Princeton Review SAT: Is it Worthy of its Price?
Are you wondering whether Princeton Review’s SAT program is the right course for you? If yes, you found the right article to help you with.
What is the Princeton Review SAT?
Co-founded by John Katzman and Adam Robinson, Princeton Review is a privately held test preparation company offering various education-related services including college and graduate school admissions courses, private tutoring, and textbooks. Currently based in New York City, the two launched the venture way back in the year 1981 when—shortly after they left college—have started teaching SAT to some incoming college students in New York City.
Since then, the Princeton Review grew and has now become one of the leading experts in the field of standardized test preparation. In fact, it now has offices and international franchises across the globe—21 countries, to be specific—and hires an estimated 4, 000 teachers across Canada and the United States.
On top of that, the test prep company claims that with more than 1.6 million students subscribed since 2016, 96% of them have improved their grades. At the same time, four out of five students were admitted into their top university choice.
What does it offer?
The Princeton Review SAT, as its name suggests, is an educational program created specifically for SAT reviewers. Essentially, it aims to provide innovative and personalized SAT courses.
Each plan under Princeton Review SAT course also contains study materials and features developed to aid incoming college students prepare for their college admission exams.
That being said, it summarizes all its perks into five categories. And these are:
- Quality content
- Expert SAT instructors
- Unique personalization
- Cutting-edge technology
- Dedicated employees
The program offers a seamless experience as well in terms of accessibility and versatility. However, when it comes to its price, the majority of its plans are costly compared to other SAT prep courses available in the market today—particularly if you wish to avail a private tutor.
Still, I find Princeton Review SAT far better than its competitors when it comes to its study materials and coursework structure.
How does it differ?
The Princeton Review is an established test prep company and has been helping students for more than 35 years already. And as a result, the gap between its SAT course and its competitors is significantly huge.
From the way it conducts classes to its workbooks and practice exams, its SAT offers a top-tier learning experience through its products and services.
Having said that, I list down a few of its features that separate it apart from its rivals and make it unique.
- Great curriculum and course structure. The first thing—and perhaps the most impressive aspect about Princeton’s SAT—is how well made its curriculum is. Because unlike its competitors, its study plans contain more materials and resources.
Its estimated number of video lessons, for instance, is more than 140 clips. Its practice questions are over 2, 000 in total too with additional 240 drills, while its SAT practice tests (full-length) are about a dozen.
Princeton Review SAT customizes each of its student’s study plans differently as well. In fact, its course structure is slightly restrictive if compared to other SAT prep providers like Magoosh and PrepScholar.
- It offers in-person and online classes. The exam prep provider has adapted both traditional and modern ways of teaching. Surprisingly, its SAT course provides live classes not only in one format but two: online and in-person classes.
The estimated completion of each class varies depending on the format—as well as the plan you are subscribed to—you selected. But regardless of what format you choose, all students will have to go through approximately 18 to 36 hours of live SAT classes.
- It offers textbooks and one-on-one tutoring. Princeton Review’s SAT program also includes hardbound textbooks and private tutoring. And depending on the plan you are subscribed to, the number of textbooks and hours of tutoring varies.
Who are its ideal users?
To further put things in perspective, I created a list of ideal users that I think would befit Princeton’s SAT study approach as well as price.
- Financially-capable families. It has been proven that a Princeton-developed SAT course delivers the best learning experience for its SAT students. It comes, however, with a price—literally. And families who are well-off or at least financially-capable enough to support their children’s future are most likely to be able to afford it.
The cost of each of its study plans, unfortunately, is quite expensive if compared to its peers. Its basic plan sells at $899 for a one year access only while the remaining plans start at $1, 500.
Extra hours of one-one-one tutoring costs a fortune too aside from the fact that you will have to allot money on other expenses when attending in-person classes.
- Students who prefer the idea of a traditional classroom setting. While some can manage to study alone and without a teacher, some tend to learn better in a traditional classroom setting. That being said, if your child exhibits the latter, then Princeton’s SAT is a perfect match since it offers live classes both in-person and online.
- Students who may need private tutoring. If you think a private tutor will boost the chance of your child’s college admission, then Princeton’s SAT is a perfect perfect.
It is because the program provides private as well as on-demand tutoring for all its students. The service is included in all Princeton Review’s SAT study plans.
But not only that. If you think the total class hours are quite short to boost your child’s knowledge, the course prep provider also has a separate one-one-one tutoring service that is available both for in-person and online sessions.
