A Midsummer Night’s Dream Takes Home the Championship

As you get ready for tonight’s and tomorrow’s NCAA championship games, we’re here to present to you the winner of Shakespeare’s Sweet Sixteen.

It was a bloody finish. First, Henry IV Part 1 took out All’s Well that Ends Well in a blowout victory that shocked the pundits. Then—and we’re not sure if it was the love juice, the kooky cast of characters, or Puck’s final speech—something wowed our thousands of voters, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream took home the trophy.


Let’s celebrate this dramatic victory extravagantly—after all, you can never have too much of a good thing when it comes to Shakespeare.

What’s your take on the results? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #Shakespeare16.

Vote for the Champion of Shakespeare’s Sweet Sixteen

April fools!

It’s been quite a dramatic tournament (pun intended): from fake-outs to three-act shots to stage defense, we’ve seen it all. But the crowd has spoken, and now we’re left with our top four Shakespeare plays.


Don’t get up in arms, but we’ve decided to speed things up and conduct one final four-way contest. That means you’re not just voting for a play—you’re voting for an entire genre of play. Who’s going to take home the win?

Will it be tragedy, represented by the always mopey Macbeth? Or will comedy come out on top with the help of Puck and A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Can the problem plays pull out a big win with All’s Well That Ends Well? Or will Henry IV Part 1 somehow take it home for the histories?

Vote for your favorite play/genre and then wait with bated breath for the champion to be announced on Monday. Come what may—we know the best play will win. And when it does, we will celebrate…with pomp and circumstance.

Big Upset in Shakespeare’s Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen plays began the battle, and now only eight remain. Vote to your heart’s content to keep your horse in the running and protect your bracket. The winner is far from a foregone conclusion.


Check back in next week to see who advanced!

The Ides of March (Madness): Shakespeare’s Sweet Sixteen

March Madness is in the air, and you know what that means: it’s time to get your brackets in order. Last year, you voted, and To Kill a Mockingbird won the literary bracket. This year, Shmoop’s bracket is all Shakespeare all the time.

Vote for your favorite Shakespeare plays below, and alloweth the best sir to winneth! Or something.

Check back in next week to see who advanced to the next round.

shakespeare_bracket (1)

The Top 10 Most Popular College Majors

Happy Daylight Saving Time!

We waited all winter for the clocks to jump ahead, and now that we’re finally there, we find ourselves waiting for a bunch of other things: namely, springtime, test scores (anyone SATing on Saturday?), and college decisions.

But you know what? It’s all out of our hands now. We’ve prayed to Punxsutawney (that clearly backfired), studied our hearts out for those standardized tests, and had more stressed-out, binge-eating-ice-cream nights than we care to admit.

If, while you wait around, you get the creeping feeling that you’ve lost all semblance of control in your life, we’ve got just the solution: pick a major. Sure, you probably don’t have to declare till sophomore year—and we’re all for going into college with an open mind—but an early start can’t hurt.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 5.58.36 PM

If you haven’t had your dream job picked out since you were seven (yeah, we’re still working on that astronaut career), we’re here to help. Below is our list of most popular majors, each with a Shmoop Online Course to get you on track before the first day of class.

Top 10 Most Popular College Majors*

1. Psychology

The only major that grows when people are shrinking. See: Psychology of Influence for a slice or Psychology, Semester A for the bigger picture.

2. Biology

Perfect for cell-centered people. See: Biology, Semester A.

3. Business

The major where your business is everyone’s business. See: Financial Literacy.

4. Computer Science

We’re not scary computer hacker nerds, we promise. (And there’s no prior experience necessary thanks to our Digital Literacy course.)

5. Health Sciences

For those who have a healthy obsession with health. See: Body Image and Eating Disorders.

6. English

Book-lovers and grammar queens unite. See: Contemporary Literature…or the zillion other English courses we have.

7. Political Science

The major where students play president. See: Social Contract Theory or Politics and the Media, depending on how old-school or new-school you want to get.

8. Engineering

We hate to break it to you, but if you’re going to be an engineer, you’ll need math. See:Algebra I, Semester A. (Before you get to studying, narrow it down to which type of engineering you’re interested in: Aerospace, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Electrical,Environmental, Mechanical…whatever floats your boat.)

9. Criminology

You have the right to remain silent…but that’s no fun. See: Cyberbullying.

10. Economics

Our econ resources put the “cent” in “incentive.” See: Poverty in America.

