One of the biggest hurdles to the college acceptance letter you’ve been working so hard for is the SAT. If you’ve been searching for the best online SAT course to get you there, this article will help you decide.
There are so many courses out there to pick from. Some take a weekend, others months. And the cost ranges from FREE to thousands! Making such a decision is complex, and my goal is to make sure you’re confident in yours before you hit purchase.
I’ve spent hours researching online SAT courses and testing them out for you. In addition to that dedicated time, the last 7 years of my career were spent preparing high schoolers in my English classroom. I’m confident that the list you’re about to review only features the most authentic, comprehensive, and worthwhile courses.
Whether you skim or dive deep, I’m quite sure that you’ll have narrowed down your options by the end of this article. So, without further ado, let me help you choose the SAT course that will make your college dreams come true!
What is the best SAT prep course?
Here are the top SAT prep courses:
- Princeton Review
- Khan Academy
- Prep Scholar
- Varsity Tutors
- Prep Expert
- Clearpath Advantage
It took a lot of research and reflection on my own experience with college-bound students, but I’ve confirmed that Princeton Review’s SAT course is the top contender. With 40 years of experience and expertise under their belts, they’re hard to beat. While they provide a variety of course options, they always supply the largest library of authentic study materials, including 22 full-length and 8 single-section practice tests (That’s insane!), both online and print materials, and 36 hours of live instruction. While self-study is supported with such a vast toolbox of resources, students always have 24/7 access to expert SAT tutors to walk them through a tough concept or practice problem. Whether you’re searching for independent study or one-on-one support, I can confidently say that Princeton Review offers the most comprehensive and effective SAT courses out there. Sure, it’s pricey, but the payoff is worth it.
While I can’t speak highly enough of Princeton Review, Magoosh showed up as an impressive second choice. This mission-based test prep platform offers a high quantity of high-quality resources for a fraction of Princeton Review’s price tag. For just $129, students can access over 1,750 practice questions, 200 engaging video lessons, up to 3 practice tests, and a personalized study plan. For $399, you can enjoy 16 hours of live instruction from a 99th-percentile SAT instructor. When compared to Princeton Review, Magoosh’s library of self-study materials is smaller and their videos are less engaging, but what you do get is more than enough to improve your SAT score–plus, they offer a +100-point guarantee! What I appreciate about Magoosh is their mission to break down any and all financial barriers to test prep and higher education. With their current offerings, they’re already making it happen.
My top 2 are locked in, but I was impressed by a few other platforms in my top 10. The fact that Khan Academy offers authentic study materials and practice exams for FREE in collaboration with the College Board (the SAT’s creator) is pretty awesome. In addition, while a big commitment, I found Prep Expert’s (a Shark Tank winner) 6-Week Flagship Course to be a highly effective and efficient deep dive into solid SAT prep. And, in terms of live instruction, Clearpath Advantage has focused on small class sizes and strategic, ability-focused grouping as their unique strategy.
Each SAT practice course offers something special to its dedicated students, so let me break down the options to help you select your favorite.
Best free SAT prep course
The following SAT courses have free materials or trials to help you decide if they’re the right fit:
- Princeton Review offers a 14-day free trial for interested students where they can view their expert video lessons, drills, and more. There’s limited access, but for a more expensive course such as this, it’s comforting to explore what you’re paying for.
- Magoosh offers a 7-day free trial with limited access to their study materials. However, you can do enough exploring to decide if the resources and platform structure fit your needs.
- Khan Academy has partnered with College Board (the creator of the SAT) to provide students with FREE access to thousands of practice questions, tons of video lessons, and a selection of full-length exams. For students who just can’t swing the cost of pricier courses, I recommend you start here.
Best SAT prep course reviews
1. Princeton Review
Platform: Princeton Review’s SAT 1400+ | Teacher: SAT experts with 37 hours of training | Course length: 36 hours of live instruction plus hundreds of hours of self-study
Princeton Review has been educating students for over 40 years; they know what you need to succeed and have uncovered the most effective and engaging ways to provide it. They’re in the business of student success, and they support this mission through top-quality teaching, one-on-one tutoring, and effective test prep. They’re ranked #1 for getting students into top colleges, and their data shows that 96% of their students improve their grades and 4 out of 5 get into their top-choice school. Ready to be next?