Its price starts at $150 per hour.
- Individuals who can manage to study at their own pace. Princeton does not only cater to students who prefer the traditional classroom setting. It also provides a separate course—which is known as SAT self-paced—developed specifically for those who enjoy studying at their own pace without a guide.
The plan is purely digital as well and may come with other perks like one-on-one tutoring.
What are the pros and cons?
Wondering if it is worth a try? Below is a quick overview of its SAT benefits and disadvantages.
- Tailored study plans
- Quality SAT materials
- Private and on-demand tutoring
- Expert SAT instructors
- Score increase guarantee policy
- Pricey plans
- Mobile app is a bit clanky
Princeton Review SAT: everything you need to know
In this section of my Princeton SAT review, I’ll discuss more of its features, plans and pricing, as well as a few things that I think Princeton should add or improve.
Princeton Review SAT top features
Princeton Review has powered its SAT coursework with an innovative study approach and cutting-edge technologies that I believe are individually important. However, at the same time, there are a few tools and features that I believe give more value to Princeton Review’s SAT prep course.
Simply put, these are its best features.
1. Personalized study plans. Princeton Review understands that the “one size fits all” approach is not an efficient solution when it comes to education. And thus ensured that each of its students would receive study plans tailored according to their knowledge, skills, and preferences.
Princeton Review SAT developed a system that enables them to create a customized learning experience for each of its students.
It has, for instance, a diagnostic exam that can help you determine what areas you excel in and what areas you need to improve. Upon subscription, the test prep provider will also ask you questions like what days of the week you are available to study as well as college and SAT goals.
Through the said information, Princeton will then design your study schedule and SAT materials based on it. And as you progress, your homework and drills will be based on the results of your practice exams as well to see to it that you are receiving the right practice questions and improve your weaknesses.
The process of scheduling depends on your availability as well. If you are free on Tuesday and Saturday, then the system will give you study units on those days. Apart from that, you can take one or more study units—that takes about 30 minutes to complete—on your chosen day/s too.
2. Live SAT classes. Unlike the all-digital SAT prep courses out there such as Magoosh SAT and PrepScholar SAT, Princeton Review adapted both traditional and modern classroom settings to leverage its resources.
Princeton’s live SAT classes come in two formats: in-person and online classes. And depending on the type of course you purchase, the total hours of classes range between 18 to 36 hours. The SAT prep program is versatile as well as it lets you choose what type of class format you wish to attend and ensure you get the proper teaching approach you need.
Princeton Review’s live SAT classes’ overall performance is great. The only problem I noticed is that each class takes approximately 3 hours—quite long not only for college students but particularly high schoolers.
3. SAT Advantage. Another edge I discovered about Princeton Review’s SAT course is its new “SAT Advantage” feature. The feature serves as a supplemental resource for students which, essentially, gives students the privilege to access more SAT contents and expert advice about the exam in video format.
SAT Advantage additional lectures can be watched live online or post-recorded. Each lesson typically covers an in-depth discussion of a certain topic and is also interactive. So, if you are watching it live, you can then ask your teachers questions.
The feature is free so students can watch all the videos as many times as they want.
That being said, here are some of the topics it covers:
- SAT Plane Geometry: Ins and Outs
- How, Well, Do, You, Know, SAT, Punctuation?
- The Approach that Will Beat the SAT Reading Test
- How to Best Prepare During the Week of the SAT
4. SAT practice tests. When it comes to practice exams, Princeton’s SAT cares about not only the quality but the quantity as well. It is because aside from its over 2, 000 practice questions sprinkled across the program, the exam prep provider also gives approximately 15 to 28 “full-length” practice tests.
A bit too much, isn’t it?
Well, that depends on the student. But in my opinion, to answer a roughly 3-hour long exam 15 to 28 times is a bit a stretch—especially with how short the attention span of teenagers these days is.
But what truly impressed me about Princeton Review’s SAT practice exams is that it also has separate “proctored tests,” which allows students to feel real exam conditions. The said approach could then help the student get used to such an environment, which eliminates anxiety and pressure as a result.
The number of proctored tests vary from course to course as well but is typically between 3 to 4 exams.
5. Private and on-demand tutors. Another Princeton Review edge is its private and on-demand tutoring. It is because aside from the fact that the SAT prep company includes private tutors in some of its study plans including the SAT 1400+ and SAT 1500+, it also offers a separate plan dedicated only for one-on-one tutoring.
