SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Ellen McCammon

Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. She received a BA from Harvard in Folklore and Mythology and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University.

Recent Posts

Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 19, 2020 8:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

With the AP English Language and Composition exam coming up, it's important to find the best practice resources, and that includes practice tests! The AP Language and Composition exam has two sections: a multiple-choice section with 45 questions, and a free-response section with three essay questions—one synthesis prompt, one analysis prompt, and one argument prompt.

But not all AP Lang practice tests are like the real exam, and they aren't all of equal quality. In this guide, I'll break down where you can find official College Board AP Language and Composition practice test resources, other free resources out there, and paid practice tests and questions. I'll also break down which resources are high-quality and how to best incorporate AP English practice tests into your exam preparation.

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When Are AP Tests? The Complete AP Exam Schedule

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 19, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

As the school year starts to wind down, you might be asking yourself: when are AP exams? In this article, I'll break down everything you need to know about the AP exam schedule, including when they usually take place, the specific schedule for this year, what to do if you find yourself in an AP schedule mishap, and how you can leverage the schedule to best plan your studying.

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The Expert's Guide to the AP European History Exam

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 19, 2020 9:45:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

The AP European History course and exam cover the history of Europe from 1450 to the present. That means you'll be asked about everything from the Renaissance to the European Union—it's a lot! In addition, the course has had recent updates, making everything a bit more complicated.

If you need guidance for the AP European History exam, read on. In this article, we'll give you an overview of the exam, take a close look at each of its sections, offer some key preparation tips, and explain some important things to keep in mind on test day.

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Expert Guide to the AP Language and Composition Exam

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 19, 2020 9:42:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

With the 2021 AP English Language and Composition exam happening on Wednesday, May 12, it's time to make sure that you're familiar with all aspects of the exam. In this article, I'll give a brief overview of the test, do a deeper dive on each of the sections, discuss how the exam is scored, offer some strategies for studying, and finally wrap up with some essential exam day tips.

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How to Prepare for the ACT: Ultimate 10-Step Guide

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jun 2, 2020 9:00:00 AM

ACT Strategies

So you need to take the ACT, but you don't anything about it. What now? How do you go about preparing for the test?

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What Is AP Self-Study? Should You Do It?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 25, 2020 10:53:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Did you know that you don't have to take an AP course to take the associated exam? Some people think this means all they need is a prep book, the registration fee, a pencil, and a dream. But are they right?

In this article, we'll go over all the essentials of self-studying for AP exams: what it means, why people self-study, whether or not you should self-study, and five key tips for any self-studier.

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Where to Find the Best DBQ Examples

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 22, 2020 6:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

One of the best ways to prepare for the DBQ (the "document-based question" on the AP European History, AP US History, and AP World History exams) is to look over sample questions and example essays. Doing this will help you to get a sense of what makes a good (and what makes a bad) DBQ response.

That said, not all DBQ essay examples are created equal. I’ll briefly cover what makes a good DBQ example and then provide a list of example essays by course. Lastly, I’ll give you some helpful tips on how to best use sample essays in your own preparation process.

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What Happens If I Miss My AP Exam?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 10:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Sometimes life happens and you end up missing an AP exam. Naturally, since the tests are expensive and you want to take them while the material is still fresh in your mind, you may want to make up the exam.

In this article, I'll go over what to do if you know in advance you won't be able to make your AP exam, what to do in an emergency, how AP late testing works, and situations in which you might not be able to make up the test—and what to do about it.

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The 55 AP Language and Composition Terms You Must Know

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 9:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

One of the competencies you need to develop for AP Language and Composition is a thorough understanding of rhetorical strategies and techniques. This is because you will both be expected to identify these strategies and techniques in the writing of others and to use them in your own writing.

But given the huge number of rhetorical terms there are, how do you know which ones you need to know and understand? Do you need to know what anaphora is? What about synecdoche?

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How to Self-Study for AP Exams: 7-Step Plan

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 9:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP self-study is when you study for an AP exam on your own and then take the AP test without taking the class. This is possible because the College Board does not actually require you to take the class associated with a given AP exam to take the test!

You might be asking yourself: why do people self-study? Is self-studying right for me? Then, once you've decided to self-study, and you've chosen the AP exam you want to study for, you may find yourself wondering how to go about preparing for the test on your own. Where should you start? What do you need to cover? What materials should you use?

Never fear, intrepid self-studiers! My seven-step approach to self-studying, from deciding if self-studying is right for you to taking the exam, will explain exactly how to self-study for an AP test and help you tackle the task ahead of you in a way that is manageable, makes sense, and prepares you for the exam. Onward and upwards!

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AP Literature Reading List: 127 Great Books for Your Prep

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 8:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

A lot of students wonder if there's a specific AP English reading list of books they should be reading to succeed on the AP Literature and Composition exam. While there's not an official College-Board AP reading list, there are books that will be more useful for you to read than others as you prepare for the exam. In this article, I'll break down why you need to read books to prepare, how many you should plan on reading, and what you should read—including poetry.

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Every AP Literature Practice Test Available: Free and Official

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 8:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

When you're studying for your AP Literature Exam, you're going to want to use practice tests and questions to hone your skills. But where can you find AP literature practice tests? And are all practice exams equally useful for you? 

The real exam has 55 multiple-choice questions and three free-response questions, but there are practice tests with every conceivable number and combination of question types.

In this article, you'll learn where to find every official College Board AP English Literature and Composition practice exam, free unofficial tests, and paid practice test resources. You'll also find out which tests are high-quality and how you can best use different practice exams to fulfill your studying needs.

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Expert's Guide to the AP Literature Exam

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 8:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

If you're planning to take the AP English Literature and Composition exam, you'll need to get familiar with what to expect on the test. Whether the 2020 test date of Wednesday, May 13, is near or far, I'm here to help you get serious about preparing for the exam.

In this guide, I'll go over the test's format and question types, how it's graded, best practices for preparation, and test-day tips. You'll be on your way to AP English Lit success in no time!

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Exactly What to Expect From AP Language Multiple Choice

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 6:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Perhaps because the free-response section of the AP Language and Composition exam is worth more than the multiple-choice section, some teachers spend much more time preparing you for free-response than multiple-choice. While it's great to be prepared for the essays, this might leave you feeling like a lost and confused lamb when it comes to the AP English Language and Composition multiple choice section.

But never fear, the guide is here! This guide will give a brief overview of the AP Language and Composition multiple-choice section, the eight question types you can expect to see on the test, three preparation strategies, a slate of AP practice question resources, and finally some tips for success on test day.

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The 5 Easiest AP Exams to Self-Study

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 5:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Once you've decided to self-study for an AP, you'll need to choose an exam that's right for you. With dozens of potential choices, it might seem overwhelming.

I can demystify the choice for you. First, I'll give you four important factors to consider when you make your choice. Then, I'll list the five easiest APs to self-study for. After that, I'll touch on some other solid self-study choices before wrapping up with a few AP exams you should not try to study for on your own.

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