Is Princeton Review Good?

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Are you wondering if courses from Princeton Review are actually good, and lead to an improvement in scores?

 

The short answer is that it depends on which test you’re trying to pass, and how dedicated are you to your course of study. There are studies proving that test prep can improve an average score  by 5% to 12%  depending on the test you take.

 

The majority of students who take TPR courses report an improvement of at least a couple of points. The company even guarantees a certain score if you take their premium courses:

 

 

This kind of bold move proves that the courses are effective. But you shouldn’t expect miracles. Acknowledge that the time you put into study and your level of self-discipline will determine your score more than anything else.

 

The Princeton Review courses are  best for MCAT, AP, ACT and SAT  in my opinion. If you’re taking GRE or LSAT, there are some better alternatives on the market.

 

Table of contents:

  1. How TPR is reviewed by students and the learning community?
  2. Are TPR test prep courses effective?
  3. Is it good for MCAT?
  4. Is it good for the SAT/ACT?
  5. Is it good for GRE/GMAT?
  6. Is it good for LSAT?
  7. Is it good for AP?
  8. What about the quality of the books?
  9. Conclusion

 

How TPR is reviewed by students and the learning community?

 

You can check TPR’s average score and reviews from students who took the course on Trustpilot. At the time of this writing, it holds a score of  8/10 based on almost 600 reviews. 

 

princeton review score ranking

 

If you read some of the opinions, you’ll see that test-takers usually recommend their services. A few are angry or disappointed because of missed or canceled classes, or small technical problems that prevented them from taking full advantage of the courses. But these situations are rare.

 

Other review sites usually score TPR prep at 4 / 5 or 5 / 5. The courses are quite expensive (live online cost $799 to $2999 and self-paced cost $179 to $799) but in the end, this may turn out to be a good investment.

 

That’s because you’ll be able to get into a better school and possibly get merit-based scholarships with a higher score.

 

Related content:

 

Are TPR test prep courses effective?

 

Based on opinions and reports I gathered from Quora, Reddit, and different student forums, TPR courses actually do work (mostly for MCAT, AP, ACT, and SAT).

 

Of course, the top option would be to hire a private tutor. Studies have shown that this method of study increases student’s scores the most. But not everyone has money ($50-$100 per hour) to hire a teacher. That’s where an online class or even a self-paced course may come in handy.

 

By logging into TPR dashboard, you’ll see a personalized study plan, and performance reports. All of this will help you to achieve higher scores along the way.

 

Most of the TPR practice questions are actually harder than the real world exams, which means you’ll get a more thorough prep.

 

Is it good for MCAT?

 

princeton review mcat

 

Based on my observations, and opinions of dozens of students, Princeton Review actually offers the best MCAT prep course on the market.

 

The 7,5 hours test is a major challenge for the majority of students. Investing in proper prep is a good idea as a slightly higher score can mean a big difference in the med-school application process.

 

Most students who take the “live-online” course (priced at around $2500), report a score  improvement of 7 to 10 points  compared to their previous score. The courses offer a guarantee of at least 510 points which is already a decent MCAT score.

 

Here are all the major features of the courses on offer:

 

MCAT Live Online Ultimate (Princeton Review)
PriceCheck the price here
Live classroom time123 hours
BooksA set of 11 books
Full length online practice tests15 practice tests
Personal live 1-to-1 coaching0h (but available at an additional cost)
On-demand instructional videos500+ hours of on-demand video
Practice questions with explanations10.000+ practice questions
GuaranteeMCAT 510+ guarantee option. Improve your score by at least 10 points or get at least 510, or your money back.
Study Manager Missions (gamification of the course)Yes
Email assistanceYes (technical)

 

 

Related content:

 

Is it good for the SAT/ACT?

 

princeton review sat act

 

It all depends on your current baseline score. If you’re already scoring high and find yourself in the top 20% of test-takers, the course usually won’t be of much help.

 

In this situation, it’s best to focus on crunching more full-length practice tests until you hit the desired score. But if you need just a little push  (2-5 points on ACT or 30-50 points on SAT)  to get into your dream college, taking a course is a great idea.

 

But if you’re taking the course, make sure you crunch the materials from the College Board as well. You’ll find they’re a bit easier and straightforward than the ones from TPR.

 

What I like about these courses is that they’re not super expensive and quite often you can get discounts on them. Another great thing is that they offer an improved score guarantee with the live-online courses.

 

That’s at least 31 points on the ACT and 1400 points on SAT. These are kinds of scores that will let you get into college more easily.

 

The price range is $250 for a self-paced course, $750 for the “ultimate” course and around $1200-$1400 for the courses with the strongest guarantees.

 

Princeton also offers a range of SAT/ACT prep books that contain extra materials and mock tests. Most students who take the course improve their score  by 2-4 points on the ACT and 30-50 points on SAT.  I think that’s a decent improvement well worth the investment.

