Research conducted by Emily Kierkegaard, PhD, and expert-reviewed by Kevin Wong, PrepMaven Co-founder

Not sure which SAT prep course is the best? We compared the top 32 courses, created in-depth reviews for 12 of them, and narrowed it down to the 4 best that will help you increase your SAT scores.

What is the Best SAT Prep Course?

  1. PrepMaven – best SAT prep course overall
  2. Khan Academy  – best for self-guided SAT prep
  3. Princeton Review – best of the big test prep companies
  4. Magoosh – best for families on a budget

The best of the rest:

  1. Kaplan – big classes with big prep
  2. Prep Expert – high price, uneven quality
  3. Kranse Institute – high price for only videos
  4. PrepScholar – overpriced shorter class without support
  5. Peterson’s – reasonable self-guided practice
  6. Ivy Bound – higher price but no extras
  7. College Prep Genius – alternative for live instruction on a budget
  8. Varsity Tutors – uneven quality, no extras
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Best SAT Prep Courses in 2024

#1 – PrepMaven

Our Verdict — Highest Quality Instruction

Price: $895

PrepMaven’s SAT MasterClass offers students the chance to learn directly from the company’s co-founder, Kevin Wong, a Princeton grad with 15+ years and over 15,000 hours of SAT experience.

The course emphasizes teaching students how to use practice materials effectively and provides all students with a comprehensive study and homework plan. 

Founded by two brothers, both Princeton graduates passionate about education, PrepMaven offers a more individualized learning experience than bigger test prep companies. Students can easily add on one-on-one tutoring to continue their test prep after the course.

Sign up if you’re looking for a small group class led by an instructor with live classes, not a self-guided online platform. 

Best for:

PrepMaven’s SAT MasterClass is the best option for anyone looking for SAT prep led by a qualified instructor.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $895 SAT MasterClass
  • Program length: 18 hours of live instruction
  • Class size: average size 20 students
  • Instructor qualifications: all courses taught by co-founder (Princeton grad & top 1%)
  • Support: weekly office hours with private support
  • Practice tests: 3 official practice tests
  • Materials: math coursebook, grammar workbook, reading strategy guide with sample passages
  • Online access: lifetime access to recordings of classes
  • Guarantee: score raise guarantee

What we like:

  • You know exactly who the instructor will be — and the instructor (Princeton grad with extensive teaching experience) is the most qualified of any course we’ve compared.
  • Weekly office hours where students can ask any questions they have and work through more examples.
  • More individualized learning experience compared to large companies.

What we don’t like:

  • Limited availability for courses means less flexibility for course dates.

PrepMaven SAT class

#2 – Khan Academy

Our Verdict — Best Self-Guided SAT Prep

Price: $0

It’s hard to beat completely free, officially-approved SAT prep!

But even if it weren’t free, Khan Academy would still top our lists for self-guided test prep.

For motivated and organized students ready to work independently, Khan Academy has amazing content. A non-profit educational organization, Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board (the makers of the SAT) to provide free test prep that’s accessible to everyone. That means that apart from the official practice tests, Khan Academy’s materials are the only other materials officially approved by the College Board.

(Many companies will produce their own “practice tests” that mimic the test but are not official tests. All of the official tests are available for free online from the College Board or in the College Board SAT book.)

Students create a profile with a SAT Dashboard that guides them through video lessons, quizzes, practice questions with detailed explanations, and full-length practice tests.

Best for:

Khan Academy’s SAT prep platform is the best option for anyone who wants to prep independently with just the test content, no strategy tips.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $0
  • Program length: on-demand
  • Instructor qualifications: no instructor, but the materials are approved by the College Board
  • Support: no support
  • Practice tests: 3 practice tests
  • Materials: interactive practice materials approved by the College Board
  • Online access: lifetime access
  • Guarantee: no guarantee

What we like:

  • Partnership with the College Board (makers of the SAT) means that materials are officially approved
  • Individual math concepts have particularly strong content, great for reviewing with short videos and then doing practice with instant feedback
  • It’s free!

What we don’t like:

  • Covers only test content, no strategy—and learning the test format and key strategies is an important component of test prep
  • Content is weaker for Reading and Writing sections, especially compared to their content for the Math sections
  • Self-guided platform means that students have to craft their own study plan and decide which areas to practice—and there’s no one to hold them accountable
Khan Academy data problem

#3 – The Princeton Review

Our Verdict — Best of the Big Prep Companies

Price: $949–$2199

The Princeton Review actually has no connection to Princeton University.

