100 Free Tools to Build Your Own Ivy-League Brain

If your dream plan is to attend an Ivy League college, or you just want to learn like an Ivy Leaguer, then these tools will guide you toward an elite-like education without the pricey costs. All of these sites offer free programs, tutorials, blogs and tools to expand your knowledge and bring you closer to building an Ivy League brain.

SAT Preps

If you’re planning on applying to Ivy League colleges, then preparing for the SAT will help increase your score and better your chances of getting into one of your dream schools. All of these programs are free and offer tips and strategies to help you master the exam.

  1. SAT Preparation Center. The College Board offers practice questions, practice tests and general test-taking approaches and skills to help you master the SAT.
  2. Number2.com. Use this online SAT and ACT prep site that includes user-friendly tutorials, practice sessions and lessons to expand your vocabulary.
  3. Major Tests. Get study materials that were developed by test-prep professionals and test your skills on math, vocabulary, reading and writing mock tests.
  4. Free SAT Prep. From books and study aids to help and advice on each section of the test, this site is all about helping you do well test day.
  5. ProProfs. This site has a comprehensive collection of SAT study guides, practice exams, cram sheets and more.
  6. SAT ExamPrep.com. Take advantage of the study resources and the team-designed online prep course that covers all angles of the test.
  7. INeedAPencil. This site is set on teaching you important SAT content in the most fun and interesting way with the help of educators and expert SAT tutors.
  8. Free SAT Essay Prep. Learn how to convert an essay prompt into a thesis statement, create an outline and use more descriptive language for the essay portion of the exam.
  9. Free SAT Vocabulary. Get more than 5,000 free SAT vocabulary words with definitions, similarities and differences.
  10. OnlineMathLearning.com. From algebra, geometry to word problems, this site is filled with helpful advice and tons of practice problems to master the math section.

ACT Preps

Much like the SAT, the ACT is a standardized test for college admissions and many schools take this score in conjunction with or separately from the SAT. Therefore, you should practice with these free mock tests, quizzes and practice questions to better your score and impress the Ivy League admissions office.

  1. ACT Test Practice. Break down the ACT with this “self-help” test course that offers module quizzes in a number of areas to test your knowledge and help improve your overall score.
  2. ACT Sparknotes. Sparknotes isn’t just a guide for books, but also a helpful resource for the ACT with practice questions, strategies for each section and detailed explanations of specific areas.
  3. 4Tests.com. This site allows you to arrange the sections of your practice ACT test by checking how many sections you want to complete.
  4. ACT Exam Practice Tests. Get study guides, test flashcards and answers to many of your ACT questions.
  5. TestPrepPractice.net. Test your skills with 15 practice exams that target specific sections.
  6. The Princeton Review. Try the free ACT online demo, which includes a full-length practice test and an interactive lesson that explains the ins and outs of the ACT.
  7. ACT Prep. Get general test tips, strategies and practice test questions, as well as the differences between the SAT and ACT and which one you should take.
  8. Study Guide Zone. Download ACT study guides and get tips on how to handle test anxiety.
  9. ACT Essay Tips. Use these essay writing tips to improve your sentence structure, grammar and vocabulary during the ACT essay portion.


In order to go to an Ivy League college, you’ll have to be accepted by the admissions office first. So, use these tools to improve your admissions essay, see specific acceptance statistics and find answers to your admissions questions.

  1. Free College. Find out how to get into your dream Ivy League school and what is the best program for your major, as well as the most financial assistance available to you.
  2. Admissions Consultant. See how many applicants are accepted to Ivy League colleges each year and find out how you can be one of them.
  3. College Admissions Essays. Get tips and advice on how to write the best admissions essay and stand out from the other applicants with a well-structured topic and a clean, understandable paper.
  4. College Admission Info. This site touches on a variety of college admission topics.
  5. GoCollege. This college go-to guide helps you meet admissions and college requirements, research schools and their programs and make a final choice on a school.
  6. Ivy League Admissions. College Confidential has put together a special section for Ivy League applicants with informative articles and advice, as well as a Q & A with “The Dean” who answers many college-bound questions.
  7. IvyLeagueAdmission.com. Whether you’re applying for undergraduate studies or medical school at an Ivy League college, you will find tips and strategies to writing essays, getting good reference letters and learn how to handle interviews and waitlists all on this site.
  8. The Ivy Coach. While the admissions counseling isn’t free, the Ivy League admission facts and statistics, blog and newsletter are available at no cost.
  9. myUsearch. Ivy League students answer applicants’ questions about applying to or entering an Ivy League university on this blog.
  10. InLikeMe. Get advice from successful Ivy League applicants and find out more about your desired school and their acceptance rates.