 

Here are the main features of the SAT/ACT courses form TPR:

 

Princeton Review Ultimate SAT Course
PriceCheck the price here
Live classroom time18 hours
BooksYes, 3 books included with the course
Full-length online practice testsYes, 3 scheduled, proctored practice tests + 19 additional tests
On-demand instructional videos140+ instructional SAT videos
Practice questions with explanations240 online drills + 2000+ practice questions
GuaranteeYes, higher score guarantee (1240+ and 1400+ guarantees with premium courses)
Email assistanceYes, technical assistance
Mobile learning appYes – Parent Portal + Student Portal
Personalized study planYes
Progress tracking and reportsYes

 

 

Is it good for GRE / GMAT?

 

princeton review gre gmat

 

GRE and GMAT are necessary for most business and marketing schools. TPR has a decent offer here, but I’ve found that other companies such as Magoosh and The Economist offer comparable courses for a low price ($99 – $450).

 

The self-paced option from TPR is actually quite affordable ($299) but you’ll have to pay around $1000 for the most comprehensive version of the course.

 

Anyway, with TPR you’ll get over a thousand practice questions, and 4 practice tests. But these types of materials are also available in inexpensive books. It’s great to use TPR to familiarize yourself with the exam, and then use Manhattan Prep, Magoosh and ETS books for practice tests.

 

The thing about GRE is that you don’t necessarily need a lot of guidance and instruction.

 

If you have a decent online platform where you can crunch practice tests, and vocabulary, that’s good enough, and you don’t have to pay too much for it. Especially because some of the GRE teachers are rather inexperienced, and they’ll simply repeat what’s already in your book.

 

It’s always great to invest in extra prep, but in this case, it doesn’t have to break the bank.

 

Here are the main features of the GRE courses from TPR:

 

Princeton Ultimate GRE Live Online
PriceCheck the price here
Live classroom time24 hours of live expert instruction
Books1-2 books provided with the course
Full length online practice tests8 computer adaptive-by-section practice exams
On-demand instructional videos24 hours of video content available
Practice questions with explanations3500+ practice questions
The Official Test Day ExperienceNo
GuaranteeHigher score guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you can take the course again for free or get your money back.

 

 

Related content: Kaplan vs. Princeton Review – Which One Is Better?

 

Is it good for LSAT?

 

princeton review lsat

 

Here the opinions differ, as there are lots of great LSAT options on the market. Many people swear by Princeton, but you can use other courses like Magoosh, Khan Academy and especially 7sage, which will give you the same, or even better experience than TPR.

 

7sage is an especially popular course among students and it costs much less than the one from TPR. It has a 14-day money back guarantee so it might be worth to try it before signing up for the pricier option.

 

Then there’s also Kaplan but their LSAT courses fall short on too many levels to be considered a viable option. The biggest flaw is hiring inexperienced teachers.

 

This may also be the case with Princeton Review as they usually hire people who scored high on LSAT but don’t have many years of experience teaching. That’s why in this department it’s better to pass on both options, and just go with a self-paced course which will be equally effective.

 

Here are the main features of the GRE courses from TPR:

 

Princeton LSAT Ultimate Live Online
PriceCheck the price here
Live classroom time84 hours of live instruction
BooksProvided with the course (see below)
Full length online practice tests6 full-length proctored exams
Personal live 1-to-1 coachingNo (but you can get it as an additional option – on-demand 1-to-1 tutoring)
On-demand instructional videos150+ hours of online on-demand video content
Practice questions with explanationsThousands of questions with explanations
GuaranteeHigher score guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you can take the course again for free or get your money back.

 

 

Is it good for AP?

 

princeton review ap

 

The AP courses from Princeton Review are actually recommended, as almost no other prep company deals with this test. TPR is an exception here as it offers a specialized yet affordable ($149) cram course which also comes with a section-specific book.

 

These intensive courses give you 6 hours of live action as well as the most effective strategies for dealing with the test.

 

All areas of AP are covered, including world history, US history, English language, English literature, US government, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, and European history.

 

These courses are conducted around 2 or 3 times per month and give you two,  3-hour intense sessions of AP prep.  The book, which usually costs around $30 is included in the course. It looks like a good and inexpensive deal to me.

 

What about the quality of the books?

 

princeton review act course screenshot 2

 

I can recommend the Princeton Review books with a clear conscience. They’re rather inexpensive (around $20 a pop). But they contain a wealth of information and most importantly give you access to a huge amount of practice questions and a few full-length tests. Some of them have  over 500 pages filled with useful tips and strategies. 

 

Basically, their books are like a self-paced course in miniature and at a much lower cost. Most of the TPR books receive 4 out of 5 or 4,5 out of 5 scores on sites like Amazon.

 

The titles relate to all the major exams. The ones for MCAT are especially recommended as it’s a set of 7 different titles you can buy and use as your own little course. These study bundles receive excellent reviews from pre-med students.

 

Note that if you take one of the prep courses, you’ll receive the books as a part of the package. But if you decide on a self-paced option, you’ll probably have to buy them separately.

 

One title that TPR is definitely known for is the Complete Book of Colleges (updated every year), which is a great resource if you’re starting to apply to a college. You can check different titles on Princeton Review’s Amazon page.

 

Conclusion

 

As you can see, the effectiveness of the Princeton Review courses depends on which course you take as well as your preferred method of study.

 

You can expect moderate-to-good success with these courses and you actually don’t have to spend more than $1000 on a live-online option because there are lots of great self-paced courses available at a lower price.

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