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

Important: Read This Before Sending ACT Scores to Colleges

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jul 11, 2020 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 11, 2020 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 28, 2020 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 | Jun 4, 2020 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 test day. No matter how you study, we've found that most students really benefit from taking a full ACT practice test several times in as close to official test-taking conditions as possible. This is the best way to get comfortable with the pace, timing, and format of the exam, and to work on both your endurance and stress-management techniques.

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

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How to Write a Perfect UC Essay for Every Prompt

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | May 31, 2020 12:15:00 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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What Is High School Honors? Societies and Classes

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Apr 12, 2020 7:12:00 PM

Coursework/GPA

High school honors can mean a lot of different things. Sometimes it refers to honors courses in your school. Other times it refers to specific honors societies that you can join, like the National Honor Society.

Most high schools offer classes at three different levels: standard, honors, and AP. Standard will set you up with the basics, and AP is clearly connected to the AP exam—but what exactly does it mean when a class is honors level? And are honors classes connected to the various academic honors societies?

If you are having trouble figuring out which is the right fit for you, or deciding which one would do more for your college application, or trying to make sense of the many honors organizations out there, read on for our explanation.

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How Do You Calculate Your GPA? Step-by-Step Instructions

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Feb 29, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Coursework/GPA

How exactly do you take a document that's as complicated as your transcript and shrink it all down to a single number? If you're wondering how to use the final grades you've gotten in high school to determine your GPA, then you've come to the right place. This article will show you how to make this calculation, step by step. But first, what exactly is a GPA?

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How GPA Conversion Works, With Charts

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 29, 2020 1:30:00 PM

Coursework/GPA

Because final class grades in high school are usually given as either letters (A-, B+, etc.) or percents (87, 92, etc.), you might be a little stuck on how to convert these marks into the decimals that are used to calculate your GPA. No worries—this article is here to help! Keep reading to see how to translate all your grades into GPA-ready numbers.

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GPA Chart: Conversion to 4.0 Scale

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 23, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Coursework/GPA

Are you looking for an easy way to understand just how your final class grades become GPA decimals? If so, then you've come to the right article. In just two simple charts, I'll show you how this conversion works for both a weighted and unweighted GPA.

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Best Character Analysis: Myrtle Wilson - The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 13, 2020 4:00:00 PM

Book Guides

In most books and movies, the "other woman"—the woman having an affair with a married man—is often painted as a villain. But what about in The Great Gatsby, a novel in which both married women (Myrtle Wilson and Daisy Buchanan) are having affairs? Especially given that one (Daisy) ends up killing the other (Myrtle), is Myrtle just a one-note "other woman," or is there more to her?

Myrtle's role in the story isn't as large as Daisy's, Gatsby's, or Tom's. However, she is crucial to the plot of the story, and especially to its tragic conclusion. Find out more about Myrtle's role in Gatsby in this guide!

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Best Analysis: Eyes of TJ Eckleburg in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 13, 2020 4:00:00 PM

Book Guides

In The Great Gatsby, in the middle of a strange, gray landscape, hovers a giant billboard of eyes without a face—the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. It's a creepy image, and the fact that several characters seem disturbed by it means that it is very significant in the novel. But did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald didn't make up this advertisement? If you image search "oculist shop sign," you'll see that this disembodied eyes thing was a pretty standard way to advertise places that sold glasses!

So how does The Great Gatsby transform what would have a reasonable everyday image into a sign of the macabre? And why does this billboard affect the characters who see them so much? In this article, I'll talk about the places where the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg are mentioned in the novel, explain their symbolic meaning, connect them with the novel's themes and characters, and also give you some jumping-off points for writing essays.

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Best Analysis: Love and Relationships in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 13, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Book Guides

Love, desire, and sex are a major motivators for nearly every character in The Great Gatsby. However, none of Gatsby's five major relationships is depicted as healthy or stable.

So what can we make of this? Is Fitzgerald arguing that love itself is unstable, or is it just that experiencing love and desire the way the characters do is problematic?

Gatsby's portrayal of love and desire is complex. So we will explore and analyze each of Gatsby's five major relationships: Daisy/Tom, George/Myrtle, Gatsby/Daisy, Tom/Myrtle, and Jordan/Nick. We will also note how each relationship develops through the story, the power dynamics involved, and what each particular relationship seems to say about Fitzgerald's depiction of love.

We will also include analysis of important quotes for each of the five major couples. Finally, we will go over some common essay questions about love, desire, and relationships to help you with class assignments.

Keep reading for the ultimate guide to love in the time of Gatsby!

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Best Character Analysis: George Wilson - The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 13, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Book Guides

When you think about The Great Gatsby's major characters, George Wilson is often the last to come to mind. Compared to his voluptuous wife, Myrtle, Tom, Daisy, Jordan, and, of course, the titular Gatsby himself, pale-faced, shrinking, passive George can almost escape your memory—and perhaps he entirely would if he didn't turn out to be one of the novel's most crucial characters.

George has the least "page time" of the seven major characters, but is important because of the crucial role he plays in the novel's conclusion. Because of this, we don't know quite as much about George's personality, motivations, or characteristics as we do about other characters.

This guide goes over what we do know about George and explains why he is so important. Read on to learn more about the man underneath the ash.

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Best Summary and Analysis: The Great Gatsby, Chapter 1

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 13, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Book Guides

In The Great Gatsby, Chapter 1, the table is set, both figuratively and literally. Figurative table setting includes meeting our narrator, Nick Carraway, and getting a sense of the wealthy Long Island neighborhood where the novel will take place. Literal table setting—well, that’s the dinner Nick has with his cousin Daisy, her husband Tom, and their friend (and Nick’s eventual love interest) Jordan Baker.

Keep reading to learn more about what happens in this chapter, understand how it touches on the novel’s main themes, and see close readings of key quotations!

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Best Analysis: Green Light in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Jan 13, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Book Guides

One of the most arresting images in The Great Gatsby is Nick's vision of Gatsby stretching his arms out towards a small green light on the opposite shore of the bay. The mysterious, almost mystical nature of this gesture is a sure-fire sign that this green light is a symbol.

What is a symbol? It's something that is given extra meaning beyond itself. Something that stops being simply an everyday object, and instead represents thoughts and ideas that are bigger than itself.

What are the abstract ideas behind the green light in The Great Gatsby? Read on to see where this symbol pops up in the novel, what themes it is connected to, which characters are most closely associated with it, and some ideas for essay topics on this symbol.

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