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

Can You Retake AP Exams? Expert Guide

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | May 3, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Most AP tests are very challenging, and scores don't always turn out the way you imagined they would. If you're concerned that you've forfeited any chance of getting college credit, can you retake an AP exam? In this article, I'll show you how you can bounce back from a low AP score to end up with college credits and AP Scholar Awards.

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The Best College Search Websites, Reviewed (Top 10)

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | May 2, 2018 8:00:00 AM

College Admissions

Not sure where to begin your college research? There are tons of online resources to help students match up with the right schools. In this article, I'll outline ten of the best sites to conduct your college search and then explain how to get started researching colleges using three of the best sites. Within each section, the sites are ordered from the absolute best to those that are still good but not #1.

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How to Register for SAT Subject Tests: Step-by-Step Guide

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | May 1, 2018 4:00:00 PM

SAT Subject Tests

You might be required or strongly encouraged to take SAT Subject Tests if you're applying to highly selective colleges. Thankfully, registering for SAT Subject Tests is just as easy as registering for the regular SAT. It might take a bit more planning to verify that the test you want is being offered on a certain test date, but otherwise the process is similar.

In this article, I’ll go through, step by step, how to register for Subject Tests so you don’t run into any confusion along the way.

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The Expert's Guide to the AP Psychology Exam

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 19, 2018 7:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Taking AP Exams can be stressful, but if you know what to expect on test day, you can eliminate a lot of that anxiety. The AP Psychology exam is one of the more popular AP tests, and it has a pretty straightforward format and scoring system. In this article, I'll tell you what's on the AP Psychology test, how it's graded, and which prep methods you should use to get a great score. 

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15 Last Minute SAT Tips You Should Remember

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 18, 2018 6:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies

You only have a couple days before the SAT (or maybe less than a day!), and you’re determined to ace this test! Whether you're looking for last-minute study tips, advice on how to prepare the day of the test, or test-taking strategies to maximize your scores, I've got you covered. 

Here are a bunch of handy last minute SAT tips that will help you stay focused and raise your scores.

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What Is a Good GPA? What's a Bad GPA for College?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 13, 2018 7:30:00 AM


If you’re starting to think about your plans for college, you might be wondering what is considered a good high school GPA or a bad high school GPA in the eyes of admissions officers. This is a complicated question, and it depends on several factors that colleges will take into consideration.

In this article, I’ll give you some perspective on what a good GPA and a bad GPA are based on national statistics and your individual circumstances. I’ll also provide advice on the best ways to improve your GPA.

Your coursework and GPA are one of the most important pieces to your college application - some colleges consider it your MOST important factor - so make sure you do your research and know where you fit in.

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The 5 Best AP World History Books for Practice and Review

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 12, 2018 7:00:00 PM

Advanced Placement (AP)

It's hard to know where to begin when studying for AP World History. Though the exam mainly covers broad themes and trends, there's so much information to sift through that it can be easy to get lost in the weeds. Review books can help guide your study plan, ensure that you revisit the most important concepts, and provide critical test-taking strategies.

In this article, I'll go through the best books to use for studying AP World History and how you can choose one that will give you the tools you need to ace this test.

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How to Do College Research Right: Step-by-Step Guide

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 11, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, College Info

College research can be an overwhelming task, and it’s not easy to know where to begin. In this article, I’ll help you sort through your options and find your dream college.

If you work through the following four steps, you'll be well on your way to compiling a list of schools that fulfill all your most important criteria:

  • Identify your priorities
  • Search with an online college finder
  • Consider your chances of admission
  • Finalize your list

In the next few sections, we'll cover how to research colleges in a straightforward and effective way.

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The Expert's Guide to the AP Chemistry Exam

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 10, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP Chemistry is a challenging subject, and many students feel nervous about taking on the exam at the end of the school year. But if you have a sense of what to expect on the AP Chemistry test well in advance, you'll be able to prepare appropriately for it.

In this guide, I'll lay out the structure and content of the AP Chemistry exam, give you examples of different types of questions you'll see on it, and tell you how to study effectively for it!

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14 Last Minute ACT Tips You Should Use

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 5, 2018 12:00:00 PM

ACT Strategies

Wondering what you can do to boost your performance on the ACT with only a couple days to prepare?

Here are some last minute ACT tips that will help raise your scores and keep you at your best during the test.

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The Best AP Biology Study Guide

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Apr 4, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)

Studying for AP Biology is a big undertaking, and it can seem pretty overwhelming at first. However, if you get an early start and have the right strategies and tools at your disposal, you stand a strong chance of getting a great score on the test. In this complete AP Biology study guide, my goal is to provide you with all the resources you need to carry out a focused, effective study plan. I'll provide you with all the information you need to begin your journey to a 5 (nope, it's not too ambitious!). 

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

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Mar 22, 2018 12:00:00 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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What's the Difference? Weighted vs Unweighted GPA

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Mar 8, 2018 8:00:00 PM


Most students think a lot about their GPA in high school. There’s no doubt that GPA is one of the most important pieces of information colleges will consider in your application. However, GPA can vary drastically in the way it’s calculated at different schools. Some high schools use unweighted GPAs and some use weighted GPAs. I’ll give you an overview of the differences between the two and what each type of GPA might mean in the context of your personal experiences.

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What's the Average High School GPA?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Mar 8, 2018 4:00:00 PM


Nearly all high school students have, at some point, wondered whether their GPAs are good or not. One way of knowing is to look at the national averages. What is the average high school GPA? Is your GPA above average? How do you compare with all the other high school students in the country? 

In this article, I'll give you an overview of the national averages for high school GPA so that you can see where you stand. I’ll also tell you what these averages mean for you and how to understand them better in the context of the college application process.

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Colleges With Guaranteed Admission for SAT/ACT Scores

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Feb 15, 2018 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info, SAT General Info, College Admissions

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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