You will have access to:
- Personalized study plan
- Live class sessions
- Engaging instructional videos and drills
- 22 full-length & 8 single-section practice exams
- 24/7 on-demand tutoring
- Paper copies of materials and tests
- 40 years of teaching have created the most effective research-based resources
- Maximum results in minimum time thanks to a focus on strategy over memorization
- Personalized and efficient study plan that’s automatically updated to reflect your progress
- One-on-one support that fits your busy schedule
- So many true-to-life resources
- Pricey, but what a payoff
- A time commitment, but well worth it
Who it’s for: Students who understand a high SAT score means top schools and generous scholarships and are excited to dive into excellent materials and one-on-one support
Overall: Princeton Review’s SAT prep course will get you the SAT score you need for your top school and life-altering scholarships. After 40 years of teaching, its educators have designed immersive, authentic materials that provide an authentic and influential study experience. My high school teaching experience has given me insider knowledge on standardized testing, and I can confidently say that Princeton Review knows the secrets to a high score.
Platform: Magoosh | Teacher: 99th percentile SAT instructors | Course length: 16 hours of live instruction available with upgrade plus hundreds of hours of self-study
In 2008, when one of the founders was studying for their own standardized test, they realized there wasn’t enough support out there for students–especially affordable support. So, in 2009, Magoosh was established to support big goals and big dreams for all. Since then, they’ve given over 6 million students in 185 countries access to their data-driven study materials. 11 million hours of videos have been watched, 400 million practice questions have been answered–and they’re just getting started. It’s your turn to join the dream-making club!
You’ll have access to:
- Curated study plans and personalized practice
- 200+ short and engaging instructional videos
- Friendly, fast support for students
- Smart progress tracking and gamification
- 1,750+ practice questions
- A much cheaper product without losing its value
- Loads of personalization for the most efficient study time
- Friendly and fast support
- Authentic resources
- Voiceover video lessons, but with effective tools
- Requires time, but worth the effort
Who it’s for: Every student who has big SAT dreams and wants affordable access to the best materials.
Overall: Magoosh’s SAT prep course guarantees a 100-point improvement, and their passionate team’s mission is to make it happen for as many students as possible. As a former high school teacher, I’m excited and relieved to see such high-quality materials at prices students can afford.
Read our full review of Magoosh's SAT program
3. Khan Academy
Platform: Khan Academy | Teacher: College Board partners | Course length: Hundreds of hours of free self-study materials
In case you didn’t know, the SAT is created and proctored by the College Board. Most known for their Advanced Placement courses, College Board is a not-for-profit organization focused on providing more students with access to higher education. They’ve partnered with Khan Academy, a provider of free education resources, to support students as they prep for the challenges of the SAT. Khan’s world-class team has put together thousands of authentic practice questions, engaging video lessons, and a library of test-taking tips and strategies–all completely FREE. Add on 8 full-length, College Board-approved practice exams, and you’ve got access to a top SAT score.
You’ll have access to:
- Thousands of practice questions
- 96 lessons covering math, verbal, writing, and test-taking strategies
- Access to prep materials on mobile or desktop
- 8 official College Board practice exams
- Completely FREE access to hundreds of hours of self-study
- Access to prep materials anytime, anywhere
- Feedback provided for practice exam questions
- Personalized study plan created after diagnostic
- Access to Beta AI tutor
- No live instruction or tutoring available, but the rest is free
- 1:1 support is Beta AI, but it’s high-quality and constantly evolving
Who it’s for: Self-motivated students who need free, easy-to-access materials that will help them improve their SAT score.
Overall: I think it’s pretty incredible that College Board has paired up with Khan Academy to make sure their students–all students–have access to high-quality study materials and, therefore, higher education goals. Although no live instruction or tutoring is available, their selection of lessons and practice questions/exams is enough to give so many students an opportunity to improve.
4. Prep Scholar
Platform: Prep Scholar | Teacher: 99th percentile ACT instructors | Course length: 210+ hours of online content plus 1:1 tutoring option with upgrade
Prep Scholar has created an immersive, on-demand SAT course for busy high school students who still want a comprehensive experience. While there are upgrades to add on virtual lessons and 1:1 tutoring, the basic package includes a weekly study plan personalized for each student’s timeline and progress. With the help of 100+ lessons, 10 practice exams, and 7100+ practice questions, students master what Prep Scholar believes are the 49 skills of the SAT.
