SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Melissa Brinks

Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

Recent Posts

When Is the August SAT? Should You Take It?

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Feb 28, 2021 8:08:00 PM

SAT Logistics, SAT General Info

As the year begins to transition into fall, you likely have going back to school on the brain. But August is also a great time to take your SAT—you can get it done before application deadlines, it'll give you lots of time to study, and even time to take it again if your score isn't where you'd like it to be.

In this article, we'll give you all the information you need to figure out if the August SAT date is right for you. We'll tell you when it is, when scores are released, and even how to prepare for this test so you can do your best.

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What Is the Specific Heat of Water? How Is It Special?

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Feb 13, 2021 2:00:00 PM

General Education

If you’ve ever walked along a beach on a sunny day and dipped your toes in the water to cool them off after the hot sand, you’ve taken advantage of the specific heat of water.

Despite how it may sound, specific heat doesn’t refer to the exact temperature of something. It’s a larger scientific concept that has to do with the energy it takes to heat a substance up. As you might have noticed from the example, not all substances warm up at the same rate—hence the different temperatures of the sand and water.

Water’s specific heat is one of its most interesting characteristics. In this article, we’ll be covering what specific heat is, what equation you use to find specific heat, and why water’s specific heat is so high.

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The 20 Top Public Universities

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Nov 14, 2020 2:00:00 PM

General Education

Top public universities are often ranked alongside private colleges in lists, but these publicly funded schools can be overlooked for the prestige of private schools. No matter what program you're pursuing or what your dream career is, the best public universities can help you get there!

In this article, we'll be covering what a public university is and our own ranking of the best state schools around the United States, combining criteria from a variety of lists. Ready to learn why a public college may be the right choice for you? Read on!

 

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The 20 Best Writing Contests for High School Students

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Oct 12, 2020 12:00:00 PM

Other High School

If you're a writer—fiction, non-fiction, or fanfiction—you can put those skills to work for you. There are tons of writing contests for high school students, which can award everything from medals to cash prizes to scholarships if you win.

Not only will a little extra money, whether cash or scholarships, help you when it comes time to pay for college, but the prestige of a respected reward is also a great thing to include on your college application.

Read on to learn more about what writing contests for high school students there are, how to apply, and what you could win!

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How to Get Into Columbia: 3 Key Tips

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Oct 5, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Columbia University is a prestigious school, not just because of its low acceptance rate or high starting salary for graduates. It's one of the oldest colleges in the US, and has had huge numbers of well-known graduates, including Founding Fathers, famous directors, and politicians.

Like any Ivy League, Columbia is a place for both education and networking, creating a solid foundation and social circle for your future career. But first, you have to know how to get into Columbia. And with a school and selective as Columbia, that's going to be difficult—but not impossible.

Follow this guide to get your college application in shape for a Columbia acceptance!

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College Transfer Acceptance Rates: Which Schools Accept the Most Students?

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Oct 4, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Transferring from one school to another is a wise or even necessary choice for many students, but it's not without obstacles. College transfer acceptance rates are actually lower than freshman acceptance rates, meaning competition is higher.

This might sound like it's cause for alarm, but, like applying as a freshman, it just means you need to be prepared.

If you need or want to transfer but aren't sure where to go, check out some of the colleges with the best transfer acceptance rates.

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3 Key Tips for Writing Successful Tufts Supplemental Essays

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Oct 4, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

Tufts University has a selective acceptance rate—right around 14 percent in 2020. You'll need a strong application to stand out from other applicants, including stellar essays. Luckily, this guide is here to help you out!

In this blog post, we'll cover everything you need to know about the writing portion of Tufts University's application, including what prompts are available and how to answer them.

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5 Tips for Writing an Amazing Villanova Essay

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Oct 3, 2020 4:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Villanova University is a private, Catholic research university in Pennsylvania. With a 28 percent acceptance rate, it's considered moderately competitive—but even that level of selectiveness has an average GPA just shy of 4.0.

But acceptance to Villanova isn't just about your test scores and GPA; you'll also need to nail the Villanova supplement essay, rounding out your application with a strong representation of yourself.

In this guide, we'll cover all of Villanova's essay prompts and how to best answer them, including potential topics and pitfalls.

