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

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

 

Every AP Literature Practice Test Available: Free and Official

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 30, 2018 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.

Read More

 

How to Format A College Essay: 15 Expert Tips

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

College Essays

When you’re applying to college, even small decisions can feel high-stakes. This is especially true for the college essay, which often feels like the most personal part of the application. You may agonize over your college application essay format: the font, the margins, even the file format. Or maybe you’re agonizing over how to organize your thoughts overall. Should you use a narrative structure? Five paragraphs?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over the ins and outs of how to format a college essay on both the micro and macro levels. We’ll discuss minor formatting issues like headings and fonts, then discuss broad formatting concerns like whether or not to use a five-paragraph essay, and if you should use a college essay template.

Read More

 

How to Prepare for the SAT: 10-Step Guide

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 14, 2018 12:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies

You know you need to take the SAT. Maybe you’ve even registered. But what now? How do you prepare?

If you’re not sure where to begin or how to prepare for the SAT, this is the guide for you. First we’ll go over what you’ll need to do to prepare for the test. Then, we’ll discuss some methods you might use for preparing for the SAT. We’ll wrap up with some resources that you might find helpful. 

Read More

 

How to Write a DBQ Essay: Key Strategies and Tips

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

The DBQ, or document-based-question, is a somewhat unusually-formatted timed essay on the AP History Exams: AP US History, AP European History, and AP World History. Because of its unfamiliarity, many students are at a loss as to how to even prepare, let alone how to write a successful DBQ essay on test day. 

Never fear! I, the DBQ wizard and master, have a wealth of preparation strategies for you, as well as advice on how to cram everything you need to cover into your limited DBQ writing time on exam day. When you're done reading this guide, you'll know exactly how to write a DBQ.

Read More

 

The 55 AP Language and Composition Terms You Must Know

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 2, 2018 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?

Read More

 

AP Literature Reading List: 127 Great Books for Your Prep

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 1, 2018 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.

Read More

 

The 5 Easiest AP Exams to Self-Study

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 1, 2018 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 things to consider when you make your choice. Then, I’ll list the five easiest APs to self-study. After that, I’ll touch on some other solid self-study choices, and wrap up with a few AP exams you should NOT try to study for on your own.

Read More

 

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

Posted by Ellen McCammon | May 1, 2018 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?

Read More

 

Exactly What to Expect From AP Language Multiple Choice

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Apr 26, 2018 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.

Read More

 

How to Study for AP Exams: 5-Step Plan

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Apr 15, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Preparing for AP exams can feel like a Sisyphean task. On top of keeping up with the demanding coursework and all your other obligations, you have to prepare for a three-hour, multi-part exam?

Yes, you do—but more importantly, you can! If you don’t know how to study for AP exams, this is the guide for you. I’ll cover all the major steps to AP success, including content review, exam skill-building, and prepping for triumph on test day.

Read More

 

6 Critical AP Exam Tips to Ace Your Tests

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Apr 12, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

The most important thing you can do to maximize your chances of getting a 5 on an AP exam is to learn the material. However, it is a standardized test, and there are strategies you can use to maximize your chances of success and make sure your hard work pays off. Keep reading for my top AP exam tips!

Read More

 

The 5 Best SAT Prep Games

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Apr 11, 2018 7:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies

You may have heard of a new trend in test prep: games. That’s right—studying for your SAT by playing computer (and even phone) games! 

If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Most of the SAT prep games out there are pretty bad. However, there are a few games that may genuinely help you with some aspects of your test prep experience—although they won’t do much other than supplement your more typical studying activities like taking practice tests and doing practice problems.

In this article I’ll break down the SAT prep game trend, explain why most prep games won’t help you, describe what makes a good prep game, offer some recommendations for games that will help you, and offer some advice on how to use them.

Read More

 

The 5 Best ACT Prep Games

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Apr 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

ACT Strategies

 
There’s a new craze in test prep: games. Vocab games, math games, reading games— you might think you could study for the entire ACT with just ACT prep games!
 
Unfortunately for you, this is not really true. The majority of ACT practice games are either downright bad or just far less helpful than completing actual ACT practice questions.  

In this article I’ll discuss the prep game trend, explain why most prep games aren’t so great, present some criteria on what makes a good ACT prep game, offer some game recommendations, and lend advice on how to incorporate them into your studying.

Read More

 

How Are SAT Subject Tests Scored?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jan 17, 2018 8:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

Picture this: you sit down to take an SAT Subject Test. You answer somewhere from 50 to 95 questions in an hour. A few weeks later, you log on to your College Board account and see a score for your test on a scale of 200-800. Somehow, the results from your multiple-choice test got turned into this final scaled score. But how did this happen? How are SAT Subject Tests scored?

In this article, I’ll discuss how your raw score for the exam is calculated, how this is converted into your final score, and what SAT Subject Test scoring means for you in terms of setting—and meeting—a target score.

Read More

 

You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:

Twitter and Google+



Ask a Question Below

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