SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Dr. Anna Wulick

Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

Recent Posts

How to Write a Perfect "Why This College" Essay

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Sep 1, 2019 5:00:00 PM

College Essays

Did you think you were all done pouring out your blood, sweat, and tears in written form for your personal statement, only to be faced with the "why this college" supplemental essay? This question might seem simple but is in fact a crucial and potentially tricky part of many college applications. What exactly is the "why us" essay trying to understand about you? And how do you answer this question without falling into its many pitfalls or making any rookie mistakes?

In this article, I'll explain why colleges want you to be able to explain why you are applying. I'll also discuss how to generate and brainstorm topics for this question and how to make yourself sound sincere and committed. Finally, we'll go over some "why this school" essay do's and don'ts.

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The Best Colleges With Low GPA Requirements

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Aug 25, 2019 9:22:00 PM

College Admissions, Coursework/GPA

Do you have a low GPA? Are you wondering what colleges you can get into despite your low GPA?

Out of all the schools in the country, we've compiled a complete list of colleges with low GPA requirements and ranked the best ones. Even if you have a low GPA, that doesn't mean a great education is out of reach for you. Keep reading to figure out what your options are for higher education.

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Which Common App Essay Prompt Should You Choose?

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Aug 25, 2019 8:30:00 AM

College Essays

On the one hand, the fact that the Common Application has five essay prompts to choose from is great news! No matter what your story, you’re sure to find a good fit. On the other hand, having five prompts means you can write five different kinds of essays, each with its own potential pitfalls and clichés to steer around.

In this article, I’ll outline two totally different approaches to figuring out which Common App essay prompt is right for you and help you brainstorm possible ideas for each. I'll also talk about what makes great college essays great, and give examples of what you want to avoid when crafting your essay.

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120 College Essay Examples for 14 Schools + Expert Analysis

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Aug 11, 2019 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions, College Essays

The personal statement might just be the hardest part of your college application. Mostly this is because it has the least guidance and is the most open-ended. One way to understand what colleges are looking for when they ask you to write an essay is to check out the essays of students who already got in—college essays that actually worked. After all, they must be among the most successful of this weird literary genre.

In this article, I'll go through general guidelines for what makes great college essays great. I've also compiled an enormous list of 100+ actual sample college essays from 14 different schools. Finally, I'll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to 120 full essays and essay excerpts, this article will be a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

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How to Write a Perfect UC Essay for Every Prompt

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Aug 4, 2019 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

If you're applying to any University of California campus as an incoming freshman, then you have a special challenge ahead of you. Applicants need to answer four UC personal insight questions, chosen from a pool of eight unique prompts different from those on the Common App. But not to worry! This article is here to help.

In this article, I'll dissect the eight UC essay prompts in detail. What are they asking you for? What do they want to know about you? What do UC admissions officers really care about? How do you avoid boring or repulsing them with your essay?

I'll break down all of these important questions for each prompt and discuss how to pick the four prompts that are perfect for you. I'll also give you examples of how to make sure your essay fully answers the question. Finally, I'll offer step-by-step instructions on how to come up with the best ideas for your UC personal statements.

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Important: Read This Before Sending ACT Scores to Colleges

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jul 21, 2019 5:30:00 PM

ACT General Info, ACT Logistics


No college application is complete without test scores. But sending scores to colleges doesn't have to be a confusing and frustrating process! Read this article to understand all the options for sending out your ACT scores, to get help with the many decisions you will have to make, and to know what to do if you run into problems.

I'll describe the basic process of how to send ACT scores, how to take full advantage of the ACT's individual score reporting, when to send scores, and how to make sure your scores don't get lost. At the same time, I'll go through the pros and cons of every option and suggest a recommended course of action. 

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Important: Read This Before You Send SAT Scores to Colleges

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jul 14, 2019 9:00:00 AM

SAT Logistics, SAT General Info

No matter how stellar your transcript, no matter how mastered your extracurricular activities, no matter how lyrical your essay—no application is complete without your SAT scores.

So how do you make sure your SAT scores are sent properly, at the right time, and with only the scores you are most proud of? Read on for our best advice on the decisions you'll be faced with and what to do in case something goes wrong.

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How to Write Perfect ApplyTexas Essays

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jun 30, 2019 8:00:00 AM

College Essays

The ApplyTexas college application contains many essay prompts, and each of the most popular colleges in Texas has different requirements for which essays they expect applicants to answer.

