Kaplan vs Princeton Review SAT Prep Course 2020: Who Is The Best?
An effective study plan is what you need to reach or even surpass your target score on the SAT. One of the best ways to prepare for the standardized test is by taking a prep course.
Today, we will look into and compare two of the most preferred SAT prep courses online: Kaplan and The Princeton Review.
Which course is better? Which one has more to offer?
At the end of this comparison review, you will know which prep course will best fulfill your needs as you prepare for your SAT. We’ll do this by looking into each course’s content, ease of use, and value for money.
Ready? Let’s start.
Kaplan vs The Princeton Review SAT: The Basics
Kaplan and The Princeton Review are two household names when it comes to standardized test preparations. Throughout the years, they have remained as two of the most respected test prep companies in the country.
From a general perspective, I can say that Kaplan and The Princeton Review both offer the essentials of a prep course: live courses, study materials, tutoring services, and online platforms. The two courses, however, are different in style and pricing.
To give you an overview of what Kaplan and The Princeton Review have to offer on their SAT prep courses, check out this table:
The Princeton Review
Yes (Higher score guarantee)
Yes (1400+ and 1500+)
8 (4 official College Board exams)
3 proctored, 20 additional, 8 single section
Personalized study plan
Kaplan vs The Princeton Review SAT: Content
For a fair comparison, let’s compare Kaplan’s LiveOnline package and Princeton Review’s Essentials Course. Both courses provide 18 hours of live instruction. Kaplan provides 8 full-length practice tests, while Princeton Review provides 3 proctored practice tests plus 20 additional full-length and single-section practice tests.
Both prep courses provide access to video lessons with their live courses. You’ll gain access to Kaplan’s SAT Channel and The Princeton Review’s SAT Advantage sessions.
One advantage of taking Kaplan’s live course is that you’ll also get 4 SAT Prep books. On the other hand, The Princeton Review’s resources are purely online-based.
The Princeton Review’s edge is providing ACT and PSAT resources with their SAT course. This is a great deal for students who also plan to take the ACT and PSAT. The Princeton Review also has more practice questions to provide.
Without the discount, The Princeton Review’s live course is more expensive than Kaplan. As of the moment, however, The Princeton Review offers a discount, which makes it a little cheaper than Kaplan.
If I were to choose one between two live courses, I’d take The Princeton Review’s Essentials Course. Aside from the fact that it provides a longer duration of access to resources (1 year compared to Kaplan’s 6 months), it has more practice questions and drills.
Winner: Princeton Review
Kaplan’s SAT On Demand (2) provides 50+ instructional videos, which is less than Princeton Review’s 280+. The Princeton Review’s Self-paced course also gives 3200+ practice questions, which is more than Kaplan’s 1000+.
To top all of that, The Princeton Review provides longer access to the self-paced course with 1 year of access. Kaplan, on the other hand, provides only 6 months of access.
The Princeton Review’s and Kaplan’s self-paced courses both cost $199. Since the former provides more for the same price, I choose it as the winner for this category.
Winner: Princeton Review
Kaplan vs The Princeton Review SAT: Score Guarantee
Both Kaplan and The Princeton Review have higher score guarantees. If you don’t get a higher score on the SAT after taking either course, you can get a refund.
However, The Princeton Review has packages that guarantee more than just a high score. It offers packages that guarantee you 1400+ or 1500+ on the SAT. These options are ideal for students who aim to get to the top 5% (for 1400+) or 1% (1500+) of test-takers.
The Princeton Review’s 1400+ Course is similar to the LiveOnline course, but it has double the hours of live instruction and is delivered by top-percentile instructors. Plus, it utilizes AI-driven drills to make the prep more effective.
The 1500+ Tutoring (1) package is the most intensive option offered by the course. Unlike the 1400+ Course, this option gives you a private tutor to help you in the most customizable way.
These options by The Princeton Review are really great for students who are looking to get to the top schools in the country, but they do come at a high price.
Since they offer particular score guarantees and Kaplan provides only a higher score guarantee, I’ll give Princeton Review the edge for this category.
Winner: Princeton Review
Kaplan vs The Princeton Review SAT: Pricing
Here are the pricing options for the Kaplan and The Princeton Review:
On Demand (self-paced)
Generally, Kaplan’s packages are cheaper than that of The Princeton Review’s. However, The Princeton Review does offer longer access duration and a little more content in their packages. If you’re looking to save a couple of hundred dollars, however, Kaplan might be the better choice.
For a lower price, Kaplan also provides quality instruction and materials. It just doesn’t have the 1400+ or 1500+ score guarantee that Princeton Review has. Overall, Kaplan wins in terms of cost.
