In order to give you a full picture of the best SAT prep courses, we asked three of our SAT experts to pick their favorites.
Jaynell Mcentee has over 10 years of scoring experience with the SAT writing portion. She also teaches high school English and College Prep Writing classes.
The Princeton Review is one of the most well-known online test prep services for a reason. They’ve been around since 1981 and understand the college admissions game inside and out.
They know the SAT, and the instructors and tutors are masters at understanding and helping students prepare. Courses focus on core test concepts, but you will also be armed with effective test-taking strategies in case you don’t know an answer.
The Princeton Review isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are several options based on your budget and SAT goals. If your goal is to get into a top-tiered college or you are seeking merit scholarships, the Princeton Review offers their “1400+ Guaranteed” package. You get an expert instructor, personalized practice, on-demand tutors, practice exams, self-paced prep, and a lot more.
But if you aren’t Ivy League-bound and just want a self-paced course, you can choose the base package. It offers excellent resources, a personalized study plan, loads of practice questions, video lessons, and a full-length practice test.
Need a tutor?—Princeton Review’s got it. Want real class time?—If you live near a city, there is most likely an in-person course available to you. Procrastinated a little bit?—Princeton even offers a cram session.
What I like best about this course is how excited and passionate their instructors are about preparing students to get their best score. And there is always a personalized touch.
Even the basic package will tailor lessons to best fit your needs based on your results. And because the Princeton Review is confident in their results, they offer a money-back guarantee if your score doesn’t improve.
The Princeton Review has been at this game for a while, so they aren’t missing much. The biggest complaint is that the amount of content available can be overwhelming for some students. Plus, the online dashboard is a bit simple and the variety of tools showing student progress is a little bit lacking.
Also, make sure you read the fine print on the money-back guarantee. It is not an unreasonable return policy, just make sure you follow all the guidelines to the T if you think you might want your money back.
This is my choice for best-all-around course offerings. You have options to prep with a teacher, a tutor, or on your own. And the level of involvement in each of these mediums is varied as well. There is even an all-inclusive multi-test-prep package that includes PSAT, ACT, and SAT. For one price, this package will carry students through to December of their senior year.
The best feature of the Kaplan course is the ability to select exactly what you need and what you can afford. Courses start at $30 for a quick, last-minute review. If you are motivated to learn at your own pace, the basic package is a reasonably-priced course which includes video tutorials, over 1,000 practice questions, performance tracking, and nine full-length practice tests. Or you can choose deluxe courses with live teachers and tutors.
A big difference between Kaplan and other SAT courses is the emphasis they place on live sessions. You can actually ask questions of the teacher in the online classroom format. And if you can’t afford the live sessions, they archive review sessions for access in other courses.
They also offer real classroom sessions for students who live near a Kaplan center. And Kaplan requires their teachers to score at least 90% on the test they teach—so they know their stuff.
Again, with such variety, there isn’t a lot missing here. The basic, self-paced program starts at $299. If you want the unlimited online and live classroom instruction, expect to pay $1,599.
Magoosh was founded in 2009, so as far as test prep services go, they are kind of the new kid in town. But they have quickly built up a reputation with their results and affordability.
Magoosh keeps their prices more affordable because this course is entirely online. Affordable quality was the founders’ goal, and it seems to be working. They also offer a pretty remarkable test score guarantee—a 4-point increase for ACT and a 100-point increase on the SAT
What I love about Magoosh is accessibility. You can study from anywhere. All their videos, practice tests, and questions are not only available on their website, but also from the Magoosh mobile app. You can study from your phone while you wait. And the app has one of the highest customer review ratings in both the Play and App Store.
When you miss a practice question, Magoosh has written explanations and/or video lessons that correspond to your wrong answers. This helps you understand why you missed the question and lets you immediately learn from your mistakes. They have invested a lot into the quality of the online experience, and it shows.
Unlike Kaplan and Princeton Review, there are no live classroom experiences for Magoosh. Their course offerings are entirely online. That means no live tutors and no streaming classrooms either. So if you want a more personal touch, look elsewhere.