The OpenCourseWare Initiative was first started by MIT and has quickly been adopted by other prestigious colleges looking to share their courses with anyone wanting to learn. All of the courses are free and self-guided without a professor, so you can learn at your own pace. A wide variety of courses are available and no registration is needed.

  1. Carnegie Mellon. The university offers open courses, such as engineering statics, French, and visual communication design with self-guiding materials and exercises to learn at your own pace.
  2. Tufts. By expanding their open courses, Tufts offers courses that represent the University’s “strength in the life sciences,” like basic human pathology and geriatric dentistry.
  3. JHSPH. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s opencourseware selection provides access to some of the school’s most popular courses, such as mental health, genetics and nutrition.
  4. University of Notre Dame. Get open access to the materials used in numerous courses like Africana studies, gender studies and romance languages and literatures.
  5. UC Irvine. Try a variety of open courses in a number of different languages.
  6. Open Yale Courses. Get the same introductory courses being taught at Yale University by professors and scholars with the goal of sharing educational materials with anyone wanting to learn.
  7. MIT OpenCourseWare. This Web-based publication offers free lecture notes, examsand videos from MIT without any registration required.
  8. Utah State University. This collection of courses include everything from cattle management to marriage and family relationships.
  9. Harvard Medical School. As part of the OpenCourseWare initiative, Harvard has added open courses within their medical school, such as cellular metabolism and human disease and osteoporosis.
  10. OCW Blog. The OpenCourseWare blog covers news, information and the implementation of this project at select colleges.

Ivy League Lecture Sites

You can now sit front-row in your favorite Ivy League or other prestigious university’s classroom “” virtually. A new wave of schools are offering free online lectures and classroom materials in the form of videos to be watched from the comfort of your own home.

  1. Princeton University: WebMedia. From climate change, politics and human rights, these free lecture videos cover a variety of topics and can be watched from the comfort of your home.
  2. University Lecture Series. Read or listen to past lectures presented by renowned speakers who spoke at Columbia University.
  3. Lecture Demonstrations. Read detailed lectures from Brown University’s Department of Physics that cover everything from mechanics to astronomy.
  4. The 60 Second Lectures. Faculty from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts & Sciences share one-minute lectures and thoughts on history, imperialism, music and more.
  5. Public Lectures Series. Read inspirational and enlightening monthly lectures from previous speakers who touched on politics and society, arts and humanities and technology and natural sciences.
  6. eCommons@Cornell. Here you can find theses and dissertations, as well as multimedia and video lectures and access Cornell’s digital resources and archives.
  7. Harvard@Home. Straight from a Harvard classroom to your home, come video lectures on a range of subjects that are available to everyone.
  8. Academic Earth. Listen in on academic video lectures taught by influential instructors at some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, such as Berkeley, Harvard and Stanford.
  9. World Lecture Hall. Get lectures and course materials all from the University of Texas at Austin.
  10. Duke University. You can download lectures, news segments and other classroom materials from Duke University through iTunes U site.

Open Access Journals

All Ivy League colleges have open access journals that allow public access to scholarly journals and written work. Take a look for yourself; all of these electronic materials are free.

  1. Columbia University. Browse through thousands of scholarly journals on CU’s library services and find the best information for your desired subject.
  2. Dartmouth E-Journal Finder. Find online, scholarly journals that cover a myriad of subjects on Dartmouth’s library site.
  3. Brown University Library Collections. Get scholarly and peer-reviewed journals listed from A to Z.
  4. Harvard University Library. After much dispute, Harvard has now opened its journals and written collections for public access online.
  5. Penn Libraries. From cinema studies to veterinary medicine, you can find numerous electronic journals on UPenn’s open access library.
  6. Princeton University Library. Search through thousands of e-journals offered by Princeton.
  7. Yale University Library. Find electronic journals and newspapers on this Yale open access site.
  8. Cornell University Library. Browse through journals and databases that will make your research easier.
  9. Duke University Library. Search hard-to-find e-journals in an advanced search or just look for it by the first letter.
  10. SULAIR. Stanford University’s library has newspapers and journals available for download and advanced searches to find what you’re looking for.

Ivy League Blogs

Get in touch with your inner Ivy Leaguer on these elite blogs that feature the newest Ivy League trends and campus news. Although the majority of them speak to other IL students, you can observe for free and even pretend to be one of them in a community forum!

