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

5 Tips to Write an Excellent UCF Application Essay

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 8, 2019 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 50,000 students are enrolled at UCF, but that doesn't mean it's super easy to get in—UCF has an acceptance rate of 49.9 percent, meaning they accept just under 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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5 Tips for Writing a Stellar Vanderbilt Supplement Essay

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 8, 2019 12:00:00 PM

College Essays

Vanderbilt is one of the United States' highest-ranking colleges. With an acceptance rate of just 10 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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How to Write Amazing Caltech Essays

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 8, 2019 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 2019’s essay prompts, as well as some tips and tricks for maximizing their potential to impress!

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

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 8, 2019 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 Top Tips for Writing Exceptional Georgetown Essays

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 8, 2019 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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SAT Test Dates 2019 - 2020

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 6, 2019 2:00:00 PM

SAT Logistics

If you’re applying to colleges, you need to know the upcoming SAT test dates for 2019 - 2020! Knowing these dates in advance, even if you’re not quite ready to take it yet, gives you all the more time to prepare and prep for your test, and in the SATs, prep is everything.

This article covers the SAT dates for 2019 and 2020, throughout the 2019 to 2020 school year. You can find the previous year’s test dates here, or dates for the future here!

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How to Write a Cursive S: 3 Calligraphy Tips

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Sep 3, 2019 4:00:00 PM

General Education

Learning cursive is learning an entirely new writing system. While it has many similarities to the letters in print writing, cursive is also quite different—and the cursive s is one of the letters that frequently throw people off.

In this article, we’ll show you how to write an uppercase cursive s and lowercase s in cursive. We’ll even get a little inventive and show you how to write a fancy s!


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What Is Political Science? Is It the Right Major for You?

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 29, 2019 12:00:00 PM

General Education

If you love analyzing the state of world governments, combining historical events with modern conflicts, and proposing brilliant new solution to the world’s issues, political science might be the field for you.

But what is political science? This complex field combines history, politics, and scientific reasoning into one big package. Learn more about political science jobs, the political science major, and the field as a whole in this in-depth article!


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The 20 Best Writing Contests for High School Students

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 25, 2019 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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Who Was Queen Victoria? What Was She Famous For?

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 21, 2019 7:00:00 PM

General Education

Queen Victoria of England is one of the most iconic figures of the British monarchy. Plenty of other kings and queens have captivated attention throughout history, but few have done so with the fervor of Queen Victoria, in part because her reign was one of the longest in British history.

Queen Victoria kept diaries from the age of 13. Because of this, we have detailed records of her thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout her reign in a way that we don’t for many other famous leaders. 

The length of her reign was just one piece of why Victoria is still so famous today. In this article, we’ll cover Queen Victoria facts, including her life story, important events in her reign, the Queen Victoria family tree, and why she remains such a popular figure today.


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How to Improve Your Memory: 9 Simple Tips

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 14, 2019 6:00:00 PM

General Education

Forgetfulness happens to all of us. But if you’re struggling to remember things on a regular basis, you may be wondering how to improve your memory in a way that lasts.

In this article, we’ll be covering some memory improvement tips and tricks, including how to manage some common causes of forgetfulness, how to improve your health for better memory, and what behavioral tricks will help you remember things better.


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Interdisciplinary Studies: What Is It? Should You Get a Degree?

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 14, 2019 12:00:00 PM

General Education

Colleges have a wealth of degrees to choose from that can lead you to all different kinds of career paths. But if you’re looking for something more specialized, something that can combine your love for multiple disciplines into one complete package, interdisciplinary studies might be right for you.

If you have questions like what is interdisciplinary studies, what kinds of students will do best in these programs, and how can interdisciplinary studies lead to a great career, read on!


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Understanding Place Value: Decimals, Large Numbers, and Easy Charts

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 12, 2019 3:00:00 PM

General Education

How do you read 4,349,394.382? What does each digit mean? How do you know what number means what?

With place values, that’s how! If you don’t understand how decimal place values work, a number like that can look like a bunch of nonsense. In this article, we’re going to cover what place value is, why you need to know it, and how to work through place value problems to better understand large, complex numbers with ease. 


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11 Easy Steps for How to Draw a Dog

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Aug 4, 2019 3:00:00 PM

General Education

Dogs are cute! Who hasn’t taken a moment to doodle their favorite pooch on the side of their paper before? But like many animals, dogs can be hard to draw well, especially from memory.

If you are trying to up your drawing skill, this guide for how to draw a dog is for you! We’ll cover all the basics of learning to draw animals and dogs in particular, and walk you through drawing a dog step by step.


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The 6 Scientific Method Steps and How to Use Them

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Jul 23, 2019 12:00:00 PM

General Education

When you’re faced with a scientific problem, solving it can seem like an impossible prospect. There are so many possible explanations for everything we see and experience—how can you possibly make sense of them all? Science has a simple answer: the scientific method.

The scientific method is a method of asking and answering questions about the world. These guiding principles give scientists a model to work through when trying to understand the world, but where did that model come from, and how does it work?

In this article, we’ll define the scientific method, discuss its long history, and cover each of the scientific method steps in detail.


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