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When searching for the right college admissions test prep or resource aid, often The Princeton Review appears. Acclaimed by many, it makes those who haven’t tried it yet wonder what the magic secret is behind their success. Is it worth the price? Do they offer the best study aids for standardized testing? In The Princeton Review review, we break down all you need to know.
Overview of The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review has been up and running for 35 years serving 1.6 million students in 2017 alone. They use expert instructors and cutting-edge technology to help students from 6th grade to graduate school. Out of all of the students they teach in a year, 96% of them improve their test scores.
So what type of subjects do they cover?
Their graduate programs include major tests such as the LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and more. But they’re also known for preparing students for the SAT and helping them get into their college of choice. In fact, 4 out 5 students get into their top choice when working with The Princeton Review.
They even have a new focus on tutoring for those in grades 6-12 with basic course subjects and even AP classes! One may not think this matters for test prep but it sure comes in handy for exam time.
In-Depth Look at The Princeton Review
Most gather that they offer exceptional study services. But what does that really include? In this review, it’s important that we break down different courses offered and what’s included in them so that you can feel confident knowing what your money goes towards. That includes how much and breaking down different price levels as many different programs and materials are offered.
What Does The Princeton Review Offer?
There is no shortage of options and choices at The Princeton Review when concerning your education when preparing for school or standardized tests that determine your future. With most of their test courses set up just like school functions, the transition is easy and convenient.
Variety of Test-Subject Courses
It would take too long to talk about each and every course that The Princeton Review offers but we will break down some of the more common service subjects they currently offer.
Along with a lot of their standardized testing courses, this type of class functions very similarly to how high school or college classes work. Taught by a variety of professors with many different aids and methods, they offer a nearly flawless system with score guarantees.
This section is dedicated to acing your AP Exam by providing you with real test experience and subject matter experts to go through the material with you in a comprehensive way.
Homework Help offer all the basic categories of Science, English, Math, Social Studies, and more. Within this, you can choose a variety of categories that you feel you need the most help in. It may be Chemistry or Reading Comprehension offered for 3rd through 8th grade. Through these different sections, you can have the support and tutoring you need to boost your GPA.
This can be an important add-on when trying to ace an AP exam or master the basics of SAT prep.
Within these different sections, they also offer different packaging that will offer more or less extensive aids based on what you need. Some students prefer to work at a self-paced level while others need to work in a more rigid structure. Consider these to be levels and the more extensive you go the higher the price.
Mobile and Smart Device Compatible
For the investment you make, you should be able to access your material from anywhere at any time. The Princeton Review ensures this by making the course compatible with all of your devices.
How Does The Princeton Review Teach Their Classes?
Now that we understand what kinds of options you have when it comes to selecting your program it’s more important to understand how these programs are taught. We mentioned that the transition for many is natural and convenient. Let’s explain why. In summary, it’s an online experience that feels a lot more personal with plenty of opportunities for individualized attention.
On-Demand Classes and Live Classes
Something that The Princeton Review does great is take their classes and mix them up between on-demand and live options. Let’s look at the GMAT 700+ score guarantee class as an example.
In this course, you will receive a combined 47+ hours of instruction through different class types. Some of these online videos will be interactive and also adapt to your answers to make it more or less challenging so that you can study at the appropriate pace.
27 of these hours are on-demand expert instruction that allows you to start and stop at your own convenient schedule and learn at your own pace. Another 10 hours is dedicated to focused GMAT advanced questions that come up on the test. The last 10 hours are solely dedicated to verbal and math explanations to further grasp the concepts and material.
Most of the time test prep providers will introduce you to one of their teachers to cover the entire subject. However, This company does it slightly different. Where this most resembles school is that you will have different instructors throughout your course.
They feel that you can truly only be a subject-matter expert in one area which is why you will work with a different professor for different sections like math, English, etc. This is true for most of their courses across several different test subjects.
Another important addition that they offer that closely resembles college or high school is offered office hours. This allows students to ask the important questions they may not get to during on-demand classes or something that comes up outside class. You can work one on one with your professor to address your individual needs.
After extensive review of material and interactive lessons, their test prep courses also provide real practice tests and quizzes that ask questions you’ll find similar and replicated from the exam themselves.
For instance, when we look back at the GMAT course you are guaranteed 2570+ drill questions to help you learn. They also offer detailed explanations behind all their questions so you can understand exactly where you went right or wrong. This also includes 10 different computer tests that replicate the exact method used in the GMAT. So in this case it’s an adaptive test based on your right and wrong answers.
While not everyone was a fan of homework in school, this test prep provider certainly is. Because a lot of their courses do in fact follow schedules in order to stay on track with their live classes, there is of course homework. This usually reverts back to students completing the interactive online lessons and quizzes to stay on top of course schedules.
This is different from their self-paced options because you aren’t required to stay up-to-date with the timeline.
