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

Complete Guide to Integers on ACT Math (Advanced)

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 29, 2017 3:30:00 PM

ACT Math

Integers, integers, integers (oh, my)! You've already read up on your basic ACT integers and now you're hankering to tackle the heavy hitters of the integer world. Want to know how to (quickly) find a list of prime numbers? Want to know how to manipulate and solve exponent problems? Root problems? Well look no further!

This will be your complete guide to advanced ACT integers, including prime numbers, exponents, absolute values, consecutive numbers, and roots—what they mean, as well as how to solve the more difficult integer questions that may show up on the ACT.

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Complete Guide to Probability on SAT Math + Practice Questions

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 28, 2017 8:30:00 AM

SAT Math

A probability question asks you to identify how likely a particular event is to occur. How likely is it that you’ll pick a red marble out of a bag? How likely is it that a particular person will be chosen out of a lottery? How likely is it that two or more events will both occur? These are just some of the many different types of probability questions you may encounter on the SAT.

This guide will take you through all aspects of probability you’ll need to know for the SAT--exactly what probability means, the typical probability questions you’ll see on the SAT math section, and the steps needed to solve them.

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Algebraic Operations on ACT Math: Strategies and Formulas

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 14, 2017 11:00:00 PM

ACT Math

Variables, exponents, and more variables, whoo! ACT operations questions will involve all of these (and so much more!). So if you ever wondered what to do with or how to solve some of those extra long and clunky algebra problems (“What is the equivalent to ${2/3}a^2b - (18b - 6c) +$ …” you get the picture), then this is the guide for you.

This will be your complete guide to ACT operations questions—what they’ll look like on the test, how to perform operations with multiple variables and exponents, and what kinds of methods and strategies you’ll need to get them done as fast and as accurately as possible. You'll see these types of questions at least three times on any given ACT, so let's take a look.

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5 Key Tips for How to Potty Train a Puppy Effectively

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 4, 2016 4:49:00 PM


Potty training a puppy is a sometimes messy, but ultimately rewarding process. And with a little know-how and a regular potty routine, you'll be able to get your pup on the right track and keep both your pup and your home happy, comfortable, and clean.

So let's look at the ins and outs of how to potty train a puppy: creating a proper potty training routine, setting a potty schedule, and reacting when the inevitable accident occurs.

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The 21 Best Dogs for Apartment Living

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 4, 2016 4:47:00 PM


Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t also have a happy, healthy dog as well (unless your apartment complex doesn’t allow dogs, of course!). Though apartment living comes with a few hurdles when it comes to dog ownership, finding the right dog breed can make all the difference.

With a little effort, the majority of dog breeds can live in apartments, but apartment living is certainly easier with some breeds than others. So let’s check out what qualities make for a good apartment dog and the top breeds that fit the bill.

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The Easy Guide to the 30-60-90 Triangle

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

General Education

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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How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jul 29, 2016 4:06:00 PM


You'll no doubt have to write a number of argumentative essays in both high school and college, but what, exactly, is an argumentative essay and how do you write the best one possible? Let's take a look.

A great argumentative essay always combines the same basic elements: approaching an argument from a rational perspective, researching sources, supporting your claims using facts rather than opinion, and articulating your reasoning into the most cogent and reasoned points. Argumentative essays are great building blocks for all sorts of research and rhetoric, so your teachers will expect you to master the technique before long.

But if this sounds daunting, never fear! We’ll show how an argumentative essay differs from other kinds of papers, how to research and write them, how to pick an argumentative essay topic, and where to find example essays. So let's get started.

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Complete Guide to Fractions and Ratios on SAT Math

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Mar 15, 2016 5:00:00 PM

SAT Math

You likely had your first taste of working with fractions sometime in elementary school, though it's probably been a while since you've had to deal with how they shift, change, and interact with one another. To refresh, fractions and ratios are both used to represent pieces of a whole. Fractions tell you how many pieces you have compared to a potential whole amount (3 red marbles in a bag of 5, for example), while ratios compare pieces to each other (3 red marbles to 2 blue marbles) or, more rarely, pieces to the whole amount (again, 3 red marbles in 5 total).

If this sounds complicated to you right now, don’t worry! We will go through all the principles behind fractions and ratios in this guide. If this seems easy to you right now, definitely check out the practice problems at the end of the guide to make sure you have mastered all the different kinds of fraction and ratio problems you’ll see on the test. The SAT likes to present familiar concepts in unfamiliar ways, so don’t let your mastery of fractions lead you to make assumptions about how you’ll see fractions and ratios on the test.

No matter how comfortable you are (or are not) with fractions and ratios right now, this guide is for you. Here, we will go through the complete breakdown of fractions and ratios on the SAT—what they mean, how to manipulate them, and how to answer the most difficult fraction and ratio problems on the SAT.

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Single Variable Equations on SAT Math: Complete Strategies

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Feb 20, 2016 8:30:00 AM

SAT Math

In a way, single variable equations are some of the most common and least common types of questions on the SAT math section. Why? Because it’s rare to find more than one or two single variable equations per test, and yet knowing how to solve and manipulate single variable equations is a basic requirement for solving most all SAT math questions.

Even though you won’t often see single variable equations by themselves, it is crucial that you know how to set up, use, and manipulate them. You cannot solve the more complex expressions like quadratics, multiple variables, and so on, without first understanding single variable equations.

This guide will be your complete walk-through of single variable equations for the SAT--what they are, how you’ll see them on the test, and how to set up and solve them.

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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 ACT—what 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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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 sections—what 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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