SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Samantha Lindsay

Samantha is a blog content writer for PrepScholar. Her goal is to help students adopt a less stressful view of standardized testing and other academic challenges through her articles. Samantha is also passionate about art and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College as a Studio Art major in 2014. In high school, she earned a 2400 on the SAT, 5's on all seven of her AP tests, and was named a National Merit Scholar.

Recent Posts

The Best AP Biology Books 2018: Full Expert Reviews

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jan 8, 2018 1:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

It’s extremely important to have reliable books for learning and studying the material covered in AP classes. This is particularly true for AP Biology considering the complexity and breadth of the course's content. The format of the AP Biology exam was modified significantly in 2013, and there are some books that have kept up with the changes better than others. In this article, I’ll tell you which books are your best bet for acing AP Biology and which ones you should use only at your own risk!

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What's the Average College GPA? By Major?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jan 4, 2018 5:00:00 PM

Coursework/GPA

If you’re still in high school, you might be curious about how GPAs work in college and what you should expect for grades give your major of choice. Just like high schools, colleges vary in how they calculate GPA.  Grade inflation also significantly affects college GPA at most schools, and many students end up with higher GPAs in college than they had in high school.

In this article, I’ll give you the facts about average GPAs at different types of colleges and within a variety of college majors.

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Which High School Classes Do Ivy League Schools Require?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jan 1, 2018 12:00:00 PM

College Admissions, Coursework/GPA

College admissions can seem like a giant puzzle, especially if you’re hoping to attend an Ivy League or other extremely selective school. Planning your high school schedule carefully is definitely important, but these schools' expectations aren’t as inflexible as you might think they are.

In this article, I’ll provide a concise overview of what Ivy League admission requirements are for high school transcripts and give you some tips on how to map out your classes so you have the best shot at being accepted.

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Do Colleges Use Weighted or Unweighted GPA?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Dec 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Coursework/GPA

High schools may record students' GPAs as weighted or unweighted. But which type of GPA is taken more seriously in the college admissions process?

In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the differences between weighted and unweighted GPAs and tell you which type is more important.

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Exactly How Long Should You Study for the ACT? A 6-Step Guide

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Dec 18, 2017 12:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies

In planning your ACT prep, you probably want to know how long you need to study. Is it weeks or months? Is it dozens of hours or hundreds?

The answer to these questions depends on a variety of factors, including your target score and how comfortable you already are with the test material. There’s no reason to torture yourself with endless studying if your scores are already in the right range for your top choice schools. On the other hand, if you're still pretty far away from the scores you want, you may have to work harder than you think.

In this guide, I'll show you how to figure out how much you need to improve, how many hours you need to spend to get there, and how you should build a study schedule before your next real ACT.

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How Long Should I Study for the SAT? 6 Step Guide

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Nov 28, 2017 5:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies

In planning your SAT prep, you probably want to know how long you need to study. Is it weeks or months? Is it dozens of hours or hundreds?

The answer to these questions depends on a variety of factors, including the scores you are hoping to get and how comfortable you already are with the test material from your general experiences in school and life. There’s no reason to torture yourself with endless SAT studying if your scores are already in the target range for your top choice schools. On the other hand, if you are still pretty far away from the scores you are looking for, you may have to work harder than you think.

In this guide, I'll show you how to figure out how much you need to improve on the SAT, how many hours you need to spend to get there, and how you should build a study schedule before your next real test. Below are the six steps you need to follow to figure out your SAT study plan.

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AP Exams vs SAT Subject Tests: What's More Important?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Nov 20, 2017 12:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests, Advanced Placement (AP)

Many high-achieving students end up taking both SAT Subject Tests and AP Tests during their time in high school. SAT Subject Tests are required for admission to most competitive colleges, and AP Tests and coursework are encouraged. Is one more important than the other? In this article, I’ll give details on how these two types of tests compare to each another and whether it's a good idea to take AP Tests and SAT Subject Tests in the same topic areas.  

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18 ACT Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Score

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Nov 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

ACT Strategies

Looking for some quick fixes to improve your ACT scores? Look no further. In this article, we give you several tips and tricks for the ACT so that you can get your best possible scores on every section.

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The 23 SAT Tips and Tricks You Must Use

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Nov 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

SAT Strategies

Studying for the SAT is a big undertaking, and you might not know where to start. A good way to get yourself into gear is to learn about the structure of the test and different ways you can adapt your strategy to improve on each section. In this article, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of the top 23 tips (broken down by section) that you should be using to get your best scores ever on the SAT.

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The Ultimate AP Chemistry Study Guide

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Nov 2, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Studying for the AP Chemistry exam is a challenging undertaking. There are so many different topics and types of problems that you're expected to master, some of which you might not have fully understood in your class.

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Every AP Biology Practice Test Available: Free and Official

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Nov 1, 2017 11:30:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Practice tests can help you get familiar with the structure of the AP Biology exam and feel more comfortable with the types of questions you'll be expected to answer on test day. Studying with practice tests can also give you insight into the specific struggles you might have with the material as presented on the AP test. You can then focus your studying appropriately to tackle these problems.

In this article, I'll list all the practice tests for AP Biology that you can find online and give you a few tips on how to use them effectively as study aids for both the AP test and any in-class tests you have throughout the school year. 

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What's a Weighted GPA? How to Calculate It

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Oct 16, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Coursework/GPA

Your weighted GPA in high school tells colleges a lot about your ability to take on academic challenges. In this article, I’ll go through a basic description of what a weighted GPA is, why it matters for you, and how you can calculate your own weighted GPA if your school uses this type of scale.

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ACT Hand Scoring: Should You Order It?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Oct 11, 2017 10:00:00 PM

ACT General Info

Did your ACT scores seem way out of whack? Enough that you think there was an error in the scoring process? It’s possible to get your test rescored manually for a fee. 

Read on to find out why you might decide to use ACT Score Verification (also known as ACT Hand Scoring) and how you can order it.

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Colleges With Guaranteed Admission for SAT/ACT Scores

Some colleges will guarantee admission to applicants who meet certain requirements for test scores and GPA. These schools are good choices for students who are looking for sure bets in the college application process.

In this guide, I've compiled every single school that offers guaranteed admission based on SAT/ACT scores, along with other requirements like residency and GPA. If you're lucky, you'll fit the criteria at one or more of these colleges and be 100% certain of your acceptance if you choose to apply.

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ACT Test Information Release: Should You Order It?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Oct 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM

ACT General Info

If you’re hoping to find out more information about your ACT scores or use your test as a study aid, you should think about ordering Test Information Release. I’ll go through what’s included in TIR, why you should strongly consider ordering it, and how to order it for your test.

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