So how do you get advice on writing your best ApplyTexas essays, no matter which school you're applying to? Look no further than this article, which completely unpacks all possible ApplyTexas essay prompts. We'll explain what each prompt is looking for and what admissions officers are hoping to learn about you. In addition, we'll give you our top strategies for ensuring that your essay meets all these expectations, and help you come up with your best essay topics.

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Free Older Official ACT Practice Tests

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 19, 2019 12:30:00 PM

ACT General Info

There’s one thing that every student studying for the ACT definitely needs: practice tests that are almost identical to what you will face on your test day. No matter how else you study, we've found that most students really benefit from practicing by taking the full ACT test several times in as close to test-taking conditions as possible. This is the best way to get comfortable with the format, timing and pace, your own endurance, and ways to manage your stress.

So how do you get your hands on enough ACT tests to put yourself in the hot seat for practice? In this article, I’ll link to all the official tests and question sets released by ACT, and give you suggestions on where to find others, so that you have more than enough practice materials to get ready for the ACT.

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What Is the Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE)?

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 5, 2019 11:11:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP), Coursework/GPA

For students looking for a more challenging high school experience or for a chance to earn college credit, many high schools offer advanced college-level programs. The newest one of these is the Cambridge AICE, an international diploma program created via the University of Cambridge in England.

Curious about whether this program is right for you? In this article, I'll explain the AICE approach, the coursework necessary to get the diploma, and how it compares to AP and IB classes.

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8+ Free Old Official SAT Practice Tests

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Apr 28, 2019 12:30:00 PM

SAT Strategies, SAT Writing, SAT Reading, SAT Math, New SAT

In March 2016, the SAT underwent a complete redesign, concentrating more on testing reasoning skills than on obscure vocabulary knowledge

So how do you study for the SAT now that there just aren't that many practice tests available? After all, there’s nothing quite like taking actual official SAT tests to get you ready for the real thing. The good news is that many of the questions that appeared on the old SAT format are still completely relevant and a great resource for practicing your skills!

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Best Analysis: The American Dream in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Mar 17, 2019 11:00:00 PM

Book Guides

The Great Gatsby is a tragic love story on the surface, but it's most commonly understood as a pessimistic critique of the American Dream. In the novel, Jay Gatsby overcomes his poor past to gain an incredible amount of money and a limited amount of social cache in 1920s NYC, only to be rejected by the "old money" crowd. He then gets killed after being tangled up with them.

Through Gatsby's life, as well as that of the Wilsons', Fitzgerald critiques the idea that America is a meritocracy where anyone can rise to the top with enough hard work. We will explore how this theme plays out in the plot, briefly analyze some key quotes about it, as well as do some character analysis and broader analysis of topics surrounding the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.

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(Updated Guide) Weighted GPA Calculator

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Mar 17, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Coursework/GPA

Most likely, during high school you've taken a mix of classes: some honors, some standard, and some APs. The weighted GPA reflects that those classes have different difficulty levels. So what's the easiest way to figure out what your weighted GPA is? We have two great methods to calculate it!

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What Are College Prep Courses and Classes?

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Nov 4, 2018 11:08:00 AM

Coursework/GPA


 

College prep is a confusing term because it can refer to three different things!

Sometimes, calling something a college prep class is just a way to differentiate it from remedial classes on the one hand, and honors/AP classes on the other. Other times, college prep is a way of describing a bunch of government or private programs that are designed to increase access to college for those who would ordinarily be unlikely to go. And finally, college prep is a short name for high schools that place an overwhelming emphasis on getting their students into college.

But don’t worry. Whether you want to read about standard high school classes, learn about programs that will make college easier, or are curious about public and private high schools that really stress college admission, you've come to the right place.

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What Classes Should You Take in High School? Expert Advice

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Nov 4, 2018 11:08:00 AM

Coursework/GPA

Figuring out which classes you should take in high school is complicated! Not only do you have to navigate your school’s requirements and college expectations, but you also have to take your own interests, abilities, and life into account. Because there are so many different questions you have to answer and decisions you have to make, it helps to start the planning process early.

We will help you get a big picture perspective of what you are high school classes will look like, and breakdown the details of the various requirements, the kinds of choices you will have to make, and the exciting possibilities you will get to explore! If you're wondering what classes to take in high school, this guide should be a great launching point to figuring out your own personal plan.

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