Additional Resources Offered
This test prep provider seems to have most of their ground covered. Even so, we will see shortly that their prices are still pretty high compared to most. So what other additional resources do they offer their students that make the big bang worth the buck?
Let’s talk about a few more add-ons that may sway you.
It’s a given that this test prep provider should provide support for all their students. They certainly do both in a technical term and an educational term. They decide their support team into three different sections.
General Inquiries and Enrollment
For anyone looking to learn more about their programs and possibly enroll they can contact them to speak with one of their Educational Advisors. Their Enrollment Center Support allows you to fill out an online form providing your contact details and your question.
However, if you need more immediate assistance you can contact them at 1-800-2REVIEW.
If you are a current student that has questions about your current program you can fill out a contact form and leave a question in their Student Support Center. You can also 1-866-877-7737 to speak to a team member.
Their technical support page features a ton of FAQs to help students solve very common issues but they also offer some other resources. They advise anyone who can’t find their answer there to reach back out to Student Support through the contact form or phone.
Tutoring is one of the strong suits of this test prep provider. They offer tutoring in all of their test prep courses and have a variety of different methods taught. While tutoring can be certainly an addition to your courses it can also be purchased by itself to compete with a full online course.
Let’s break this down a bit further.
For instance, you can purchase their intro tutoring to the SAT. For this, you will get three hours of intro tutoring along with more than 2000 practice questions and 135 interactive video lessons.
If you want to level up you can go with SAT Targeted and that includes 10 hours of instructional tutoring, 135 interactive video lessons, and more than 2000 practice questions.
As you can see the practice questions and interactive videos remain the same which is why for the last level up the only difference is 18 hours of tutoring and a score guarantee.
Score Guarantee Guarantee
This test prep provider offers you a choice when it comes to your guarantees. Some courses will offer you a minimum score for more investment. This is our example in the GMAT 700+ option course.
But there is also another option that they offer. If you don’t improve your score from the previous time you can get your money back. However, you also can try the course another time for free if you think there is some room for improvement.
What separates them is their score guarantees are much higher than other test prep providers. They often land their students in the top 20 percent which is why they can also ensure most of their students get into their school of choice
This also applies to some of their tutoring specials as well.
The Princeton Review Pricing
When it comes to pricing it can be a little complicated based on how many different services they offer. However, we can look at a few different courses to understand the breakdown between the different levels they offer.
Let’s take a look at the SAT course and all the different options you can select.
Their SAT and ACT base option is a self-paced course priced at $499. It offers video lessons and practice questions but at a smaller capacity with fewer live options than a more advanced course.
Their next option up is their Essentials course offered just below $1000 for $849. This includes all the on-demand content as well as live classes and additional resources. This is a more personalized approach.
The most popular option and more advanced class is their SAT 1400+ score Guarantee. This includes all the extra benefits and resources and prices at $1549. It provides a tutor on 24.7 demand and customized homework assignments.
There are also several tutor options that we mentioned before.
- Comprehensive Tutoring is $150 an hour.
- Targeted tutoring is $150 an hour.
- Intro tutoring is $180 an hour.
Keep in mind that this is just the example price for the SAT course. Prices vary based on course prep type and level.
Pros and Cons of This Online Test Prep
With that breakdown, you can see there is a lot offered from this test prep company. It can be a lot to absorb so this section is fully dedicated to the overall pros and cons. We have mostly heard the pros for this company and it’s important to address what customers don’t like as well.
- Guarantee score classes placing students within the top 20 percent of their class
- Covers a variety of major standardized testing as well as focus subject material
- Offers expert teachers focusing solely on their subject providing different professors per course
- Tutoring options available and personalized study plans
- Money-back option for unsatisfactory score placement
- Customer support dedicated to future students and current students
- One of the most expensive options on the market for test prep
- Requires a good chunk of dedicated time in order to guarantee the scores
- Customer service sometimes is slow to respond according to users
- Scheduled live classes can be canceled and another date will be scheduled
- May not be a great fit with tutor or professor (you can request a new tutor)
In The Princeton Review review, we can see that this company is a fantastic fit for two people. Someone who really wants to guarantee their score into a top percentage of their peers and someone who struggles and needs to make up ground. These courses are by far some of the pricier options on the market but that’s because they are guaranteeing not only success but top success. If that is what you are going for then this is meant for you.
For the hefty price, you will have access to tons of study aids and a lot of course material. Whether you are trying to pass the MCAT, LSAT, or SAT, the courses will feel like you are back in school. With several teachers solely teaching their subject of expertise as well as interactive content for adaptive learning, there is no shortage of different learning methods within their programs. Not to mention you will have access to office hours with your teachers and the option to add on tutoring sessions.
Tutoring can be its own course however by just working on personalized attention. Just like the courses the tutoring comes in different packages for different pricing. Overall, regardless of whether students went with tutoring or a traditional course, user satisfaction was happy with their investment and ended up with one of their top schools of choice.