Nothing jumping out at you? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got loads more majors for you to consider, each with stats on college life, jobs for the major, and long-term prospects.

Hope the wait is worth it,

Team Shmoop

Quote of the Week

“Now I sometimes fear
coming to the edge of the Forest
and looking past the fence.”

~ The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The least popular major on Shmoop? Forestry. Yeah, puppetry knocked it out of the water. Honestly, we’re not sure what’s scarier: forests or puppets.

*List generated based on most the visited pages on Shmoop.com.

Shmoop Releases Smarter Balanced California Product

Shmoop offers Smarter Balanced preparation for Grades 8 and 11 and has recently expanded to provide specific material for SBAC California.

Mountain View, California (PRWEB) March 05, 2015SBAC

“Common Core” and “Smarter Balanced” may sound like an ab workout and a low-fat butter substitute, but in reality, they’re more about working out your brain than your body. (Although deciphering the Common Core Standards might actually burn some calories, too.)

Shmoop’s guides to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)—for both 8th grade and 11th grade—will help students decipher fuzzy assessment-ese and ace those newfangled technology-enhanced items, including drag and drop, hot spot, graphic response, and equation response…not to mention more types of multiple-choice than you can shake a stick at. The guides also include CCSS- and SBAC-aligned diagnostic assessments, practice items, and performance tasks for ELA/literacy and Mathematics to help test-takers get into fighting shape for this year’s exam.

Recently, Shmoop expanded their offerings to provide California with state-specific SBAC goodies. Smarter Balanced California explains the stakes of the Grade 11 SBAC assessment in terms of readiness and remediation strategies for senior year. Every assessment in Shmoop’s SBAC CA prep also features a “What Your Score Means” breakdown based on SBAC achievement levels and provides recommended Shmoop products for each level. For instance, a student who is designated “conditionally ready” in ELA will be recommended the Shmoop test prep guide and crash course for the SAT® exam with a blurb that specifies the cut score for readiness. A student who does not demonstrate readiness in math, on the other hand, will be recommended Shmoop’s Algebra II, Geometry, and Algebra I courses and learning guides. And maybe a calculator.

Educators can use the tool to help students prepare for the Grade 11 SBAC assessment, identify Shmoop resources that provide appropriate intervention and remediation in the senior year of high school, demonstrate CSU and California community college readiness, and avoid costly and time-consuming remediation options at the college level. All that plus another acronym to add to the academic mix—not too shabby.

This spring, Shmoop will also be releasing test prep for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Discounts are available for schools and districts; contact sales(at)shmoop(dot)com for more information.

About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching resources. Shmoop content is written by experts and teachers, who collaborate to create high-quality and engaging materials for teachers and students. Shmoop Courses, Test Prep, Teaching Guides, and Learning Guides balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous concepts. Shmoop sees 10 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 Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES) three years in a row. Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

A Fun Way to Give Your College Apps a Boost

Hi, Shmoopers!

If you’re getting a little antsy after being stuck at home for all these snow days (seriously, is it springtime yet?), we’ve got two words for you: book club. When else will you get to sit around with your friends judging something indiscriminately…and have it look good on your college apps?


Not sure how to get a book club going? Here are four easy steps:

1. Tell your friends.

Who wouldn’t want another excuse to hang out? Bonus: you can book club digitally or in person. Oh, and if you don’t have any friends (or at least none who like to read), take the opportunity to do a solo book club with Shmoop’s free Bestsellers course.

2. Pick a meeting time and place.

Yes, the Internet counts as a place. If you want to make it an in-person happening, just be sure you pick a place with a heater. We don’t want any The Giver-style endings here.

3. Choose your first book.

This part is the best. Come up with a list of possibilities, and have everyone vote on which book to start with. Here are a few of our favorite books to chat about:
Yeah, we have eclectic tastes.

4. Make it your own.

As a group, decide how you want it to go down. Who will lead the discussion each week? Should you pre-circulate questions or just go with the flow? Will there be snacks? (Hint: Yes.There will always be snacks.)

Have a favorite book club book? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ShmoopBookClub!

Happy reading!

Team Shmoop

Quote of the Week

“Be the prettiest book I ever seen.
The cover is pale blue, color a the sky.
And a big white bird—a peace dove—
spreads its wings from end to end.”

~ The Help

We bet Aibileen would join our book club. Just saying.