However, if you’re looking for an innovative approach at an affordable price, Magoosh may be your best bet.
Bronte is entering her 7th year in the test prep industry and has worked with students all over the globe helping them reach their SAT, ACT, and GRE goals. Along with teaching classes and providing one-on-one test prep, Bronte has a published course on Udemy and hopes this will be one of many to come.
The Princeton Review is one of the most well known test prep companies, and for good reason. They have been operating since 1981 and have prepared countless students for their SATs. If you choose to enroll in a Princeton Review program, you will have access to a wide variety of test-prep resources and instruction from knowledgeable and fun teachers. The Princeton Review offers two different SAT programs: an instructor-led course that can be taken online or in-person along with a self-paced class.
The instructor-led classes provide a hefty amount of class time and prep material.
Students receive practice SAT books, 8 single-section tests, 20 additional practice tests, and 4 proctored exams. The proctored exams are scheduled into class time, which ensures students are able to complete them.
Taking full-length proctored exams is one of the single most important elements to scoring in the top-percentile on the SAT. Hence, this aspect of the course is extremely valuable.
The Princeton Review offers two self-paced online courses. The first comes with only SAT material. However, the second self-paced class is meant to prepare students for a wide variety of exams.
The course will include over 280 online videos–where students are able to see instructors, not simply hear an anonymous voice–377 online drills that adapt to a students weaknesses, over 3,200 online practice questions, full-length and single section practice tests for the SAT and ACT, practice tests for the PSAT, and AP online video lessons for students taking US Government, US History, World History, English Language, or Chemistry.
I would highly recommend The Princeton Review SAT instructor-led course to any student who is dedicated and determined to score in the top-percentile on the exam. The classes meet several times a week and will provide an abundance of homework for students to complete between classes. This program is not for the faint of heart. The same applies to those looking to enroll in the self-paced SAT prep class.
Furthermore, I would recommend The Princeton Review’s self-paced course for those who want to take the SAT and ACT, or for those students who are enrolled in AP classes and will be sitting for the corresponding test. Having a one stop shop for all your test preparation is not only economical, but also convenient.
Kaplan has devoted itself to making test prep accessible to students all over the globe. They have created so many online resources, no matter where you live or how hectic your schedule might be, Kaplan has options that can fit your SAT needs. Kaplan offers two SAT courses for students: live online and in-person classes along with a self-paced study option.
Kaplan stands out from its competitors with the amount of study materials it provides students. For example, they have the SAT Channel that streams live tutoring along with an archive of past live videos that have been filmed.
The scheduled courses–available either online or in-person–include 18 hours of core instruction, 30 hours of live online instruction via The SAT Channel, 40 hours of on-demand lessons, 8 practice tests (including 4 Official SAT exams), SAT test prep books, and online customizable quizzes from the Qbank.
If you choose to enroll in the online course, there will be an instructor leading the class along with instructors who provide answers to student questions via a group or private chat.
For students who are not able to commit to a weekly class, Kaplan offers a self-paced SAT program that has just as many resources as the instructor-led class. Students will be provided with consistent performance reviews that will highlight the areas where they need improvement, along with progress reports.
There are over 40 hours of instructor-led videos that are highly engaging and easy-to-follow. The teachers are enthusiastic and emphasize test-taking strategies. Students will receive the same test prep books, the same number of practice exams, and the same access the the Qbank and SAT channel just as if they were in the instructor-led class. Access to the material will last six months.
Kaplan is a wonderful option for students who want to prep for their SAT either on their own or for with a tutor. The benefits of Kaplan are the wide variety of online videos they have available for students and all of their practice SAT questions in the Qbank. Hence, if you are willing to put in the time to utilize these videos and answer the practice questions, Kaplan is the company for you.
Although Barron does not offer scheduled SAT courses, they have created a comprehensive, online, self-paced prep class. This class stands out from other prep options due to the program’s adaptive algorithms and the large number of practice questions.
