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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

3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Jun 17, 2019 3:00:00 PM

General Education

A narrative essay is one of the most intimidating assignments you can be handed at any level of your education. Where you've previously written argumentative essays that make a point or analytic essays that dissect meaning, a narrative essay asks you to write what is effectively a story.

But unlike a simple work of creative fiction, your narrative essay must have a clear and concrete motif—a recurring theme or idea that you’ll explore throughout. Narrative essays are less rigid, more creative in expression, and therefore pretty different from most other essays you’ll be writing.

But not to fear—in this article, we’ll be covering what a narrative essay is, how to write a good one, and also analyzing some personal narrative essay examples to show you what a great one looks like.


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50 Great Argumentative Essay Topics for Any Assignment

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Jun 11, 2019 8:00:00 AM

General Education

At some point, you’re going to be asked to write an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay is exactly what it sounds like—an essay in which you’ll be making an argument, using examples and research to back up your point.

But not all argumentative essay topics are created equal. Not only do you have to structure your essay right to have a good impact on the reader, but even your choice of subject can impact how readers feel about your work.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of writing argumentative essays, including what argumentative essays are, how to write a good one, and how to pick a topic that works for you. Then check out a list of argumentative essay ideas to help you get started.


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The 9 Most Common Shapes and How to Identify Them

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Jun 10, 2019 1:00:00 PM

General Education

You've probably learned a lot about shapes without ever really thinking about what they are. But understanding what a shape is is incredibly handy when comparing it to other geometric figures, such as planes, points, and lines.

In this article, we'll cover what exactly a shape is, as well as a bunch of common shapes, what they look like, and the major formulas associated with them.

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Announcing Accepted - The PrepScholar College Admissions Podcast

Posted by Melissa Brinks | May 16, 2019 1:27:52 PM

College Admissions

If you love our strategy guides, we have great news: PrepScholar is launching a college admissions podcast! It's hosted by PrepScholar co-founder and Harvard grad Allen Cheng and writer Melissa Brinks.

Download our podcast now at iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and Libsyn (or wherever you get your podcasts).

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

Posted by Melissa Brinks | May 15, 2019 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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How to Say Good Morning in French Correctly

Posted by Melissa Brinks | May 14, 2019 3:00:00 PM

General Education

Who hasn’t dreamed of having breakfast in an adorable French cafe, dipping a croissant into a delicious coffee, and chatting with a new friend over pastries? Only—quelle horreur!—when you go to greet your friend, you suddenly can’t remember how to say “good morning” in French.

In this article, we’ll cover not only how to say “good morning” in French, but how to address the greeting to different people, and even how to say goodbye.

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How to Add and Subtract Fractions: 3 Simple Steps

Posted by Melissa Brinks | May 2, 2019 2:00:00 PM

General Education

Adding and subtracting fractions can look intimidating at first glance. Not only are you working with fractions, which are notoriously confusing, but suddenly you have to contend with converting numerators and denominators, too.

But adding and subtracting fractions is a useful skill. Once you know the vocabulary and the basics, you’ll be adding and subtracting fractions with ease. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know for adding and subtracting fractions, including some example problems to test your skills.

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4 Popular Camel Spider Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Apr 3, 2019 7:00:00 PM

General Education

You’ve no doubt seen pictures of camel spiders before, usually accompanied by a story about deadly bites, camel eating, or chasing people across the desert. Thanks to chain letters, camel spiders have a reputation as being fearsome, terrifying predators—but is that warranted?

In this article, we’ll be covering the facts and fictions of camel spiders, including where they’re found and what they eat, as well as some biological information about how camel spiders fit into their environment. Read on to learn more about camel spiders!

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What Is Muriatic Acid? Is It Dangerous?

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Apr 1, 2019 7:00:00 PM

General Education

Acids get a bad rap—when we hear the word, we often picture some kind of vat of flesh-eating, lime-green liquid. But acids of all kinds, including muriatic acid, have tons of practical uses, and not just for super villains! Homeowners, leatherworkers, and even the pearl industry use muriatic acid on a daily basis.

This guide will cover what muriatic acid is, some common uses for it, and how to handle it safely.

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How Many Seconds Are There in a Day? A Week? A Year?

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Apr 1, 2019 4:00:00 PM

General Education

Ever wondered how many seconds there are in a day? How about a week? A year? Thanks to Rent, we might know the number of minutes in a year (525,600), but how many seconds is that?

Whether you’re trying to get even more granular about how you measure a year or you’re just trying to figure out how many seconds are left until summer vacation, this guide will teach you how many seconds are in a day, a week, a year, and beyond. Not only will we teach you how to calculate these problems, but we’ll also give you a handy chart to keep track of them.

Read on to find out how to swap one unit of time for another!

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Who Is Aleister Crowley? The Truth About His Life and Work

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Mar 26, 2019 3:00:00 PM

General Education

The name “Crowley” has become synonymous with occultism, magic, and secret societies—but who was the man behind it all? Who was Aleister Crowley, really, and why has his name come to be synonymous with esoteric writings?

In this article, we’ll discuss who Crowley was, including his life story, the many controversies he inspired, his connection with the occult, and all his famous writings. If you’ve ever wondered about the inspiration behind characters like Supernatural or Good Omens’ famed demons, it all comes back to one famed occultist.

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2 Tricks for Remembering Greater Than and Less Than Signs

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Mar 3, 2019 1:00:00 PM

General Education

What do those little sideways carat symbols mean? They're inequalities! Inequalities can be difficult to get a handle on, especially because the greater than and less than signs look so similar. But these symbols are very useful, because they help us show the relationship between numbers or equations in a way that doesn't just say that they're equal.

In this article, we’ll be talking about what inequalities are, how they’re represented, and how to remember which sign means what.
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The 20 Most Useful Rhetorical Devices

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

General Education

Rhetoric is the art of effective communication; if you communicate with others at all, rhetorical devices are your friends!

Rhetorical devices help you make points more effectively, and help people understand you better. In this article, I'll be covering some important rhetorical devices so you can improve your own writing! 

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10 Personification Examples in Poetry, Literature, and More

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Mar 1, 2019 12:00:00 PM

General Education

Personification is an important literary device—as a form of metaphor, personification compares two things quickly and efficiently, often in a poetic fashion. But what is it?

In this guide, we’ll discuss what personification is, what it does, and why so many writers use it, as well as a whole bunch of examples to help you get accustomed to identifying personification when you see it.

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How to Get Help With Your College Application

Posted by Melissa Brinks | Feb 21, 2019 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions

College applications can be both difficult and stressful, especially if you don’t have someone in your life who’s familiar with the process. But there are all kinds of resources for college application help—you just have to know where to look.

Not all help with the college application process is created equal. Some are a little too hands-on, which can mean your application doesn’t sound like you. Others may not offer the kind of help you need. When you’re looking for assistance, you need services that help boost your own skills, not ones that do the work for you.

It’s perfectly okay to get college application help. This guide will walk you through some options for assistance, including what you should seek help for, what you shouldn’t, and some of the best places to find reliable assistance with your college application.

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