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

How to Guess Strategically on ACT Math

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 11, 2015 5:00:00 PM

ACT Math

The ACT allows for guessing without penalty (no negative points here!), but how can you turn guessing into the best strategy to maximize your ACT math score? The more you can increase your guessing odds, the better off you’ll be. And we’re here to show you how.

We’ll go through when and how to guess strategically on the ACT math section as well as show you examples of how to guess most effectively in action.

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How You'll Get Stuck in SAT/ACT Math Questions, and What to Do About It

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 10, 2015 8:00:00 AM

ACT Math, SAT Math

So you’ve been staring at one math problem for what feels like forever, or maybe you’ve gone through your solve and none of the answer choices match what you found. Or maybe you just feel like somewhere along the way you made a huge mistake….

Well, never fear! Right now you might be stuck on a math problem, but we’ve all been there and there is always a way to recover. We’ll walk you through both how to recognize when you’re stuck (it’s not always obvious until too late) and what to do about it when it happens.

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How to Get the Most Out of SAT Math Practice Questions

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM

SAT Math

You’ve lined up all your SAT math study material, but now how do you use these questions to their best effect? Getting the materials to study is only half the battlemaking an effective study plan and knowing how to best execute it is the second, crucial step.

We’ve put together a comprehensive plan on how to make use of the study materials you have at hand. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to best use your math practice problems and how to make the best study plan possible to boost your SAT math score.

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SAT vs ACT Math: Which Is Easier?

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 8, 2015 6:30:00 PM

SAT versus ACT, ACT Math, SAT Math

If you put to a vote whether the ACT Math test or the SAT Math test is easier, there's going to be heavy contention on both sides. Some will swear up and down (and sideways) that the SAT Math section is easier. Others will not be moved by any force in the world away from the position that the ACT Math section is the simpler one.

But which faction is right? And more importantly, which test should you take? We’ve broken down the ins and outs of each math test to tell you which is easier, depending on the type of test taker and math student you are.

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How to Get the Most Out of ACT Math Practice Questions

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 8, 2015 4:00:00 PM

ACT Math

Now that you’ve gathered together all your ACT math study materials, it’s time to put together a plan of attack. Having the right study materials is key, but understanding how to use them to their best effect is just as important. (What good is a tool wielded improperly, after all?)

We’ve put together a comprehensive plan on how to make use of your ACT math study materials and boost your math score. We’ll walk you through how to best use your math practice problems and how to make the best study plan possible to prepare yourself for test day.

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How to Actually Use Your SAT Math Formulas

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Oct 10, 2015 1:00:00 PM

SAT Math

On average, you’ll need to use an SAT math formula once every four to five questions. This accounts for approximately 20-25% of the combined math sections, which means it is crucial that you understand how and when to employ your formulas on the SAT.

We’ve put together the list of your need-to-know SAT formulas (prioritized in the order from greatest to least that you’ll see them on the SAT) as well as how to best use them for test-day.

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Coordinate Geometry and Points on SAT Math: Complete Guide

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Oct 3, 2015 1:30:00 PM

SAT Math

Coordinate geometry is one of the heavy-hitter topics on the SAT, and you'll need to be able to maneuver your way through its many facets in order to take on the variety of questions you'll see on the test. Luckily, though, coordinate geometry is not difficult to visualize or wrap your head around once you know the basics. And we are here to show you how.

There will usually be two questions on any given SAT that involve points alone, and another 2-3 questions that will involve lines and slopes and/or rotations, reflections, or translations. This makes up a significant portion of your SAT math section, so it is a good idea to understand the ins and outs of coordinate geometry before you tackle the test.

This will be your complete guide to points and the building blocks for coordinate geometry—how to find and manipulate points, distances, and midpoints, as well as strategies for solving these types of questions on test day.

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Algebra Functions on ACT Math: Lesson and Practice Questions

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Sep 27, 2015 10:30:00 AM

ACT Math

Functions. Just hearing the word is enough to send some students running for the hills. But never fear! Though function problems are considered some of the more challenging questions on the ACT, this is only due to the fact that most of you will be far more used to dealing with other math topics (like fractions, exponents, or circles) than you are functions.

On the ACT, question difficulty is categorized by how familiar you are likely to be with any given question, and the only way to combat this challenge is to practice and get used to dealing with questions that are a little less familiar to you. You will generally see 3-4 function questions on any given ACT, so for those of you who are not yet comfortable with functions (or just want a tune up), this guide is for you.

This will be your complete guide to ACT functions. We'll walk you through exactly what functions mean, how to use, manipulate, and identify them, and exactly what kind of function problems you'll see on the ACT.