Students will start the class by completing an SAT Diagnostic Test. The system will use this diagnostic to map out a program tailored to the students’ weaknesses in order to optimize their learning.
Furthermore, anytime a student completes an exercise or practice test, the algorithm will continue to update their profile, providing lesson recommendations to fit the needs of the student.
Also, the Dashboard continuously updates to reflect a student’s projected SAT score.
This customized course plan is essential for students who do not have an instructor pointing out the areas where they need to make the most improvement.
Barron’s SAT prep class includes 25 hours of video lessons that cover all of the content that appears on the SAT, along with test-taking strategies, 50 hours of step-by-step video solutions, over 75 lessons, 6 full length SAT tests, a diagnostic test, and over 3,000 practice questions.
I would highly recommend enrolling in Barron’s SAT online class if you need a prep option that is flexible and all-inclusive. The adaptive algorithms will be highly beneficial for students just starting out with their SAT prep and who are unsure of their strengths and weaknesses.
Freya Shipley achieved perfect verbal scores on the SAT and the GRE, and she’s been helping students prepare for those tests (and many others) since 2005.
“A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere” is the mission of super-successful online teaching company Khan Academy. They’ve partnered with the College Board (the makers of the SAT) to bring you Official SAT Practice, a completely free online SAT training program.
Official SAT Practice uses authentic College Board content. All the questions that you’ll be working with come from real SATs taken by students in past years. These are the same eight practice tests that appear in The Official SAT Study Guide.
Even if you’re already working with the book, Khan Academy’s teaching program will give you valuable insights into content and strategy.
If you’ve already taken the SAT or PSAT, this program uses your results to tailor your course. There’s also a set of diagnostic quizzes to help pinpoint a student’s weak spots. When you’re working on a question, you can ask for a hint or a video explanation at any time.
I would recommend this program to students who…
Magoosh is a respected test-prep company based in Berkeley, California. Yes, they’re a business, but they give you the feeling that they’re doing this out of true dedication to the welfare of students.
Once you register, you’ll get a personalized dashboard that makes it easy to see exactly where you are and what you need to do next. The program teaches via well-produced video lessons. Each question also has its own explanatory video showing you how to answer the questions, plus tips on avoiding common pitfalls.
When you’re ready, you can use the optional “timed quiz mode” to practice your pace. At any time, you’re free to dip into the comprehensive video library covering every academic topic tested on the SAT.
If you’re stuck, click the Help button to send a question to Magoosh. A tutor will get back to you within 24 hours.
Magoosh guarantees that you’ll increase your SAT test score by at least 100 points, and they’ll give you a refund at any point for any reason. Their website statement makes that clear…
“If you feel Magoosh isn’t right for you at any time, or didn’t help you get the score you need, just email us and we’ll provide a full refund, including after your account has already expired.”
I would recommend this program to students who…
PrepScholar New SAT is a course with two components:
Everyone gets access to the automated content. Depending on how much tutoring you want to add to that, you’ll choose one of these program options:
It’s also possible to add online group classes to your program and customize your number of tutoring sessions. The whole process can get a little confusing, so PrepScholar offers a free consultation to help you figure out which package is right for you.
The Automated Online Prep Program includes about 40 hours of drills with answer explanations. It tracks your progress and suggests appropriate practice topics as you build your skills. Your tutor will check in on your independent work to help them customize each of your coaching sessions.
I would recommend this program to students who…
Private Prep is exactly what it sounds like: completely personalized one-on-one tutoring via video.
There’s no standardized test-prep package involved. Private Prep will match you with a tutor (or a team of tutors) who fits your personality, academic needs, and schedule. Your tutor then guides you through a diagnostic test and plans a customized curriculum for you.
The two of you will work together for about 90 minutes each week, using a video conferencing platform with a digital whiteboard. Between sessions, you’ll do homework and practice tests to help consolidate your skills. Payment is by the hour.
If you’re interested in this type of highly individualized tutoring (with no automated element), you may want to check out other reputable test-prep companies. These days, almost all of them offer online coaching in addition to their in-person services.
I would recommend this program to students who…