However, they’re still well-known in their own right as a large educational company, as well as the publishers of many test prep and college admissions guides.

The Princeton Review provides a deep set of practice materials, including 140 hours of additional video lessons to review individual concepts.

Teachers with the Princeton Review receive extensive training. They are not required to be Ivy-League graduates or have scored highly themselves.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $949 SAT Essentials Course, $1199 Summer Camp, or $2199 SAT 1400+
  • Program length: 18 hours or 36 hours live online or live in-person
  • Instructor qualifications: trained instructors
  • Practice tests: 3 practice tests
  • Materials: 23 practice tests and many practice questions
  • Online access: available for 12 months
  • Guarantee: depending on the course, no guarantee or guaranteed 1400+ score

What we like:

  • Large, established test prep company
  • The SAT 1400+ Course has 36 hours of instruction, which is a lot of learning time!

What we don’t like:

  • No specific qualification requirements for instructors, and you don’t know who the instructor will be—although instructors have more extensive training than some other companies
  • No score raise guarantee for the Essentials Course

#4 – Magoosh

Our Verdict — Best on a Budget

Price: $399

For students who want an instructor-led online class on a budget, Magoosh’s Guided Live Class is a solid choice.

All classes are recorded and also available to watch on-demand. We like Magoosh’s user-friendly online test environment with a mobile app, and the fact that they offer 24/7 support via email or chat support.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $129/year self-paced course or $399 Guided Live Classes
  • Program length: 16 hours live instruction over one month
  • Instructor qualifications: top 1%
  • Support: email or chat support
  • Online access: available for 12 months
  • Guarantee: score increase of 100 points guaranteed

What we like:

  • All instructors scored in the top 1% themselves
  • 24/7 support via email or chat
  • Affordable pricing

What we don’t like:

  • You don’t know who the instructor will be
  • Shorter course compared to other options

SAT Prep Alternatives (that Didn’t Make the Cut)

#5 – Kaplan

Our Verdict — Big Classes with Big Prep

Price: $799+

Along with Princeton Review, Kaplan is one of the other large companies in the test prep space.

Kaplan’s Live Online class offers 18 hours of live online classes (9 sessions of 2 hours each) and the opportunity to message instructors through a group chat. It also includes 15 hours of additional on-demand video content. Kaplan’s classes are larger than many other providers’, with up to 30 students per class.

Their Unlimited Prep Course offers students to schedule classes when they want, and there is no fixed calendar. This can be beneficial for students who are fitting test prep into already busy schedules. For students wanting external structure and accountability, however, this can be less beneficial. The course comes with a high price tag, but 12-month payment plans are available. Students enrolled in the Unlimited Prep Course can also choose between classes for the ACT and selected AP exams.

Kaplan’s On Demand Course provides short (under 30 minutes) pre-recorded courses with practice questions and quizzes. There is no live instruction or access to a teacher.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $799 Live Online, or $1999 Unlimited Prep Course
  • Program length: 18 hours live online or on-demand, 10 days to 8 weeks
  • Class size: 30 students
  • Instructor qualifications: none given
  • Online access: available for 12 months
  • Guarantee: score raise guarantee

What we like:

  • Large, established test prep company
  • Students can message instructors through a group chat to ask questions

What we don’t like:

  • Instructors have no required qualifications
  • You don’t know who the instructor will be
  • Larger classes than other providers, with up to 30 students per class

#6 – Prep Expert

Our Verdict — High Price, Uneven Quality

Price: $1199

Prep Expert’s Flagship SAT Prep Course offers 36 hours of live instruction and guarantees a score increase of 200 points, the largest in the industry.

Their longer Capstone SAT Prep Course includes 42 hours of live classes taught by an expert instructor and a 3-hour review session taught by another instructor.

We like that Prep Expert states which instructor teaches which course date, since the quality of the teacher is the single most important factor in an SAT course, and most other SAT prep providers do not name who will be teaching the course. (The other exception is PrepMaven, where all SAT courses are taught by co-founder Kevin Wong.) However, they have been known to switch instructors without warning.

