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

The Best College Essay Length: How Long Should It Be?

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Sep 14, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

Figuring out your college essay can be one of the most difficult parts of applying to college. Even once you've read the prompt and picked a topic, you might wonder: if you write too much or too little, will you blow your chance of admission? How long should a college essay be?

Whether you're a terse writer or a loquacious one, we can advise you on college essay length. In this guide, we'll cover what the standard college essay length is, how much word limits matter, and what to do if you aren't sure how long a specific essay should be.

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The Best (and Worst) Online AP Courses, Reviewed

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Sep 9, 2021 5:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online AP courses. So how are you supposed to find the best one for you?

To help you sort through your options, I'll quickly go over what makes a good online AP course. Then I'll discuss the best-reviewed online AP courses, some popular online AP class providers, and wrap up with some classes that you should avoid.

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64 Great Colleges That Don't Require Essays to Apply

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Sep 2, 2021 12:00:00 PM

College Info, College Essays

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.

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When Are AP Tests? The Complete AP Exam Schedule

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Aug 11, 2021 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 20 Best Graphic Design Schools in the US

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Aug 6, 2021 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.

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How Are SAT Subject Tests Scored?

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Aug 3, 2021 8:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

In the past, you may have been asked to take an SAT Subject Test in a particular subject as part of the college admissions process. These tests covered single subjects, like World History or Physics, consisted of 50 to 90 questions, and were graded on a scale of 200-800.

International students will still be able to take SAT Subject Tests through June 2021. We'll explain why, and we'll also provide scoring information for international students who'll be taking the exam. We'll wrap things up with some tips for deciding when and whether you should send your SAT Subject Test scores to colleges.

However, after June 2021, SAT Subject Tests will no longer be offered for students in the U.S. and international students. We'll go over what these changes mean for U.S. students and international students below.

There's a lot to cover, so let's get started!

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What Is an AP Test Perfect Score? Do You Need One?

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 28, 2021 3:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

If you read your local newspaper, you might have seen an article about someone from your area getting a perfect score on an AP exam. But what is an AP test perfect score, and how is it different from a 5?

Keep reading to find out what an AP exam perfect score is, what it means, how many students get one, and if it's a goal you should be aiming for.

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Does the SAT Essay Matter? Expert Guide

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 15, 2021 8:00:00 PM

SAT Essay

In days of yore, the SAT Essay was very different. For starters, it was a required portion of the exam, scored as part of the writing section. You had a measly 25 minutes to give and support your opinion on such deep philosophical issues as the importance of privacy or whether people perform better when they can use their own methods to complete tasks.

Things are very different now. Along with the SAT itself, the SAT Essay has been completely revamped and revised. Among other things, it is now an optional portion of the exam. In light of this SAT Essay renovation, many schools will no longer require that students take the SAT Essay when they take the exam.

But what do all these changes mean for you? Is the SAT Essay important? Read on for a breakdown of the new SAT changes, information on which schools continue to require the SAT Essay, why schools do and don’t require this portion of the exam, and how to figure out if the SAT Essay is necessary or important for you.

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Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 11, 2021 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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Exactly What to Expect From AP Language Multiple Choice

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 11, 2021 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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AP English Literature Multiple Choice: Complete Expert Guide

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 11, 2021 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 fully-updated guide will serve as your complete roadmap to success on the AP English Literature and Composition multiple-choice section.

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The Expert's Guide to the AP European History Exam

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 4, 2021 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

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jul 2, 2021 9:42:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

With the 2022 AP English Language and Composition exam happening on Tuesday, May 10, 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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SAT Subject Test Math 1 vs Math 2: Which Should I Take?

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jun 18, 2021 8:30:00 AM

SAT Subject Tests

If you're considering taking SAT Subject Tests and math is a strong subject for you, you'll need to decide which SAT Subject Test in math to take. There are two Math SAT Subject Tests: Math 1 and Math 2 (also written as Math Level 1 and Math Level 2, or Math I and Math II).

Math 2 is meant for students with more high school math coursework and covers a broader range of topics than Math 1 does. Other than that, the two tests are pretty similar: both have 50 multiple-choice questions and a 60-minute time limit.

In this article, I'll go over what's covered in Math 1, what's covered in Math 2, their similarities and differences, whether Math 1 is easier than Math 2, and how to choose which Subject Test to take.

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The Ultimate SAT Literature Subject Test Study Guide

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jun 17, 2021 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!

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