Timothy Peck 6 min read 11th Grade, 12th Grade, SAT Info and Tips

Your Guide to Online SAT Prep Classes

Advocate by CollegeVine

Get more financial aid from your top choice college

We'll help you negotiate a better price from your two favorite colleges. Last year, a few of our students even saved more than $100,000 on the total cost of their education (more than $25,000 per year).

According to U.S. News, more than 2.2 million students—a record high—took the SAT in 2019. As the number of students taking the SAT has grown, so have the ways in which students can prepare for the exam. One method that’s gaining popularity are online SAT prep classes. For some students, online classes offer a convenient opportunity to develop the skills and strategies needed to improve their SAT scores, while others may find them lacking the tools they need to ace the test. 

 

To learn more about online SAT prep classes, their pros and cons, how to determine whether they’re legitimate, and where to find free ones, don’t miss this post.

 

Pros of Online SAT Prep Classes 

 

The benefits of online SAT classes are numerous: they’re flexible, convenient, and comparatively inexpensive. All of this adds up to making them the most accessible way to study for the SAT regardless of financial situation, location, or schedule. 

 

Anytime Access: Online SAT prep classes allow students to study according to their own schedule, making it easier to prepare for the SAT in between their numerous other commitments, such as school and extracurricular activities. The easy access offered by online learning also eliminates the need to travel to an SAT class, allowing busy students to devote travel time to their studies and unburdening parents who might need to provide transportation to a class. 

 

Flexible: The majority of online SAT prep classes are more flexible than other study methods. In addition to conforming to a student’s schedule, they provide students with the ability to work through them at their own pace, rather than be beholden to the pace of a full classroom. This creates a more relaxed learning environment and ensures the student fully grasps the material before moving on.   

 

Better Teachers: Online SAT prep classes aren’t bound by geography when choosing a class, which gives online students a much broader selection of experts, tutors, and classes for their SAT prep. It also levels the playing field for students outside of a top city for education like New York or Boston, bringing the nation’s top tutors into rural and urban homes alike. 

 

Less Expensive: Online SAT prep classes are generally cheaper than comparable in-person classes. The savings are further amplified when you consider the cost of time and transportation to and from in-person prep classes. Because of their affordability, online prep classes are an excellent option for students on a budget. 

 

Choice: There is a huge variety of online SAT prep courses available to students, covering a wide spectrum of depth, duration, and cost. The result of this is that there are online prep classes available for almost every kind of student—they just have to find the right one for them.   

 

Cons of Online SAT Prep Programs

 

Online SAT prep classes provide many advantages to students, but they’re not without their pitfalls. Most notable is the lack of a personal relationship, which some students find beneficial when studying for such a stressful exam. 

 

Tailored to You: One of the major disadvantages of online prep courses is that they lack a personal touch. When taking an in-person class, teachers/tutors can identify your weaknesses and adapt their programming to focus on them. Similarly, teachers can go into detail about why an answer is wrong, and walk you step-by-step through the process of coming to the correct answer, ensuring you don’t make the same mistake on test day. 

 

Asking Questions: While most classes have a function that enables students to ask questions, such as a chat box, it’s limited compared to being able to ask questions face-to-face. Similarly, it’s also more challenging to create discourse around how an answer is arrived at, which deprives the student and teacher from taking advantage of a teachable moment. 

 

Accountability: Online prep courses are awesome for self-motivated and independent learners, but many students require a person to hold them accountable. Having to see a person regularly helps keep many students on track and provides motivation when necessary. 

 

Note: The above three disadvantages are only true for online classes, and not online individualized tutoring. In the case of tutoring, there will still be a personal relationship, chance to ask questions, and accountability.

 

Distractions: Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok—the internet is teeming with distractions and temptation is just a window away. Unlike in-person prep, where time is blocked out in a controlled environment, online SAT prep classes require discipline. 

 

Digitally Deprived: Online prep classes take place in the world of screens and keyboard, but the SAT is analog and taken with pencil and paper. Students engaged in online SAT prep courses are at a disadvantage to students who have practiced for the real-life conditions they’ll encounter on exam day.  This can be remedied, however, if students take paper and pencil practice tests.