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Triangles on ACT Math: Geometry Guide and Practice Problems

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Sep 20, 2015 1:00:00 PM

ACT Math

If you thought the ACT was a big fan of circles, then brace yourself for its absolutely shameless love of triangles. In one breath, you may be expected to find the various dimensions of an obtuse triangle, and the next, an isosceles right triangle. ACT triangle problems will be as numerous as they are varied, so make sure you familiarize yourself with all the different types before test day.

This will be your complete guide to ACT triangles--the types of triangles that will show up on the ACT, the formulas you’ll need to know to solve them, and the strategies you’ll need to apply when approaching a triangle question. We’ll also break down real ACT math problems and give you the walk-throughs on how to most efficiently and effectively tackle any and all triangle problems you come up against.

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Reflections, Translations, and Rotations on SAT Math: Coordinate Geometry Guide

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Sep 19, 2015 7:00:00 PM

SAT Math

If it's always been a dream of yours to shift around graphs and points on the $x$ and $y$ axes (and why not?), then you are in luck! Points, graphs, and shapes can be manipulated in the coordinate plane to your heart's content. Want to scoot that triangle a little to the left? Flip it? Spin it? With reflections, rotations, and translations, a lot is possible.

This will be your complete guide to rotations, reflections, and translations of points, shapes, and graphs on the SAT—what these terms mean, the types of questions you'll see on the test, and the tips and formulas you'll need to solve these questions in no time.

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Systems of Equations on ACT Math: Algebra Strategies and Practice Problems

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Sep 16, 2015 6:30:00 PM

ACT Math

If you’ve already tackled your single variable equations, then get ready for systems of equations. Multiple variables! Multiple equations! (Whoo!) Even better, systems of equations questions will always have multiple methods with which to solve them, depending on how you like to work best.

So let us look not only at how systems of equations work, but all the various options you have available to solve them.

This will be your complete guide to systems of equations questions—what they are, the many different ways for solving them, and how you’ll see them on the ACT.

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Reflections, Rotations, and Translations: ACT Geometry Strategies and Practice

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Sep 12, 2015 1:30:00 PM

ACT Math

Reflections, rotations, translations, oh my! Whether you’re dealing with points or complete shapes on the coordinate plane, you can spin 'em, flip 'em, or move 'em around to your heart’s content. And, often enough, you’ll be asked to do so on the ACT.

This will be your complete guide to rotations, reflections, and translations of points, shapes, and graphs on the ACT—what these terms mean, the types of questions you’ll see on the test, and the tips and formulas you’ll need to solve these questions in no time.

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Sequences on SAT Math: Complete Strategy and Review

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 12, 2015 6:41:00 PM

SAT Math

A series of numbers that follows a particular pattern is called a sequence. Sometimes, each new term is found by adding or subtracting a certain constant, sometimes by multiplying or dividing. So long as the pattern is the same for every new term, the numbers are said to lie in a sequence.

Sequence questions will have multiple moving parts and pieces, and you will always have several different options to choose from in order to solve the problem. We’ll walk through all the methods for solving sequence questions, as well as the pros and cons for each. You will likely see two sequence questions on any given SAT, so keep this in mind as you find your perfect balance between time strategies and memorization.

This will be your complete guide to SAT sequence problems--the types of sequences you’ll see, the typical sequence questions that appear on the SAT, and the best ways to solve these types of problems for your particular SAT test taking strategies.

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Probability Questions on ACT Math: Strategies and Practice

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 11, 2015 4:00:00 PM

ACT Math

What is the probability that you’ll toss a coin and get heads? What about twice in a row? Three times? Probability questions ask you determine the likelihood that an event or any number of events is to occur, and the more you practice, the better your odds will be at mastering these types of questions on the ACT (see what we did there?).

This will be your complete guide to probability on the ACT—how probability works, the different types of probability questions you’ll see on the test, and the steps you’ll need to take to solve them.

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Statistics on ACT Math: Strategies for Mean, Medium, Mode

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 11, 2015 2:00:00 PM

ACT Math

Statistics questions on the ACT are often simpler than the statistics questions you have seen in class. Most all of the statistics questions on the ACT boil down to finding or manipulating means, medians, and modes of a set of numbers.

If you are already familiar with these terms, you will have a good head-start on these types of problems. But even if you aren't familiar with these terms, most of ACT stats questions require that you understand and apply just a few key concepts (all of which we will go through in this guide).

This will be your complete guide to ACT means, medians, and modes—what they mean, how you'll see them on the test, and how to solve even the most complicated of ACT statistics questions.

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