Kaplan vs Princeton Review ACT Prep Course 2020: Why Neither of Them Is The Best

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If you are taking the ACT test, it is likely that you are doing all that you can to get a high score. This includes taking prep courses to help you review and familiarise what goes on during the exam. Right? 

Enrolling in an online test prep course increases your chances of passing the test and eventually being accepted to the best colleges in the country. This is why it is important to choose a top-notch test prep company.

Two of the most outstanding providers are Kaplan and Princeton Review. Both are ed-tech industry giants and are well-known in their sphere. This makes choosing between the two confusing. 

Which of them provides you a better study experience that can lead you to obtain high scores in the ACT? Let’s find out in this Kaplan vs Princeton Review ACT comparison review.

The Answer

Based on our research and several student reviews about Kaplan and Princeton Review ACT, the latter gives you a better overall experience. 

As you’ve read in the post title, however, neither of the two is the best. So what’s the point of reading further, right? 

The point is that you must have options for test prep courses, and these two are popular for good reasons. If you can’t afford the best, you’ll know what to consider your second best. 

Note: We will review the two test prep companies based on the main features like self-prep courses, online classes, and ACT books at testprepgenie.com. A table for each feature is added so that you will have a better look at the pros and cons of Kaplan and Princeton Review

ACT Self-Prep Courses: The Princeton Review vs Kaplan ACT Prep Course

The self-prep course is the main feature for both Princeton Review and Kaplan because it’s the cheapest option available. There are a lot of students who would opt for this course for the following reasons:

  1. It is more affordable.
  2. It has a solid prep program at a low budget price range.
  3. It garners a good amount of positive reviews from students who passed the test through this course.
  4. It is self-paced and is perfect for students with great self-discipline.

How cheap is the self-prep course (at least using the rates of Princeton Review and Kaplan ACT)?

The self-prep courses usually cost around $300 which is five times cheaper than the other course options offered by The Princeton Review and Kaplan ACT programs.

Which of the two is better in terms of self-prep course?

We say it’s The Princeton Review.

First, it offers the self-prep course at such an affordable price with free access to test materials for other standardized tests like SAT and PSAT. That’s a total package. In contrast to that, the Kaplan self-prep course has the same affordable pricing but it is exclusive for the ACT. If you need access to the test materials for other tests, then you need to buy them separately at different costs.

Moreover, The Princeton Review also gives you a chance to avail of the “Free Pass” option. This allows you to get your tuition back if you get admitted to any of the top 100 colleges in the country, and when you write a testimony as to how the Princeton Review helped you achieve it.

In the self-prep course, you can also get six more months of access. Even better, you are provided with a practice test review session, seven more practice tests, and SAT/ACT live course video recordings, which can be quite expensive. Indeed, The Princeton Review gives you a much greater value for your money in this aspect.

What similar features do they have in the self-prep courses?

Both of them offer online drills, score improvement guarantees, thousands of practice questions, ACT books, and an option to schedule a live tutorial for a few hours. Take a look at the table below for a better understanding of the similarities and differences.

Princeton Review ACT Self-Prep
(Free Pass Self-Paced)
Kaplan ACT Self-Prep
(Self-Paced)
Access length
1 year
6 months
Books
Yes, provided with the course
Yes, provided with the course
Score improvement guarantee
Yes, regular score guarantee
Yes, regular score guarantee
Number of practice tests
8 (ACT), 5 (PSAT), 15 (SAT)
8 (ACT)
Practice test review session
Yes
No
Inclusion of other tests
Yes
No
Price
Cheaper than their other courses and with discount offer
Cheaper than their other courses and with discount offer

ACT Online Classes: The Princeton Review vs Kaplan ACT Prep Course

The ACT online class option that is offered in both Kaplan and Princeton Review is popular among students. This is because it is convenient compared to live instruction that can eat up most of their time.

Both test prep companies refer to their online classes as the “unlimited” prep because you’ll have access to ACT test materials as well as the test materials for the SAT and LSAT. This is appealing for students who are taking more than one standardized test to increase their chances of being accepted to their dream university.

How much is the unlimited price (at least using the pricing for Princeton Review and Kaplan ACT)?

Both offer the course at around $1,500, although Kaplan is a bit cheaper than The Princeton Review. The two test prep companies also offer discounts when you enroll in their unlimited prep courses.

Which is better in terms of unlimited prep?

Take note, the slight difference in the prices is not a huge factor, so the better option here is The Princeton Review for several reasons. 