You’ll have access to:
- 210+ hours of online content
- 100+ skill lessons
- 98 strategy videos featuring narration and annotation
- 10 practice exams and 7100+ practice questions
- A customized weekly study plan that updates as you progress
- Progress report emails and SMS study reminders
- Customizable quizzes to study the topics you want to focus on
- Practice questions include detailed explanations for review
- They’ve broken down the SAT into 49 skills for efficient, comprehensive practice
- Your study plan will be continuously updated to keep you on track
- Upgrades available for more one-on-one support
- Effective updates for the Digital SAT
- Option for Admissions Bootcamp add-on to assist with the rest of your application
- 1:1 help is only available with a more expensive upgrade, but the support is expert-level
- Content seems less in quantity, but it’s organized and focused
Who it’s for: Students who are self-disciplined and desire authentic, well-organized materials that continuously adjust to meet their needs.
Overall: Prep Scholar’s SAT course guarantees a 160-point improvement, and their dedicated experts have created materials that meet the needs of every learner. Their pricing is fair with options for upgrades, and their library of materials is definitely worth it.
Platform: Kaplan | Teacher: Top SAT teachers | Course length: Many hours of online self-study or upgrade for 18 hours of live instruction and 1:1 tutoring
Featuring more than 50 instructional videos, many practice tests, and 1,000+ practice questions, Kaplan’s on-demand SAT prep course will get you in fighting shape to master America’s most widely taken test. This course is flexible, giving you the tools to conquer the exam on your own terms. Exploring your knowledge along the way, Kaplan will teach you what you need to know, help you drill it, and then reinforce what you’ve learned through personalized testing.
- 5 full-length practice tests
- 30 on-demand video lessons
- 2,000+ authentic practice questions
- Customizable and quick quizzes
- Access to the latest SAT prep books
- Flexible course structure, prepare 30 minutes per day
- Super flexible for busy high school students
- Wide range of high-quality resources
- Efficient focus on strategy and methodology
- Cost, but good value and comparable to competitors
- No personal interaction in the on-demand program, but other Kaplan courses offer live-learning
Who it’s for: Independent, dedicated learners who succeed best with flexibility and customization.
Overall: Kaplan's SAT prep courses are designed to be both effective and manageable. Its expert-created material will teach you the ins and outs of the test, which you can study at your own pace.
6. Varsity Tutors
Platform: Varsity Tutors | Teacher: Highly-vetted SAT instructors | Course length: 16 hours of live instruction over 2, 4, or 8 weeks plus 1:1 tutoring upgrade
Varsity Tutors are experts in 1:1 tutoring, and their goal is to guarantee every student gets the right tutor for their needs. Their combination of highly credentialed instructors and state-of-the-art technology create a unique learning experience. If you’re looking for focused 1:1 support, sign up for their tutoring program which starts at $59/hour with personalized lessons. Or you can enroll in their live classes where you’ll learn with 6-9 other dedicated students. In addition to the personalized instruction, Varsity Tutors will give you access to a library of self-study materials, including hundreds of quality SAT questions, practice tests, and more.
- 1:1 tutoring option with personalized curriculum
- Option for 16 hours of live instruction with 6-9 other learners
- Hundreds of ACT questions for in-depth practice
- Mobile app for studying anywhere
- eBooks and practice tests for extensive studying
- The top provider of 1:1 tutoring
- Access to college admissions seminar for further application support
- Lots of free materials to start studying ASAP
- A variety of course options to fit your learning style
- Success guarantee–free course added if you don’t hit your goal
- Course library features fewer self-study materials than others, but small class sizes lead to more personalized instruction
- Can get expensive, but 1:1 support is top-notch
Who it’s for: Motivated learners who want expert-level 1:1 support, personalized instruction, and high-quality study materials.
Overall: Varsity Tutors is an expert in tutoring–no surprise there. For students who are seeking personalized support and lessons, this ACT prep course is the path for them. With options for live class sessions to also learn from other students, there’s a package for everyone.
7. Prep Expert
Platform: Prep Expert | Teacher: Top 1% SAT instructors | Course length: 6-Week Flagship Course (most popular) is 72 hours of instruction. Self-paced is 30 hours.
One of the first things you’ll see on Prep Expert’s site is the label “A Mark Cuban Company” because–that’s right–its founder is a Shark Tank winner! Dr. Shaan Patel is guiding one of the fastest-growing test prep companies thanks to his own success story. When he took the SAT, he went from an average score of 640 to a perfect score of 2400. He’s used his successful strategies as the foundation of his courses on Prep Expert. Here, you can self-study with video lessons taught by Patel himself or enroll in 6 or 8 weeks of live instruction with a top 1% SAT expert.
