAT and ACT test requirements for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 college admissions cycles. Which schools have cancelled exams? Will they reinstate these test requirements next year? If you're able to take a test, should you still submit your scores? This guide covers all those questions.

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The Best AP European History Study Guide

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Aug 27, 2021 6:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Are you taking AP European History? If so, you know the big AP test occurs in May. Doing well on this exam is a great boost to your college applications, and it can even earn you college credit. So how can you ensure you get the score you want? That's where we come in! This AP European History study guide covers everything you need for your AP Euro review. Read on to learn what the AP Euro exam will be like (including looking at sample questions), what topics the exam will cover, how to create a personalized study plan, and the tips to follow to help you get your best score.

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Every AP European History Practice Test Available: Free and Official

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Aug 27, 2021 7:00:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Are you taking the AP European History exam and want to make sure you're prepared? One of the best ways to measure your progress and learn which areas you need to focus on is to take practice exams. There are a lot of AP Euro History practice tests available; however, some are higher-quality than others. Taking a poorly written practice exam can cause you to study the wrong things and give you an inaccurate picture of what the real AP exam will be like.

In this guide, I'll go over every AP Euro practice test available, explain if and how you should use each one, and end with a schedule you can follow to help you incorporate practice tests into your study plans.

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Is AP European History Hard? Expert Discussion

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Aug 26, 2021 2:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Before you sign up for any AP class, it's helpful to get an idea of whether you'll be able to handle the workload (and the exam!). AP European History is offered at many schools, so you might have the chance to take it at some point in your high school career.

But is AP European History hard? What if you're naturally good at remembering historical facts or have a lot of experience with AP classes? In this guide, we'll go over the five factors to consider when judging the difficulty of an AP class and explain how you can use this information to predict how hard AP Euro will be for you.  

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7 Steps to a Successful Georgetown Application

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Aug 26, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Georgetown University is one of the most selective universities in the country—less than 12% of students who applied during the 2020/2021 school year got accepted. However, understanding the application and what Georgetown admissions officers are looking for when they review your application can give you a serious leg up over the rest of the competition.

In this guide, we go over everything you need to know about the Georgetown University application, including what you need to submit, every Georgetown application deadline, what admissions officers are looking for when they review applications, and how you can make each key part of your application stand out from the pack.

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

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Aug 26, 2021 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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