Khan Academy vs The Princeton Review for SAT Test Prep

Doing your best on the SAT test is one of the most important steps of your high school career, so the obvious goal is to make sure that you achieve the highest score possible. There are a variety of options available to students to make this a reality, but the large number of choices can easily confuse you and your family.

Two prep courses you hear about often are Khan Academy and The Princeton Review, for reasons both similar and unique. Let’s investigate the Khan Academy vs. The Princeton Review dynamics to discover why they are both so popular:

Background

Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that was founded by Salman Khan in 2006. This organization focuses on the learning needs of students from kindergarten to advanced high school courses, and provides content through partnerships with MIT, NASA , The California Academy of Sciences and more. Khan Academy has recently teamed up with the makers of the SATs, the College Board, to provide exclusive content to students directly from the source.

The Princeton Review, despite its name, is not associated with Princeton University. It is, however, a highly esteemed organization founded by Princeton graduate John Katzman in 1981. The Princeton Review offers a number of preparation programs for tests such as the MCAT, GRE and of course, the SAT.

The Princeton Review SAT prep course offers these services:

Self-Paced Plus

This program includes hundreds of online drills, over 3,000 online questions that you can practice with, and single-section and full-length SAT practice tests. This program also offers PSAT prep, and a personalized lesson plan thanks to its Recommendation Engine.

Live-Online

Offers 18 hours of LiveOnline class time and access to past recorded sessions. This program also gives three chances to take a proctored practice test along with practice tests of both single and full sections. Live-Online also offers customized study plans, goal setting assistance and homework assignments.

In-Person/SAT Ultimate Classroom

This program provides 18 hours of in-person class time along with the ability to tune into unlimited LiveOnline sessions. It also includes the same proctored and non-proctored practice tests and personalized assistance of the previously mentioned programs.

Private Tutoring (in-person and online)

Hourly tutoring with an expert that is completely personalized to your specific SAT goals.

Princeton Review also offers the SAT 1400 and SAT 1240 with a money-back guarantee if the student does not receive this score or higher, along with a last-minute Cram Course for right before the tests. There is also a 24-hour turnaround On-Demand Essay Review program that reviews a practice essay and lets you know certain things that you should improve on for a better score.

The Khan Academy SAT prep course offers these services:

Khan Academy condenses its preparation approach with an all-encompassing program. After uploading your PSAT scores into its system to find what you should focus on the most, the program includes:

  • A personalized practice plan
  • Unlimited access to 8 actual full-length tests provided by the College Board in paper and online form
  • A virtually countless amount of lessons, practice questions, test-taking strategies and videos

This program provides feedback that is both on-demand and watchful; it notices where a student needs assistance and guides you through a more effective path, and it also gives helpful notation of how much progress you’ve made whenever you ask.

Khan Academy provides this in both its full-length and general programs as well as in two separate tutorials that focus on math and reading and writing. There is also a host of tips, hints and strategies provided to the test taker.

Khan Academy also allows educators to review the student’s progress, schedule, and steps taken, and then assists them with creating lessons that will effectively help the student succeed. Parents are also able to get in on the action with access to the Coach dashboard that allows them to see practice test results along with the following lesson plans that teachers have issued in response to the results.

Pricing

Khan Academy is a nonprofit school that prides itself on providing verified improvements on SAT scores at no cost at all.

Current (fall 2018)pricing for the Princeton Review programs are:

  • $299 for the Self-Paced Plus program
  • $899 for the Live-Online Program
  • $899 for the In-Person program
  • Private tutoring starting at $167 an hour

The SAT 1400 is $1,599, the SAT 1240 is $1,399, and the Cram course is $399. The essay review program is $59 for each essay.

Results

While there has been some conflict on the actual impact of taking Princeton Review courses, they now feature a money-back guarantee if no improvement in scores is shown. The College Board, however, is reporting a 115-point improvement in test takers who have completed the Khan Academy SAT prep program. While Princeton Review may be costly for some, it is important to note that students of all incomes and backgrounds enjoyed the significant test score improvement by using the help offered from Khan Academy.

Which is Best?

Khan Academy is dedicated to the betterment of any individual seeking education, and it shows it with non-stop updates to the SAT prep program. Its joining forces with the official makers of the SAT shows that the College Board also recognizes this; both organizations want students to excel. The College Board has taken steps to align the SAT with high school classes more, and Khan Academy gives the opportunity for teachers to work closely with students to prepare them. This process prevents the isolation that could happen when a student possibly receives conflicting information from a private study course and their high school lessons.

In a fast-paced world with consistent improvements being made in every part of our lives, staying up-to-date is essential. Khan Academy not only has the ability to provide questions from actual SATs for students, it also has exclusive access to unreleased questions from the College Board that give students a jump up on what they may meet once they fill in that first bubble. Khan Academy focuses on evolving education and preparation without the added cost of programs like The Princeton Review that may or not produce results, may use outdated materials and certainly requires rigid scheduling that could complicate students, parents and teachers during a very important time.