- Top 1% instructors
- More than 100 SAT skills taught for comprehensive prep
- 200 point increase guarantee or your money back
- On-demand or live instruction options available
- 6 practice exams
- A variety of price points to fit students’ budgets
- Self-study course is taught by the founder himself, a 2400 SAT achiever
- Available on desktop or mobile
- Recordings available if a student is absent from class
- Fewer self-study materials compared to others, but lots of exam experience and practice
- Big commitment, but expert-level instruction
Who it’s for: Learners who want to make a gigantic improvement in a dedicated amount of time and are ready to learn from an expert who has tested his own strategies and found success.
Overall: Prep Expert is an exciting new educational company that students may want to give a shot at. Dr. Shaan Patel has taken his own success story and turned it into a thriving test prep experience. The reviews speak for themselves! 100,000+ students have improved their scores on the ACT and SAT and earned $100,000,000+ in scholarships.
Platform: ePrep| Teacher: SAT experts | Course length: 2-12 months of access to hundreds of hours of self-study
ePrep believes that there are no shortcuts or secrets to a strong SAT score. It’s not going to be fun and it’ll take work, but they’re confident that their tried-and-true program will get you the score you deserve. Their method is (1) test, (2) grade, (3) review, and (4) repeat. By trying hard, learning from your mistakes, and trying again, ePrep believes measurable success can be seen. With their personalized study scheduler, practice tests, and in-depth answer explanation videos, you can see that success yourself.
- Personalized study scheduler with efficient timeline
- Take practice tests in one sitting or by section
- Actual scores, feedback, scores, and target scores provided for goal tracking
- In-depth explanation videos for every question
- Suggested practice materials after feedback
- Cancel monthly subscription at any time
- Access more questions for a low monthly fee
- 250 point guarantee with premium class completion
- Personalized, evidence-based practice
- Detailed feedback for constant improvement
- No live instruction, replaced with feedback videos
- No 1:1 tutoring
Who it’s for: Students who enjoy self-studying, but will benefit from expert-level explanations for challenging questions.
Overall: ePrep has a no-fuss study plan that focuses on practice, feedback, and repetition. It’s a great option for self-motivated learners who benefit from great feedback.
9. Clearpath Advantage
Platform: Clearpath Advantage | Teacher: Results-oriented, 99th percentile teachers | Course length: 18 hours over 6 weeks
Clearpath Advantage focuses on live instruction for their SAT prep course. What makes them strategic and effective is the way they group their students into classes. After taking a diagnostic, they’ll combine you with 2-3 other students with similar strengths and shortcomings to create the most safe and productive learning environment. Over 18 hours of live instruction, you’ll be able to work with said peers and ask your teacher as many questions as needed. Plus, you can access teachers outside of the classroom too.
- 18 hours of live, personalized instruction
- 10-15 practice tests
- Unlimited access to teachers outside of the classroom
- Integrated whiteboard both teachers and students can use during class
- One-on-one teaching available for a higher price
- Small group classes and strategic grouping create a customized, safe learning environment
- Teachers serve as mentors thanks to unlimited access
- Curriculum and instruction are flexible to student needs
- No on-demand option due to focus on strategic small-group instruction
- Fewer self-study materials
Who it’s for: Students who benefit from group work and enjoy learning from other motivated peers and an always-accessible instructor.
Overall: Clearpath Advantage focuses on small-group or one-on-one instruction making their SAT course customized and influential. Students will enjoy personalized, flexible instruction and lots of high-quality practice.
Platform: Testive| Teacher: Highly trained tutors | Course length: You choose the number of months from 2 to 6 or even hourly instruction
Testive is trying a new approach to test prep. Rather than signing up for live classes or gaining access to a library of video lessons for solo study, Testive switches things up with weekly one-on-one coaching sessions to review your self-study and guide your progress. The learning platform features smart software that adapts to your progress and adjusts the difficulty based on performance, and your expert coach monitors your work and reviews it in detail over a 30-minute phone call. Each call consists of review and goal-setting, so you always know what to focus on next. And Testive offers monthly payments vs. hefty packages so you can control the timeline.
- One-on-one private tutoring, in-home or online
- Adaptive learning platform for customized studying
- Instant feedback on practice questions
- Optional add-ons like textbook access, admission advisors, and essay editing
- Subscription-based model with monthly payments to control cost for students
- 1:1 tutoring that is focused and personalized
- Thousands of SAT questions that are customized to each student based on performance
- 8 practice tests with detailed score reporting
- Potential for faster improvement due to one-on-one coaching and efficient instruction
- No video instruction; replaced with coaching calls
- Some key add-ons like answer explanations only come with more expensive packages
Who it’s for: Students who are capable of self-study but also benefit from one-on-one tutoring and goal-setting.
