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

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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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Where to Find the Best DBQ Examples

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 29, 2021 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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Every AP Literature Practice Test Available: Free and Official

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 28, 2021 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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AP Literature Reading List: 127 Great Books for Your Prep

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 1, 2021 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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How to Study for AP Exams: 5-Step Plan

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 1, 2021 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.

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How to Find the Best AP Practice Tests

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Feb 25, 2021 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.

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The 5 Easiest AP Exams to Self-Study

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Feb 21, 2021 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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When Should You Start Studying for Your AP Exams?

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Feb 21, 2021 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.)

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Does the SAT Essay Matter? Expert Guide

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Dec 26, 2020 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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What's the Minimum SAT Score for College?

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Oct 10, 2020 7:00:00 PM

SAT/ACT Score Target, SAT General Info

Preparing for college applications can feel confusing, overwhelming, and demanding. If you're nervous about the SAT (or college admissions in general), you might be worried about how low of a test score you can afford to get to still have a shot at college. You might even be wondering how low of a score on the SAT is even possible.

In this article, we'll discuss the lowest possible SAT score and why it's unlikely to happen to you. We'll also offer advice on determining the lowest SAT score you can get to still have a reasonable chance at a given school, and what that means in terms of choosing which schools to apply for and what score to aim for. Finally, we'll go over some things you can do if your score seems too low for any of the colleges you want to attend.

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SAT Subject Test Math 1 vs Math 2: Which Should I Take?

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Posted by Ellen McCammon | Oct 8, 2020 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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