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Helping your child find the right resources for preparing for the ACT can be tough. With so many courses out there from companies that all claim to be “the best”, how is a parent supposed to know which one to choose? Fortunately, at Sojourning Scholar we’re trying to make that easier for you by thoroughly reviewing all of the top ACT courses available in 2022.
This article is going to cover all the features of The Princeton Review ACT prep course. Our testing specialists used the self-paced platform to go through TPR’s ACT prep course and figure out what works well, what needs improvement, and which students might be the best fit for the platform.
The Princeton Review (TPR) offers ACT prep courses at a range of price points depending on if a student would like to complete a self-paced online course, a structured class, or one-on-one tutoring. With online video lessons, practice tests, and goal-setting, TPR sets your child up for success with the ACT or SAT.
Is The Princeton Review ACT Prep Course Right for Your Child?
Who we recommend the course for:
- Students with a set goal in mind related to their ACT score and target college
- Students who prefer interactive lessons
Who we don't recommend the course for:
- Students who aren’t motivated to take full-length tests on their own
- Those who are looking for real-time responses for issues that come up during the course
The Princeton Review ACT Prep Course Overview
The Princeton Review offers multiple options for their ACT prep courses. There are structured courses, private tutoring packages, and self-paced courses available.
For the structured course, The Princeton Review highlights their 31+ ACT Prep Course, which is a two-month course. For private tutoring, they offer the 34+ guarantee, which involves purchasing an 18-hour tutoring package.
The ACT Summer Camp is an intensive 2-week course for students looking for quick results. The ACT Essentials Course offers students starting at any level the chance to improve their ACT score through a structured class.
Finally, the self-paced course allows students to complete the online learning modules, drills, and practice tests with a personalized study schedule.
The Princeton Review ACT Prep Course Similarities
All of The Princeton Review ACT prep courses include the following:
- Guaranteed results
- Available online
- Tutoring add-on packages are available for the courses
- Self-paced course contains the videos from the 31+ Course
- Structured classes are all designed for efficiency
The Princeton Review ACT Prep Course Distinctions
While the ACT courses have some similarities, there are key differences:
- 31+ Course, Essentials Course, and Summer Camp are synchronous courses that are booked on a schedule, whereas the 34+ tutoring and the self-paced course are scheduled for a specific student
- Certain courses are available both online and in-person. The ACT 34+ Tutoring, ACT 31+ Course, and ACT Essentials Course offer the option to learn in-person, whereas the self-paced course and the Summer Camp are exclusively online.
- The score increase guarantees differ between The Princeton Review ACT courses. For example, the ‘better score guarantee’ applies to the ACT Essentials, ACT Summer Camp, ACT Comprehensive Tutoring Package, and the self-paced ACT course, while specific point increases apply to the 31+ Course and the 34+ Tutoring. We will discuss these in detail later.
The self-paced course lessons are a mix between videos and interactive slideshows. There are separate lessons for test-taking strategies, English, math, reading, science, and writing.
Within the coursework, you can choose one of three options - refresh, learn, or practice. The refresh option prompts you to watch the brief video lesson, while the learn option launches the interactive slideshow/video with questions spaced out.
In addition to the coursework, The Princeton Review includes all of the video lessons from the ACT 31+ course.
These video lessons are live with a full view of the teacher/instructor and the classroom. Essentially, these are recordings from the actual classes that took place, which is nice because it almost feels like you’re in the classroom yourself.
Each lesson is about 5-10 minutes and covers a specific topic. The instructors are engaging and knowledgeable. We liked how the lessons didn’t seem like they were being read from a script. The instructors added their own personalities to the lessons and even inserted some humor in their examples.
For the coursework specifically designed for the self-paced platform, students are prompted to complete different modules on the main dashboard depending on their progress, which is a nice personalization.
For instance, if a student completes the first practice test, The Princeton Review creates a score report that can be used to determine areas that need the most improvement or even spots that are considered “quick wins”.
Within the lessons, there are quizzes and practice sets for students to complete. This allows them to test their knowledge and determine when they are ready to continue to the next section.
Live classes are only available for the 31+ ACT course, the Summer Camp, and the ACT Essentials course. These classes are typically 3 hours long and take place 2x per week. There are scheduled practice tests throughout the courses as well.