  1. IvyGate. Stay abreast on the latest Ivy League trends and news on this gossip blog that covers all eight schools.
  2. IvyLeagueBlog.com. Find yourself living vicariously through this unashamed Ivy Leaguer’s blog about his lavish experiences and prestigious education.
  3. CornellWatch. Although it’s loosely associated with Cornell University, this blog covers news, politics and pop culture at the Ivy League school.
  4. FlyByBlog. Read what’s going on at Harvard on this blog that follows the school’s news, gossip and oddities.
  5. Dartblog. Written by Dartmouth students, this blog journals higher education, politics, literature and anything that sparks the interest of students.
  6. The Bottom Line. For business-interested readers, this UPenn blog covers business news and practical tips on financial aid, credit cards and the stock market.
  7. The Bwog. A Columbia University blog that touches on news, campus gossip and school life.
  8. Under the Button. This is the blog counterpart to the University of Pennsylvania’s weekly student magazine, 34th Street, which keeps you up-to-date on the college’s latest news, entertainment and social scene.
  9. The Daily Clog. Read what’s going on at Berkeley from sports, arts, technology and news.
  10. SpecBlogs. This blog network of the Columbia Daily Spectator offers news about faculty, students and anything else going on throughout campus.

Ivy League Alum Blogs

Learn from these Ivy League alumni as they blog about academia, networking and life after college.

  1. Ivy Journal. This Harvard alumna has five years of experience interviewing college applicants and offers advice to students applying to competitive universities.
  2. Penn Charlotte Alumni Club. See what this UPenn alum has to say about her alma mater and what events take place after graduation.
  3. Princeton Alumni Weekly. See what these alumni are doing now and what their take is on sports and campus news.
  4. Yale Alumni Magazine. Here, Yale alumni discuss politics, health and life after college.
  5. Dartmouth Association of Alumni. This forum touches on alumni issues or concerns on school changes, teaching and rankings.
  6. Cornell Alumni Magazine. This monthly publication features stories on historical Cornell events, reunions and school news.
  7. Brown Alumni Association. Find ways to connect with friends after college and see what career services are available.
  8. Columbia Connection. Columbia alumni can join a forum to discuss gatherings, news and academia.
  9. Harvard Humanist. This alumni blog allows graduates from all Harvard schools, including current and former faculty, staff and students to discuss religion, philosophy, politics, culture and much more.
  10. MIT Alumni. This blog encourages life-long learning and staying connected with other alumni for upcoming events and news.


In order to build an Ivy League brain you must be educated in a variety of topics. Start with these free encyclopedias to get basic explanations and read articles pertaining to your subject of interest.

  1. MSN Encarta. Brush up on your world knowledge and use the featured literature guides to get new perspectives on authors and novels.
  2. Wikipedia. Find information on arts, geography and famous scientists with Wikipedia’s massive content that comes in a variety of languages.
  3. Encyclopedia. Get answers to your detailed questions and searches with Encyclopedia’s reliable, published reference works and trusted sources like Oxford University Press.
  4. The Free Dictionary. Search through popular articles from The Columbia Encyclopedia or familiarize yourself with computer concepts and terminology with the Computer Desk Encyclopedia.
  5. Questia.com. This encyclopedia has more than 52,000 articles and each one has a link to a premium reference library with thousands of journals, books and magazines.
  6. Britannica. The Britannica has trusted information for thousands of topics, including current events, sports and travel.
  7. Encyberpedia. Considered the “living encyclopedia,” this site has information on the topics that affect our daily lives, such as health, communication and weather.
  8. HyperHistory. From the Civil War to the Iraq War, you can find more than 2,000 files covering a span of 3,000 years of history.
  9. Medical Encyclopedia. The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has more than 4,000 articles about diseases, tests, symptoms and more.
  10. ScienceZine. This is an encyclopedia of articles on major science topics, such as nature, technology and astronomy.

Intelligence Tests

Make sure you’re up to par with the other brainiacs at Ivy League colleges by testing your IQ and challenging yourself with free IQ tests, current events quizzes or other mind exercises.

  1. AllTheTests.com. Test your knowledge and intelligence with IQ tests and take news tests and daily quizzes that work your brain.
  2. Am I Dumb?. Find out how smart you are compared to others with this intelligence test that may put your ego at bay.
  3. IQTest. Want to measure your intelligence in comparison to others your age? Take your pick from a private, fun IQ test or take the more detailed, structured test that reveals key strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Free IQ Test. Take the quick IQ test to see where your intelligence stands and read about the history of the IQ test and famous high IQers.
  5. International High IQ Society. Try Multiple IQ tests of varied difficulty and questions, as no two tests are the same.
  6. IQ Test Labs. Take the PhD certified IQ test and receive detailed results with 25 pages of analysis, advice and career tips.
  7. TestCafe.com. Test your IQ in its entirety with a detailed IQ test and an emotional IQ test.
  8. IQ Test Free. Short IQ tests are available here, as well as personality, career and psychological tests.
  9. Fun Education. Take the PhD-certified IQ test, as well as the spatial IQ quiz and personality test.
  10. TheFreeIQTest.com. After you take this IQ test, you’ll also see what areas of the U.S. have the highest IQ scores.

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