There is also a self-paced option for students who want to plan their study schedule independently with 30 hours of video content. The self-paced course does not include the interactive practice question interface.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $1199 Flagship SAT Prep Course, $1699 Capstone SAT Prep Course
  • Program length: 36 or 45 hours live online
  • Instructor qualifications: top 1%
  • Materials: no additional materials (only official published tests)
  • Online access: available for 12 months
  • Guarantee: score increase of 200 points guaranteed

What we like:

  • You know who the instructor will be, as the name is listed for each course date (although they have been known to switch instructors without warning)
  • Score raise guarantee of 200 points 

What we don’t like:

  • Refund process is difficult and families have reported that the score increase guarantee may not be honored
  • Instructor may change from the one listed, and some are less well-reviewed
  • Long class sessions (3 hours) are difficult for students

#7 – Kranse Institute

Our Verdict: High Price for Only Videos

Price: $599

The Kranse Institute is affiliated with Prep Expert and provides the same self-paced option with 30 hours of video content. The price is far too high for only videos without any contact with an instructor. Strangely, their website now claims “they are no longer accepting new enrollments”–although they only offer an online class! We’ll keep monitoring their website, but our best guess is that they still haven’t been able to update their material for the Digital SAT.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $599
  • Program length: self-paced 30 hours of video
  • Class size: N/A
  • Instructor qualifications: top 1%
  • Support: N/A
  • Practice tests: N/A
  • Materials: no additional materials (only official published tests)
  • Online access: available for 18 months

What we don’t like:

  • Temporarily not accepting new students
  • Self-guided platform means that students have to craft their own study plan and decide which areas to practice—and there’s no one to hold them accountable 
  • High price tag for only self-guided videos, especially when Khan Academy is completely free

#8 – PrepScholar

Our Verdict — Overpriced Shorter Class Without Support

Price: $895

PrepScholar’s core offering is its $895 SAT Classes, which provide 9 hours of live instruction. We like the small classes of just 9 students, but the classes don’t offer office hours, group chats, or other ways of requesting extra help from the instructor. Instead, students needing additional explanations are encouraged to purchase additional tutoring hours. The course is also significantly shorter than other options at the same price, with only six sessions.

PrepScholar’s most affordable option gives students access to a variety of online prep materials, including videos about both content and strategy. There is no live instruction or access to a teacher. Read our full review of PrepScholar’s offerings here!

At a glance:

  • Cost: $397 Complete Prep (self-paced) or $895 Live Classes
  • Program length: 9 hours of live classes
  • Class size: 9 students
  • Support: none
  • Online access: available for 12 months
  • Guarantee: Score raise of 160 points guaranteed

What we like:

  • Small class sizes of 9 students

What we don’t like:

  • Just 9 hours of live instruction is less than half of what competitors offer at the same price point
  • No additional support from instructor—there’s no group chats, office hours, or other way for students to ask questions

#9 – Peterson’s

Our Verdict — Reasonable Self-Guided Practice

Cost: $39-49/month

Peterson’s is a budget option that offers resources on a monthly subscription basis. These subscriptions offer access to Peterson’s library of practice materials, though you’re likely to find materials as good for free on Khan Academy.

If you subscribe for a longer plan, you’ll also get a few sessions of live tutoring thrown in. But there’s no information on the qualifications or expertise of these tutors, so we personally wouldn’t expect them to be particularly qualified, especially at this price point.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $39-49/month
  • Support: several live tutoring sessions if you purchase a 3 or 6 month subscription.
  • Online access: while enrolled
  • Guarantee: none

What we like:

  • Reasonable price for additional video content

What we don’t like:

  • Subscription program is not the best for students working on a long time-line
  • No information on who these live tutors are

#10 – Ivy Bound

Our Verdict — Higher Price but No Extras

Price: $1350

For students wanting a course longer than those offered by PrepMaven (18 hours) or the Princeton Review (18 hours), Kaplan (18 hours), or PrepScholar (9 hours), but who aren’t ready to spend $2200 on the Princeton Review’s 36-hour course, Ivy Bound might offer a good middle ground. Their SAT class offers 24 hours of live instruction on a variety of different schedules, depending on the time of year.