There are also ACT Advantage scheduled classes that students can attend when they are enrolled in one of the previously mentioned courses, where students can with The Princeton Review expert ACT instructors in an online virtual classroom. This is part of the LiveOnline platform, which is available for students to use as often as they’d like when enrolled in a structured course.
Students who enroll in The Princeton Review self-paced ACT course also have the option to add on up to 10 hours of on-demand tutoring for an extra fee. The on-demand tutoring allows students to get 24/7 support for their ACT prep via desktop, mobile, or tablet devices. You also get a lower rate per hour when you choose a bundle option of 10, 30, or 50 hours per month.
Additionally, The Princeton Review’s online/in-person tutoring packages are available with the 34+ plan. The rates are pretty high, with an hour of one on one tutoring coming to $278.
The Princeton Review states that their 34+ tutoring instructors are ‘selected from our most experienced and in-demand tutors’. However, it doesn’t necessarily say what the standards are for being selected for this elite tutoring program.
It is fairly easy to navigate through The Princeton Review ACT platform. The home screen includes a dashboard with easy access to a student’s progress, tasks, and the timeline for test preparation.
One thing that was a bit difficult was navigating the practice quiz screen. It took a few minutes for us to figure out where the buttons were for going to the next question and going back to review. However, once you try out different parts of the platform, it’s easy to adapt to the user interface.
Review of The Princeton Review ACT Practice Questions & Tests
Practice questions in lessons and drills
The questions in the learn section are more guided, meaning that they aren’t necessarily in the format of the real test questions. Instead, they are designed to help you work through the basic concepts.
The practice section is a full drill. This takes place in the form of an official ACT and you can treat it like a quiz. The questions are exactly as if you are taking the real test.
Full-length practice test experience
The Princeton Review has 11 full-length practice tests available in the self-paced course. There are 4 required tests that must be completed for the score guarantee. While the tests are official, we found that some were easily available for free online. For instance, when searching for the name/code for the first practice test, we were able to locate it on the internet for free.
However, one great thing about the full-length test experience is the detailed score report that you receive at the end. You’ll see your predicted score for each section and you even have a chance to submit an essay for grading.
Students can choose to fill in the online answer sheet or download the pdf to take the pen and paper version and then simply submit their answers at the end. The online answer sheet looks like a typical bubble sheet that students fill out on the day of the test.
Quality of answer explanations
The explanations to the answers are rather brief, both for the in-lesson drills and the full-length practice tests. For the full-length practice tests, when we reviewed our score report, the answer explanations were just a typical paragraph that you’d see in a prep book. While there was also a chance to review the concepts covered in that question, the explanation itself was lacking depth.
The explanations for the in-lesson drills were very similar, with a short generic paragraph and a tag with the content topics tested.
Overall, we felt that the answer explanations for The Princeton Review ACT course fell short of our expectations, especially when compared to competitors that offer video explanations.
While The Princeton Review self-paced course claims to offer a live help chat, we found that we did not receive a response to our question, at least not within a few days. The chat claims to provide answers ‘typically within a few hours’.
The other course options include Live Class, which allows for more support, but it is unfortunate that those who take the self-paced course aren’t guaranteed a prompt response to questions.
The Princeton Review ACT Pricing
The Princeton Review’s 31+ ACT course is normally $1,849, while the ACT Essentials course is $949 and the Summer Camp is $1,499. The 34+ Tutoring is $278/hour. The most affordable option is the self-paced ACT course, which is normally $299.
Fortunately, there are almost always promotions listed on The Princeton Review’s site for their SAT and ACT courses. You can typically save around $200 per course with the ongoing promotions. There aren’t specific payment plans available, but The Princeton Review does allow you to put down a deposit when you enroll in the course. The remaining balance gets charged 10 days before the course start date.
Other Features and Resources
There is no mobile app for The Princeton Review ACT prep. However, one new feature they’re rolling out is The Princeton Review Live. You can subscribe to their channel on YouTube for a weekly live stream on SAT, ACT, college admissions, and other academic topics.The reason we make this recommendation is that the self-paced course doesn’t seem to offer anything extra compared to competitors, but the price is a lot higher. On the other hand, the structured, live classes that are offered by the other packages justify the steep price. Essentially, you are paying for a 5-point score guarantee.
Trial, Score Improvement, and Money Back Policies
Availability of free trial
The Princeton Review offers a 14-day full-access free trial of the self-paced ACT prep course. However, this requires you to enter a valid payment method. In addition, there is a link to schedule time to speak with an enrollment counselor for free before making a purchase.