Kaplan vs The Princeton Review SAT: User Experience
Above is a screenshot of Kaplan’s On-Demand Dashboard. What’s great about it is that the full curriculum is listed on the side, so you won’t get lost throughout the course. The design of the dashboard is easy to use, too.
Most of Kaplan’s lesson chapters use the Learn it – Drill it – Prove it approach. This enables students to learn the topic first by video lessons. This is then followed by practice drills and, ultimately, a realistic SAT practice quiz.
Now, this is The Princeton Review’s Dashboard. Like Kaplan, the curriculum for the course is already listed at the side, so you’ll be able to keep track. What I like about The Princeton Review’s Dashboard is that topics are classified as High, Mid, and Low. Those classified as High are topics that are frequently tested on the SAT. Topics classified as Low, on the other hand, are less frequently tested. This is a good way for you to prioritize important topics on the SAT.
Both dashboards are user friendly and optimized for efficient studying, so I’ll make it a tie for this category.
This is a screenshot of Kaplan’s video lesson on Solving Equations. I like how Kaplan delivers the lessons. The problem is flashed on the clean board, and the step-by-step process of arriving at the answer is written by the instructor.
Kaplan’s instructors are very good and among the best in the prep course scene. They introduce the topics very well, and they apply the topics to real-life situations, making them easier to comprehend and remember.
Kaplan can also get comical at times. They include stories and skits in their videos to make the lesson easier to understand and more entertaining. See the screenshots below.
The Princeton Review, on the other hand, also has great quality instruction, but the style is different.
In most of its videos, the instructor writes down the step-by-step process on a clear board. The style feels a little bit more like the traditional classroom. If you’re the type of student who prefers this type of instruction, then this might be ideal for you. Check out the screenshots below.
The winner for this category is a tough call. Both Kaplan and The Princeton Review are known for their quality instruction. Although Princeton Review has better live instruction, I give Kaplan the slight edge on videos. Kaplan’s videos are designed to make lessons more comprehensive and engaging. This, however, does not take anything away from The Princeton Review’s videos, which are also very effective.
In terms of practice tests, the two prep courses do not have much of a difference. Both have simple designs for efficiency. Plus, both practice tests’ interfaces are easy to use.
Here are the screenshots:
Kaplan vs The Princeton Review SAT: Student Reviews
Both Kaplan and The Princeton Review receive great reviews from students. However, The Princeton Review gets higher ratings for the quantity of content and the quality of instruction it provides.
Hear from students who took the course first-hand.
For Princeton Review:
Winner: Princeton Review
What makes each prep course unique?
- Qbank feature: It’s a storage of practice questions on the reading, Math, and writing. It segregates questions according to what you answered correctly, incorrectly or those that you have yet to answer. There’s also an option to bookmark certain practice questions if you want to go back to them.
- Great instructors: Kaplan has instructors and coaches who have been in the industry for a long time, giving them the experience to know exactly what students need to improve. Add to this their commitment and welcoming disposition, and students are sure to enjoy working with them.
For Princeton Review
- High score guarantee: The Princeton Review’s score guarantee is at 1400+ and 1500+, perfect for students who aim for excellence and an above-average score. This is proof of the prep course provider’s confidence to help you get a high score.
PSAT and ACT resources: Unlike Kaplan, Princeton Review provides materials and resources for PSAT and ACT with their courses. This is an advantage for students who are also planning to take the PSAT or ACT with their SAT.
Kaplan vs The Princeton Review SAT: Who is the best?
There’s a reason why Kaplan and The Princeton Review are rated as two of the best SAT prep courses online. They provide quality instruction, effective materials, and great instructors.
For this comparison review, however, I pick The Princeton Review SAT as the winner. Aside from the fact that it provides exceptional instruction, whether live or recorded, it also has an edge over Kaplan in terms of quantity. The Princeton Review provides more practice questions and video lessons and longer duration of access to the materials.
Despite winning on quantity, The Princeton Review does come with a higher price range. With the content you’re going to get, however, it makes the investment worth it.
This review does not take anything away from Kaplan’s effectiveness as an SAT prep course. It’s a great course, especially for students who have less time to prepare for the SAT.
Winner: Princeton Review
- Take the Kaplan SAT Prep Course if:
- You want hardcopy SAT prep books
- You want to use a mobile app
- You only have 6 months or less of prep time
- Take The Princeton Review SAT Prep Course if:
- You aim for 1400+ or 1500+ on the SAT
- You want a lot of practice questions
- You want longer access to the course
Yes. Both courses offer free trials. Kaplan offers a 7-day free trial, while The Princeton Review offers a 14-day free trial. Kaplan’s free trial, however, has more content than Princeton Review’s.
One downside of The Princeton Review is that it can get a little pricey for some. In terms of affordability, Kaplan is the better option. For its price, Kaplan also provides quality instruction and materials