Literary March Madness Champion Announced

Mockingjay vs. Mockingbird: Shmoop tallies up the votes and awards the 2014 Literary March Madness Tournament Trophy.

After four intense rounds and thousands of votes, Shmoop is proud to announce their 2014 Literary March Madness winner. With 55% of the vote, To Kill a Mockingbird has risen above its page-turning competitors to become the ultimate champion.


A Cutthroat Competition

Shmoop’s Literary March Madness began with sixteen competitors divided into four genres: British Literature, Dystopian Literature, American Literature, and World Literature. Over 14,000 votes were cast to determine the favorite book.

In the final round, To Kill a Mockingbird went toe-to-toe with experienced competitor The Hunger Games. While the popular dystopian novel has topped Shmoop’s most-visited page list for three years running, Harper E. Lee’s classic pulled ahead at the last moment and defeated Suzanne Collins’s YA favorite. What did Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of The Hunger Games, have to say about coping with her loss? “Peeta says it will be okay,” Everdeen shared. “We still have each other. And the book.”

A Champion Crowned

To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. Loosely inspired by author Harper E. Lee’s childhood growing up in the American South, the book tells the tale of young Scout Finch as she observes the deep-seated racism of her hometown and learns how to stand up for what—and who—she believes in. Shmoop’s Literary March Madness trophy isn’t the first major award for Mockingbird. In 1961, the novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching materials. Shmoop content is written by master teachers and Ph.D. students from Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other top universities. Shmoop Learning Guides, Test Prep, and Teacher’s Editions balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous materials to help teachers help students understand how subjects relate to their daily lives. Shmoop sees over 8 million unique visitors a month on its site, and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” twice by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded with two Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES). Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

*SAT and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product.

*ACT is a federally registered trademark of ACT, Inc. Shmoop University is not affiliated with or endorsed by ACT, Inc.

Literary March Madness: Championship Round

Sixteen entered, and only one will come out on top. Will Katniss Everdeen repeat her Hunger Games success and be the last book standing? Or will Scout’s luck (and ham outfit) keep her safe from Katniss’s bow and arrow?

Make your vote known by tomorrow, Thursday, April 3rd at 11 p.m. PT. And may the odds be ever in the best book’s favor!


Literary March Madness: Final Four

And then there were four.

Who will make it to our championship round next Wednesday? Will it be Katniss with her bow and arrow skillz? Hamlet with his daddy issues? Scout with her Southern sass? Liesel and her sticky fingers?  Vote now or forever hold your peace.


Literary March Madness: Elite Eight

Shmoop’s March Madness is back, and we’ve got an Elite Eight fighting for their place as best book ever.

Vote your hearts out and stay tuned for our Final Four to be announced on Wednesday.


British Lit

Dystopian Lit

American Lit

World Lit


Literary March Madness: Sweet Sixteen

Far from fearing the Ides of March, Shmoop embraces March Madness. But just because we have no idea how to throw a free throw doesn’t mean we can’t participate in all the collegiate fun.

Enter: Shmoop’s March Madness. We’re putting your favorites* toe-to-toe until we get to your favorite novel. Make sure you get your favorite to the finals by voting early (and often). New brackets will come up on Mondays and Wednesdays, so come back and see which of your favorites has made it through to the next round!

*To prevent an Internet mob from raging about how their fav didn’t make the list: these books are the top 16 viewed lit guides from Shmoop. Maybe your fav will make it next year!


British Lit

Dystopian Lit

American Lit

World Lit

College Board Announces Huge New SAT Changes

After as much anticipation as a Hunger Games movie, the College Board finally announced the major changes they’ll be making to the 2015 PSAT and 2016 SAT. David Coleman, College Board President, said the changes are being made to better align to students’ high school curriculum and really show what students have learned and how that will apply to their prospective college classrooms.