Score increase Guarantee
The Princeton Review does offer a score increase guarantee. However, these policies are a little tricky after reviewing all the details.
The Princeton Review has different guarantees based on which ACT course you select.
The ‘better score guarantee’ applies to the ACT Essentials, ACT Summer Camp, ACT Comprehensive Tutoring Package, and the self-paced ACT course. This says that if a student submits their baseline ACT score (either an official test before taking the course or the first official practice test during the course) and the first test taken after completing the course, The Princeton Review guarantees some sort of improvement.
If your score doesn’t improve, you’ll be refunded 100% of the cost, but there are certain requirements that also need to be met including attending all scheduled classes, taking all required practice tests as scheduled, and completing all homework assigned throughout the course.
For the 31+ ACT prep class, the guarantee depends on the student’s starting score. For those who are starting below a 26 composite score, The Princeton Review guarantees a 5-point increase and for those who start at or above 26, The Princeton Review guarantees at least a 31 after taking the course. This is a little misleading when the guarantee is advertised as 31+.
Similar conditions apply for the 34+ Comprehensive ACT Tutoring Package guarantee. Students who are starting below a 29 composite score are guaranteed a 5-point increase, while those who are starting at or above 29 actually get the guarantee of a 34.
Money back policy
The Princeton Review doesn’t have a money-back policy other than the score increase guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the course after taking it, The Princeton Review allows you to retake it free of charge.
Which ACT Prep Course Should You Get by The Princeton Review
Overall, The Princeton Review offers a bunch of different ACT prep options which vary greatly in price, structure, and support. Based on our experience, we’d recommend the 31+ Course for those starting below a 29 composite score, and the 34+ Tutoring Package for those who are already scoring at or above 29.
How Do The Princeton Review ACT Courses Compare to Other Courses?
When you’re looking for the perfect ACT prep program for your child, you need to consider what the competitors offer. Take a look at our comparisons:
The Princeton Review ACT prep vs Magoosh ACT prep
- The Princeton Review offers their 1-year access to the ACT self-paced course for $299, while Magoosh's one-year premium access costs $129
- Magoosh offers a mobile app for their ACT prep, while The Princeton Review does not
- The Princeton Review’s score guarantee varies depending on the package you purchase, but Magoosh offers a 4+ point guarantee for their self-paced course.
- The Princeton Review has about 18 hours of live video instruction, whereas Magoosh offers over 34 hours of instructional videos on their app for free.
For more information, check out our full Magoosh ACT prep review.
The Princeton Review ACT prep vs PrepScholar ACT prep
- PrepScholar offers a 4+ point guarantee for their self-paced course, but The Princeton Review’s score guarantee varies depending on the package you purchase
- Neither PrepScholar nor The Princeton Review offers a mobile app for their ACT prep
- The Princeton Review's self-paced course is normally $299 for 1-year access, but PrepScholar's 12-month program is $397
To learn more, check out our full PrepScholar ACT prep course review.
The Princeton Review ACT prep vs Kaplan ACT prep
- The Princeton Review has 11 official ACT practice tests available through their self-paced course, whereas Kaplan offers 5
- The Princeton Review has a ‘better score guarantee’ for their self-paced ACT course, but Kaplan does not offer a score guarantee for their self-paced ACT course
- Both Kaplan and The Princeton Review allow you to add on tutoring packages
- The Princeton Review’s ACT self-paced course is $299 for one year, but Kaplan’s course is $119 for six months
To learn more, check out our full Kaplan ACT prep course review.
The Princeton Review ACT Prep FAQs
To finish up our review of The Princeton Review ACT prep courses, we’re going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions:
Is the Princeton Review Good for ACT prep?
The Princeton Review is one of the top test prep providers. By completing a full ACT prep course with The Princeton Review, students are better prepared for test day. However, one thing that can prevent students from choosing this program is the cost.
Is Kaplan or Princeton Review better for the ACT?
Kaplan’s ACT prep is different from The Princeton Review’s, but this doesn’t mean that one provider is necessarily better than another. Rather, the programs are better suited for different types of students, so it’s best to figure out what your child values in a study program.
Is the Princeton Review harder than the ACT?
Overall, we’ve found that when it comes to the ACT, The Princeton Review is right on point with the level of difficulty. However, when it comes to some of the other test prep programs, like the SAT, The Princeton Review tends to be more difficult than the actual test.