Essentially, the package was developed to deliver customized learning to students. An expert tutor, for example, will guide you throughout the course as well as help you understand complicated topics better.
Princeton Review also offers a tutoring manager who, aside from your tutor, will supervise your improvements and, at the same time, help you reach your SAT goals.
The package is not exclusive to tutoring only though. It contains crucial SAT materials as well such as practice tests, interactive videos, and online drills.
Furthermore, on-demand tutoring is available both in-person and online too. The on-demand tutoring, which enables students to ask for help 24/7, is only available for SAT 1500 only.
6. Score increase guarantee. Another cool feature that guarantees you that Princeton’s SAT can truly help you is its Score Increase Guarantee Policy. Primarily, the policy allows students to ask for tuition fee refund if their SAT score results flopped and did not improve.
All Princeton Review’s SAT plans come with the said policy so whatever you choose, you can take your money back if things went wrong. But do take note that the policy is applicable only if you fully complied with all its requirements.
To learn more about that, you can check its official website at Princeton Review.
Plans and pricing
Princeton Review’s SAT course is perhaps the top SAT prep program provider that offers multiple study plans.
Surprisingly, it has five different courses developed specifically based on what most high schoolers prefer and demand. Almost all plans contain the same materials and features too. The only difference is that depending on the hierarchy, the quantity of contents is either more or less.
To put things in perspective here’s an overview of each Princeton Review SAT plans:
1. Essentials. Essentials are Princeton Review’s basic plan. And, as what its name suggests, the package contains mostly basic materials and features needed to study SAT.
To put things in perspective, the plan comes with several SAT perks like unlimited access to SAT Advantage and Princeton Review’s more than 135 video lessons. It also includes more than 20 full-length and about 3 proctored SAT practice tests.
The plan costs $899 for a one year access.
2. SAT 1400+. If Essentials is its basic plan, then SAT 1400+ is its most popular plan. For the price of $1599, you will get a one year access to all SAT materials Princeton Review offers.
And that includes access to SAT Advantage, full-length and proctored practice exams, and one-on-one tutoring. The only difference it has from Essential (as well as the other plans) is the number of contents.
3. SAT 1500+ tutoring. For a whooping price of $4, 500, students will receive a one year access to all Princeton Review’s complete SAT materials and features that were mentioned above. But unlike Essentials and SAT 1400+, the SAT 1500+ is more about one-on-one tutoring—and, obviously, pricey.
Essentially, it offers an average of 18 hours of one-on-one tutoring that can be either online or in-person. It includes a set of Expert Materials too, which contains Princeton Review’s exclusive textbooks and the official SAT study guide from The College’s Board.
4. On-demand private tutoring. Princeton Review SAT also created a separate plan dedicated to one-on-one tutoring only. Starting from $150 per hour, students will receive a one-on-one session with an expert tutor and manager to supervise their progress.
The SAT prep course comes in several tutoring options as well and perks may vary depending on the plan.
5. SAT self-paced. As its name suggests, the SAT self-paced is developed particularly for those who prefer to study at their own pace and without the need of a private teacher to guide them.
For a starting price of $199, students will receive one year of access to its exclusive SAT self-pace package which includes practice questions, online drills, and lecture videos.
On top of that, the SAT prep provider gives a 7-day refund policy as well in case you are not impressed with its course and you want it to drop. Princeton Review will give a full refund but shipping charges are not included.
Things to take note of
The SAT prep course company is not all roses and shares a few imperfections that I believe parents and students should be aware of. That is why, I listed some factors that I think Princeton’s SAT program lacks.
1. Too expensive. Princeton’s SAT course is clearly a top-tier product for all kinds of students. However, there is a high chance that not everyone can afford it since all its plans are too pricey. Even its basic plan will cost you $899 for one year of access, which is twice and even thrice the price of other SAT prep programs.
2. The mobile app is a bit clunky. The test prep provider also has a mobile application that students can use to access their study materials. It is a nice additional feature Princeton integrated. However, it is a bit clunky and may not be as seamless as other exam prep course companies provide.
Do I recommend Princeton Review?
Given that it has been in the industry for more than 35 years already and has sent thousands of high schoolers to their top university choice, my answer is YES. Whether it is its cutting-edge features or its innovative study approach, the SAT prep course provider, in general, does deliver a top-tier learning experience to its students.
And while I find its plan too pricey, it being in different packages and tailored to provide the needs of a specific category of students is an impressive and commendable effort the company has made.
Thus, all in all, it is clear that Princeton-developed SAT is an excellent choice.