 

Advocate by CollegeVine

Get more financial aid from your top choice college

We'll help you negotiate a better price from your two favorite colleges. Last year, a few of our students even saved more than $100,000 on the total cost of their education (more than $25,000 per year).

 

How to Determine if Online SAT Classes are Legitimate

 

The growth of online SAT prep classes has also led to a rise in SAT scams. Like any online purchase, a little research into a company goes a long way. Below are a few tried-and-true ways to determine the legitimacy of online SAT prep classes. 

 

Contact Information: Most legitimate test prep companies will have contact information available on their website. Look for a phone number you can call, a contact page you can chat on, or a social media channels—like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter—you can connect with the company through. If there’s not an easy way to contact the company, you have a reason for suspicion.  

 

About Us: A reputable online SAT prep course provider will have an “About Us” web page, a page that lists team members, and a page that provides background information on the business—most reputable businesses will have all three. 

 

Look them Up: After discovering an online SAT test prep company’s key executives, search them on Google or look them up on LinkedIn. The results often offer illuminating insight into the veracity of a company. 

 

Check the Press: Because SAT prep has become big business, the press covers many of the companies offering it. Look for articles in major publications—such as the New York Times, Forbes, Business Insider, or the Wall Street Journal—about the company in question when determining its legitimacy. 

 

Terms and Services: Most above-board business will have a web page dedicated to their terms of use, along with a page dedicated to their privacy policy. Read them carefully and look for suspicious language. 

 

Quality Content: Developing high-quality content is expensive and time consuming. An abundance of unique, polished content is likely a good tip-off that the business is legitimate and lawful. 

 

Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau’s website is a simple way to get relevant and useful information regarding a business. The Better Business Bureau also assigns businesses a grade from A+ (best) to F (worst) for how likely a business is to interact with their customers. 

 

Customer Reviews: Before committing to a company, check their reviews. And don’t rely on just one source of information; rather, take a broad sampling of reviews from outlets such as the business’s website, Yelp, and TrustPilot before forming an opinion. 

 

Best Online SAT Prep Classes 

 

If you want to devote your energy to studying rather researching SAT providers, or are dubious of most online providers, you can always play it safe and stick with test prep from the College Board (the association that administers the SAT) or with a well-established SAT prep program like the ones listed below.  

 

Khan Academy

Cost: Free

 

Totally free and created in collaboration with the makers of the SAT themselves, Khan Academy is a favorite for online SAT prep. The site delivers everything from practice tests to instructional videos to interactive questions. If that’s not enough to convince you, the College Board found that studying for the SAT for 20 hours with Khan Academy is associated with an average score gain of 115 points. 

 

The Princeton Review

Cost: $399-2,000

 

One of the more recognizable names in online SAT prep, The Princeton Review earned its reputation as a test prep publisher of books before offering online services. The Princeton Review features comprehensive SAT classes, courses for students aiming for a high score, and private online tutoring. Trusted and reliable, each course from The Princeton Review comes with a satisfaction guarantee: if you aren’t happy with your SAT score after taking their course, you can prep again for free or get your money back.

 

The Princeton Review is also known for its free SAT paper & pencil practice tests, which are offered at Princeton Review centers and proctored by SAT teachers.

 

Kaplan

Cost: free-$2,000

 

Kaplan is another name long-associated with test prep thanks to their tutoring centers and study guides. Offering a broad array of online SAT prep courses, students can choose from self-paced online lessons to one-on-one tutoring. Kaplan also occasionally offers a free online 1.5 hour prep class, which you can sign up for here.

 

CollegeVine

Cost: free

 

CollegeVine hosts a huge library of free information on the SAT that any student will find valuable. Whether you’re looking for tips and tricks or how to organize your studies in advance of the test, we’ve got what you need. Download our free SAT checklist today and check out some of our awesome SAT info below: 

 

SAT YouTube Videos

How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT

15 Hardest SAT Math Questions

Links to Every SAT Practice Test + Other Free Resources

 

Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

Want more college admissions tips?

We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.


Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.