Overall: Testive offers a unique approach to test prep and tutoring. They’ve created an adaptive software that not only customizes the learning experience but keeps your tutor informed so they can guide you week-by-week with 1:1 check-ins.
What are the advantages of taking an SAT prep course?
There are plenty for students with big college goals:
- Get a solid understanding of what will be on the SAT and how to tackle each skill
- Master testing techniques that will benefit you on the SAT and beyond
- Enjoy customized instruction by learning from expert instructors and motivated peers
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses for more effective prep
- Get a comprehensive understanding of what will be on the SAT
- More experience means less test-day anxiety
- Most prep courses have a point-increase guarantee, so no risk
- Get into your top college with a top SAT score!
Buyers guide: what to look out for
Picking the SAT prep course that fits your schedule, meets your learning needs, and matches your budget is a challenge! To narrow down your options, consider the following:
- Is self-study or live instruction right for you? Most SAT prep courses offer both options for learners, but live instruction is definitely more expensive. You need to think about your learning style and what makes you successful. Will it work to self-study for the SAT with answer explanations or is 1:1 support in a class setting essential?
- How many study materials do they offer? If you want the opportunity to study on-demand with high-quality materials, make sure you get a grasp of what each platform has in their library. Some offer textbooks, practice questions, full-length exams, and more. What do you need?
- How much time do you have? Depending on the date of your exam, certain courses may or may not work. If you have months before the test, a self-paced SAT course that you can visit on your own time might work. But if the SAT is right around the corner, a more intensive option may be the most effective and efficient course.
- Price. Every student is working with an individual budget, so the cost of the SAT prep course is important to consider when making a decision. Analyze how many hours of self-study and 1:1 support you’re getting for the price, and don’t forget that this is an investment!
How much does it cost?
The SAT prep courses in this list range from FREE to nearly $3,000 for a package or up to $250/hour for 1:1 tutoring.
These prices are based on the number of study materials provided, your access to expert support, the addition of live instruction or 1:1 tutoring, and the length of the course or access to course materials.
Generally, it’s much cheaper to select a self-guided SAT prep course since you’re paying for materials alone and occasional access to a tutor via chat or email. Prices quickly rise if you add any 1:1 expert support.
When settling on a course, consider your learning style, timeline, and budget to pick the one that’ll ultimately be the greatest investment.
How long does it take to prepare for the SAT?
The number of hours you should dedicate to studying for the SAT depends on the score improvement you want. Prep Scholar suggests the following:
- 0- to 30-point improvement: 10 hours
- 30- to 70-point improvement: 20 hours
- 70- to 130-point improvement: 40 hours
- 130- to 200-point improvement: 80 hours
- 200- to 330-point improvement: 150+ hours
That being said, so much depends on your learning style and pace. The earlier you begin, the better, because then you can work around your busy school schedule and avoid the stress of a time crunch. It’s also necessary to consider if you learn faster independently or with the support of live instruction and peer interaction. The pro of most self-study options is you have, on average, 6-12 months of access so you can study as often as and whenever you need.
Wow, what an SAT exploration! There are many prep classes out there with a medley of special features and add-ons, but even after all my research, I still believe that Princeton Review is the most comprehensive, experience-backed course available. With their huge library of authentic study materials, a plethora of practice tests, and hours of live instruction, it’s simply the top contender. I think any student who dedicates their valuable time and energy to this program will surpass their SAT dreams.
Since Princeton Review is a pricier option, I also have to highlight Magoosh as my second choice. I think they’ve done an amazing job curating high-quality study materials and access to 1:1 support for a fair cost. For learners who want a strong prep experience for less money, Magoosh is my recommendation.
Whatever you decide, I hope this article has helped you narrow down your choices to achieve your SAT goals! Good luck!
Best SAT prep courses frequently asked questions
Princeton Review’s stands out as the top contender due to their library of study materials, one-on-one support, and access to effective live instruction.
The SAT prep courses in this list range from FREE to nearly $3,000 for a package or up to $250/hour for 1:1 tutoring. Self-study is often the more affordable approach.
Courses can range from 18 hours of live instruction to hundreds of hours of self-guided study. Your time commitment should depend on your learning style and the number of points you need to improve by in order to reach your dream SAT score.