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5 Tips to Write an Excellent UCF Application Essay

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Oct 2, 2020 4:00:00 PM

College Essays

The University of Central Florida, commonly known as UCF, is one of the largest colleges in the United States. Over 60,000 students are enrolled at UCF, but that doesn't mean it's super easy to get in—UCF has an acceptance rate of 43 percent, meaning they accept less than half of students who apply.

To set yourself apart from the crowd, you'll want to write a stellar UCF application essay. Don't think that the fact that these essays are optional means they're not important; they're an additional opportunity to show why you'll be a great addition to the student body!

In this guide, we'll cover all the details of the UCF essay prompts, including how to answer them, what UCF is looking for, and a step-by-step guide to make your essay as strong as it can be.

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4 Tips for Writing a Johns Hopkins Essay That Works

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 30, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

Johns Hopkins University is considered one of the top-10 national schools in the United States. As the country's first research university, Johns Hopkins is interested in fostering lifelong learning and research. Although their medical school is perhaps their most famous department, Johns Hopkins has many prestigious programs—and their reputation means that admittance is extremely competitive, with just a 12% acceptance rate.

If you want to join the band of Blue Jays, you'll need to be a stellar student—and you'll need to write a killer Johns Hopkins essay. This guide will walk you through the Johns Hopkins supplement, including best practices for answering the prompt, how to plan your essay, and analyzing essays that got other applicants in.

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SUNY Application Tips: How to Apply, Deadlines, and More

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 19, 2020 7:00:00 PM

College Admissions

The State University of New York system of colleges—commonly known as SUNY—encompasses some 64 different campuses throughout New York. These campuses include research universities, community colleges, and even specific programs housed at other universities like Cornell.

Though this means that students who want to attend SUNY schools have plenty of choices, it also means that the SUNY application can feel something like a maze of options. Which school do you need? Which application should you fill out? Are you applying to one school or many?

If you're thinking of attending one of these 64 schools and need assistance filling out the SUNY application, this guide is here to help. We'll be covering admissions requirements, which schools require supplemental essays, and some helpful information for filling out your application.

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How to Write Amazing Caltech Essays

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 12, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

The California Institute of Technology—or Caltech, as it's more commonly known—is a highly exclusive college. If you want to join the Beavers, you'll need not just top grades and standardized test scores, but strong writing supplements to support them as well.

Caltech accepts around 8% of students who apply, making it an extremely competitive school. The more you know about the Caltech essay prompts before you start, the better prepared you are to answer them.

Read on to learn about 2020's essay prompts, as well as some tips and tricks for maximizing their potential to impress!

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3 Top Tips for Writing Exceptional Georgetown Essays

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 12, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

With an acceptance rate of just 16 percent, Georgetown is ranked as an extremely competitive school. If you want to be a part of the student body, you need to impress, and one of the best opportunities you have to do that is in your Georgetown essays.

Don't let the Georgetown essay prompts intimidate you. Though they may look complicated at first—and they do ask complex questions—some foresight and planning will help you write essays that are sure to impress.

This guide will walk you through the Georgetown essays, giving you a look into the expectations and thought process behind each of the essay prompts.

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How to Write an Excellent "Why Tufts?" Essay

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 12, 2020 11:00:00 AM

College Essays

If you're applying to Tufts University, you should already have an answer to "Why Tufts?" But answering the "Why Tufts?" essay question as part of your application requires more than acknowledgement that it's a good school.

Whether you attend because you want the prestige of attending a well-regarded research university, or because Tufts is one of the best-value colleges in the US, this guide to the "Why Tufts" essay prompts will guide you through the requirements, expectations, and strategies you need to write an exemplary essay.

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5 Tips for Writing a Stellar Vanderbilt Supplement Essay

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Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 9, 2020 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

Vanderbilt is one of the United States' highest-ranked colleges. With an acceptance rate of just 9 percent, it's ranked as extremely competitive. It's no surprise—Vanderbilt is known for having a wealth of appealing programs, including its school of medicine, the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and Blair School of Music.

Because it's extremely competitive, you'll need to set yourself apart as a prospective student. That doesn't mean just your grades and impressive extracurriculars; it also means writing a killer essay to go along with your application.

In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about Vanderbilt's supplemental essay, including some ideal topics, some pitfalls to avoid, and even some analysis of past Vanderbilt essays that have worked.

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