So what’s in store? Shmoop’s here to break it down:

  •  No more penalty for guessing. If students don’t finish in time, they can fill in “C” all the way down without fear of retribution.
  • No more ten-dollar words. The College Board finally has seen the Shmoopy light: just because a word has seven syllables doesn’t mean it should be used to determine how smart you are. Vocabulary is meant to help us communicate, so the SAT will replace words like “depreciatory” with words students actually use, like “empirical.”
  • Optional essay. If students do choose to write an essay, they’ll be asked to analyze a passage and explain how the author made his or her argument.
  • Welcome back to the perfect 1600. Now that the essay’s gone semi-sayonara, scores will once again be out of 1600, with 800 each for reading and math.
  • Sourcing source documents. Students will be asked to use source documents from science, social studies, and American history (hello, Declaration of Independence!) to answer questions.
  • Math Refocus. Questions will be focused on linear equations, complex equations/functions, and ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning. Also important to know: calculators will only be allowed on part of the math section. Time to break out that abacus!
  • Both digital and paper formats. Welcome to the technological revolution!

Given that there are over half a dozen bullet-points on that list, Shmoop understands that students (and teachers) need a steady hand to hold in these confusing times. Thankfully, this isn’t the first time Shmoop has had to revamp its Test Prep to meet new standards.

Here’s why students and teachers can continue to count on Shmoop:

  • We’ve faced test changes before promptly and with aplomb. Shmoop already updated its AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Spanish Language exams, and Shmoop made sure students had a full school year to use its new study materials.
  • We build our resources to keep up with the times. Just like how Shmoop’s Online Courses and Teaching Guides are auto-tagged with their appropriate Common Core Standards, Shmoop’s SAT Math Shack is built to respond to the new, just-announced Math section.
  • We never stop innovating. Even when the SAT was offering the same-old, same-old, Shmoop was never standing still. Over the past year, Shmoop’s SAT has built out our Math Shack, Math Shack Assignments, and have constantly been tweaking our materials to offer you the best review, best drills, and best practice exams.

That said, stay tuned for Shmoop’s SAT: The Sequel. We promise it’ll be even better than the original.

Shmoop’s Math Shack Assignments Vanquish SAT & ACT Math Woes

Teachers with Shmoop licenses can now assign and schedule SAT & ACT math quizzes for free.

Thanks to the new and improved Math Shack, students have a personal trainer to help them bulk up their brains so they’re strong enough to face the SATs and ACTs. Teachers with SAT or ACT Prep licenses from Shmoop, one of the world’s largest digital publishers of test prep materials, online courses, and education guides, can now assign a Math Shack quiz packed with an infinite number of reps and drills to turn their students into varsity mathletes.

Infinite number of quizzes

The library of rules boasts over 200 topics and concepts, which comprehensively covers everything that’s included in the SAT and ACT–including Geometry, Algebra, Functions, Numbers & Operations, and Data Analysis. Teachers can schedule a time for individual students to complete personalized quizzes that focus on stubborn problem areas like linear equations, coordinate planes, and negative exponents. Teachers can also assign new quizzes with a mix of hard and warm-up question sets from the same topic without fear of plateauing–all questions are randomly generated, so the odds of getting the same quiz twice is the same as getting struck by lightning.

Math Shack analytics

Once students complete their Math Shack quiz, they can easily submit it to their teachers at the click of a button. While quiz takers can’t see the answers until after the due date, teachers get immediate results and can view the areas of improvement needed for students by topic (wrong answers are written in red–they’re old school over at Shmoop). Students also get awarded ‘Shmoints’ based on the number of questions they answered correctly to foster some friendly competition in mathleticism.

Licensed accounts get it for free

To start assigning Math Shack quizzes right away, all Shmoop accounts with either an SAT or ACT Prep teacher license can log in and click ‘Create Classroom’ from the Profile page. The ‘Assignments’ tab has the option to ‘Create Assignment’ and generate as many Math Shack quizzes its teachers desire.  Get started today by logging on to!

For teachers who don’t have a Shmoop account but want to help their students grab the y-axis by its tail and turn it on its head, visit today to purchase their SAT or ACT product.