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

When Should You Start Studying for Your AP Exams?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 11:13:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

 

So you’re taking a couple AP classes, they’re going well, and you feel pretty good about most of the material. The exam in May seems a long way off. Do you need to start studying? The answer is, that depends! Every student and every exam is different.

However, my general advice is to start studying no later than the midpoint of the school year. (That would be after winter break for most of you.) Why the midpoint of the year? Keep reading to find out!  

I’ll also discuss how many hours you should plan to prep based on how the course is going and what score you are aiming for. Then I’ll present some strategies for determining how you should balance general conceptual review of the material and dedicated exam prep like taking practice exams. Finally, I’ll make suggestions as to when and how you should study based on overall course subject (math, science, foreign language, and so on.)

Read More

 

What is a DBQ? The Document-Based Question Explained

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 11:09:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

The dreaded DBQ, or “document-based question,” is an essay question type on the AP History exams (AP US History, AP European History, and AP World History).  For the DBQ essay, you will be asked to analyze some historical issue or trend with the aid of the provided sources, or "documents," as evidence. 

The DBQ is an unfamiliar type of in-class essay for many students, but it does not need to be a source of dread or panic. In this guide I'll go over the DBQ's purpose and format, what the documents are and how to use them, how this type of essay is scored, and how to prepare. I'll tell you everything you need to rock this unique type of essay! 

Read More

 

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

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 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.  Are they right?

In this article I will 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 important tips for any self-studier.

Read More

 

A Complete History of AP Classes and Controversies

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 10:44:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

You probably imagine the AP exam program as one of the mysterious primordial forces of the galaxy, along with gravity and taxes. But, in actuality, the AP program is only about 60 years old. From its unabashedly elitist beginnings to its present attempts to democratize advanced high school coursework, read on to discover a brief history of AP classes and exams, some current AP controversies, and some thoughts on the program’s future.

Read More

 

How to Find the Best AP Practice Tests

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 10:34:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

As you begin to prepare for your AP exams, you’ll need to consider which kinds of study tools will help you make the most of your prep time and help you meet your target score.

One of the most important study tools in your arsenal is the AP practice test. This is true no matter which AP exam you’re taking. In this article, I’ll go over why you should use AP practice tests, what roles they can serve in your studying process, and how to find the best AP practice exams for any AP.

Read More

 

AP English Literature Multiple Choice: Complete Expert Guide

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 9:46:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Does the thought of spending an hour answering multiple-choice questions on complex prose and poetry passages strike fear into your heart? The challenge of the AP Literature multiple-choice is enough to give even the most adept reader hives, but don't stress! This guide will serve as your complete roadmap to success on the AP English Literature and Composition multiple-choice section.

Read More

 

The Expert's Guide to the AP European History Exam

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 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! Not to mention, the exam was just revised in 2016, making everything a bit more complicated.

If you need guidance for the AP exam, read on. In this article, I’ll give an overview of the exam, go in-depth on each of its sections, go over how the exam is scored, offer some preparation tips, and finally explain some key things to keep in mind on test day!

Read More

 

Expert Guide to the AP Language and Composition Exam

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 4, 2018 9:42:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

With the 2016 AP English Language and Composition exam approaching on Wednesday, May 11, 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.

Read More

 

64 Great Colleges That Don't Require Essays to Apply

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Nov 2, 2018 12:00:00 PM

College Essays, College Info

If the thought of writing a college essay fills you with terror, you might be wondering: are there any colleges that don’t require essays?

The answer is yes, there are! This guide will give you an overview of colleges that don’t require admissions essays, how to find these schools, and whether you should apply to one or not. We’ll wrap up with a list of 64 colleges with no essay requirement that you can apply to.

Read More

 

Expert's Guide to the AP Literature Exam

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Sep 5, 2018 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 from the test. Whether the 2019 test date of Wednesday, May 8 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!

Read More

 

The 20 Best Graphic Design Schools in the US

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Aug 29, 2018 8:00:00 AM

College Info

Graphic designers are involved in nearly everything we look at, watch, or read, from the designs on books, to the way websites navigate, to halftime commercials, to logos on business cards. Graphic designers are the visual wizards who make sure every concert poster and app user interface has an impact and communicates a desired message. 

If this sounds appealing to you, you might wonder how you can become a graphic designer. Well, you go to school! In this article, I’ll discuss what a graphic design program is, how I created this list, the best graphic design schools, and how to choose the right program for you.

Read More

 

When Are AP Tests? The Complete AP Exam Schedule

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Aug 24, 2018 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.

Read More

 

The Ultimate SAT Literature Subject Test Study Guide

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Aug 22, 2018 7:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Test in Literature, formerly known as the SAT II Literature Exam, is one of the most popular Subject Tests. This might be because you don’t necessarily need specialized knowledge, such as foreign language fluency, to do well on it. However, it also has a reputation for being a fairly difficult test.

Luckily, I—800-scoring sorceress of the SAT Literature Subject Test—am here to take you through all the particulars of the exam. We'll go through whether the exam is right for you, its format and content, its question styles, study hacks, practice resources, and test-day tips. Let’s get the magic started!

Here is a quick guide for those who'd prefer to skip around:

Read More

 

What is the Minimum ACT Score for College?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 12, 2018 6:44:00 PM

SAT/ACT Score Target, ACT General Info

There are a lot of numbers and scores associated with your college applications: GPA. Class rank. Maybe some AP Tests. Standardized test scores. It can be a lot to take in. 

Read More

 

Where to Find the Best DBQ Examples

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jun 22, 2018 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. 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, then provide a list of example essays by course. Lastly, I’ve provided some tips on how to best use sample essays in your own preparation process. 

Read More

 

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!