It offers a bold and results-driven score guarantee that makes it more appealing. When you enroll in the unlimited prep course, you are guaranteed to get a score of 31+ in the ACT test. Achieving that score means you can potentially be admitted to any of the top 30 universities in the USA.

Moreover, the score guarantee from The Princeton Review is possible with two months of preparation. But is it too good to be true? 

Well, the test prep provider promises to give your money back if you don’t attain the guaranteed score after taking the course. You can also take the entire test once more without any additional cost. The Princeton Review is confident about its products. 

The Kaplan ACT, on the other hand, does offer a score guarantee but is not specific. It only says that you can achieve a “higher” score compared to your previous score after you take their course. 

You will be required to present your previous score as the basis on whether or not you improved and garnered a higher score than your previous one. Also, a new and slightly higher score benchmark will be set for you. If you don’t achieve the benchmark, then you would get your money back.

The lack of a specific score guarantee and the fact that you need to have taken the ACT test at least once before you qualify make Kaplan inferior to The Princeton Review.

What similar features do they have in their unlimited prep courses?

Both of them can give you a solid test prep and access to proctored tests, drills, quizzes, and study plans.

Princeton Review ACT Ultimate
Kaplan ACT Unlimited Prep
Score guarantee
Yes, if you complete the entire course and did not garner 31+ points in the ACT, then you can get your money back
Yes, if you do not achieve their benchmark score (higher than your previous score), then you can repeat the course or get your money back
Books
Yes, provided with the course
Yes, provided with the course
Practice questions with explanations
Yes
Yes
Live instruction
Yes, 18 hours
Yes, not specified
Full-length online practice tests
Yes, 20+ additional 16 single section tests
No information provided
Personal live 1-on-1 tutorial
No, but you can choose the on-demand online tutoring option
No, but you can choose the on-demand online tutoring option
On-demand instructional videos
Yes, with 140+ instructional videos
Yes, not specified how many
Access to more than 1 instructor
Yes
Yes
Dual instructors
Yes
No
Personalized study plan
Yes
Yes
Access to SAT and PSAT on top of the ACT access
Yes
Yes
Access to SAT and PSAT on top of the ACT access
4
No information provided
Price
Expensive
Expensive, but a bit cheaper than the Princeton Review

ACT Books: Princeton Review vs Kaplan ACT Prep Course

When you enroll in either the self-prep or unlimited prep courses in The Princeton Review or Kaplan, you would get access to their books. These ACT books contain additional practice tests, answer explanations, drills, and other study materials.

Which is better in terms of ACT books?

This time, we give it to Kaplan. 

The ACT books of the two ed-tech industry giants have comparable quality in terms of organization and content. Both of their book materials are also updated every year, which is critical if you are to assess an ACT book selection. They also have a fair share of positive student reviews. However, Kaplan slightly takes the lead with a higher rating than the Princeton Review.

Kaplan ACT Book

Kaplan ACT Prep Plus

The ACT Prep Plus 2019: 5 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online (1) is a flagship book that contains over 1,400 practice questions and a comprehensive study plan that provides you access to 15 video lessons. It also offers you additional printed materials for specific subject areas, such as Math & Science and Reading & Writing.

Princeton Review ACT Book

Princeton Review ACT Book

Like the Kaplan ACT book, Cracking the ACT Premium Edition with 8 Practice Tests, 2018: The All-in-One Solution for Your Highest Possible Score (2) is also lengthy and filled with nothing but useful study resources. However, the 8 full-length practice tests are not found in one source. Four are on the book, while the other four are on the website. 

You’re also provided with a study plan and more online video materials.

The Overall Winner

Based on the information above, it’s clear that the Princeton Review ACT is better compared to the Kaplan ACT. It is best in both self-prep and unlimited courses. Also, the former is transparent with the score guarantee, something that the latter lacks. 

Kaplan also failed to specify certain critical details, such as the number of hours for live instruction and the materials available to you.

In terms of discount upon enrollment, however, Kaplan offers a much bigger discount than Princeton Review.

None of These Two Is the Best

Why? 

Simply because there are other existing test prep companies that offer more significant features at more affordable prices.

Consider the names of PrepExpert, Testive, PrepScholar, and Magoosh. They are fairly new in the ed-tech industry, but their course models along with budget-friendly prices (some are even free) make them a game-changer. 

Nonetheless, Kaplan and The Princeton Review remain worthy competitors. It’s up to you to decide what matters most–the materials to help you ace the ACT or the course price?

References

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