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

Should You Take Online AP Courses? 12 Pros and Cons

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Jun 5, 2020 5:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

 

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to take online AP courses. Maybe your school doesn't offer all the courses you want to take. Maybe you're homeschooled. Or maybe you want to do a little extra academic work to show colleges what you're passionate about.

But there's a lot to consider before you take the plunge and possibly drop a few hundred dollars on a class. I'll take you through the basic information about online AP courses, some pros and cons, who should consider them, and how to choose classes if you do decide to take an AP course online. Finally, I'll offer some brief blurbs on some of the most popular courses out there.

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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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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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AP Scores in College Admissions: Do They Really Matter?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 12:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP), College Admissions

Since you put so much effort into studying for and taking AP tests, you've likely wondered whether colleges look at AP scores. How is all of your AP prep and effort going to affect your chances of admission to college?

In this guide, we'll illuminate the relationship between AP scores and college admission. We'll also discuss how important AP scores are for your application, how colleges consider these scores, and what being an AP Scholar can mean for your admission chances.

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6 Critical AP Exam Tips to Ace Your Tests

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 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!

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When Should You Start Studying for Your AP Exams?

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 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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A Complete History of AP Classes and Controversies

Posted by Ellen McCammon | Mar 21, 2020 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.

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