Students and families should note that Ivy Bound has a disclaimer that not all course dates might be offered and are subject to sufficient enrollment.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $1350
  • Program length: 26-28 hours live instruction
  • Instructor qualifications: none specified
  • Guarantee: none

What we like:

  • Longer course with more hours of live instruction
  • Two hours of private tutoring with the instructor

What we don’t like:

  • Not all course dates are guaranteed to go ahead
  • No score raise guarantee
  • No specific qualifications for their instructors, and you don’t know who the instructor will be

#11 – College Prep Genius

Our Verdict — Alternative for Live Instruction on a Budget

Price: $395

College Prep Genius offers another option for shorter live online classes. Their virtual class provides 11 hours of instruction spread out over either 3 days or 8 weeks.

It’s a reasonable option for families on a budget, but it does not offer additional support via office hours or the ability to email or chat with an instructor, so we prefer Magoosh’s 16-hour live class instead for this price range.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $189 eCourse, $395 virtual class
  • Program length: 11 hours over either 3 days of 8 weeks
  • Instructor qualifications: 
  • Support: none
  • Online access: available for 12 months
  • Guarantee: none

What we like:

  • More affordable price—although College Prep Genius’ class is only 11 hours, so Magoosh’s 16-hour class at the same price is a better bang for your buck 

What we don’t like:

  • No additional support offered via chat, email, or office hours, so students have no way of asking questions outside of class
  • No score raise guarantee
  • No specific qualifications for their instructors, and you don’t know who the instructor will be

#12 – Varsity Tutors

Our Verdict — Uneven Quality, No Extras

Price: $525

Formerly known as Veritas Prep, Varsity Tutors offers a SAT Prep Class in three different time frames: as a one-week bootcamp, spread out over four weeks, or spread out over eight weeks.

This course is less comprehensive than many of the other options, as it does not guide students in taking full practice tests, one of the most important components of test preparation. There is no additional support for students outside of class time.

There are no specific qualifications or training for the instructors, and as Varsity Tutors is a large tutoring platform, their quality of tutors can be uneven. While the price point might be appealing, we prefer Magoosh’s course for families on a budget.

At a glance:

  • Cost: $525 prep class
  • Program length: 16 hours over 1 week, 4 weeks, or 8 weeks
  • Class size: 9 students
  • Instructor qualifications: none specified
  • Support: none
  • Practice tests: none
  • Online access: available for 12 months
  • Guarantee: none

What we like:

  • More affordable price
  • Smaller class size of 9 students

What we don’t like:

  • No additional support offered via chat, email, or office hours, so students have no way of asking questions outside of class
  • No score raise guarantee
  • No specific qualifications for their instructors, and you don’t know who the instructor will be
  • Does not use full practice tests, a key part of SAT prep 

Top 32 SAT Prep Courses Considered

  • PrepMaven
  • Khan Academy
  • The Princeton Review
  • Magoosh
  • Kaplan
  • Prep Expert
  • Kranse Institute
  • PrepScholar
  • Peterson’s
  • Ivy Bound
  • College Prep Genius
  • Varsity Tutors
  • Sylvan
  • Green Test Prep
  • Higher Scores Test Prep
  • ePrep
  • Excel Test Prep
  • Best in Class
  • Testive
  • CollegeVine
  • Prepare
  • College Drive
  • Love the SAT
  • Method Learning
  • SAT Blitz
  • The Answer Class
  • Trudeau Prep
  • Test Prep 4 Success
  • Private Prep
  • Manhattan Review
  • Olive Book
  • Veritas
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What is the SAT?

Each year, roughly 2 million high school students take the SAT, according to College Board.

Along with the ACT, the SAT is a key component of college admissions. Colleges use test scores to gauge a student’s college readiness.

While many schools have gone test-optional in the wake of Covid, the most competitive schools still like to see SAT or ACT scores. In fact, according to reporting by New York Magazine, some elite schools–like MIT–are once again requiring submission of standardized test scores.

And, according to a report by CBS News, Yale and Dartmouth have recently joined MIT as well, saying that required standardized test scores will actually help poorer applicants.

Even for schools that don’t yet require the SAT, looking at the Common Data Set information for top schools like MIT and Princeton shows that SAT and ACT scores are still an extremely important part of the admissions process.

In addition to college admission, test scores can be used to earn scholarships or placement in special programs. Many schools that are test-optional are still using test scores for scholarships, so good scores can be an important way of avoiding student debt.

Younger students can also use test scores for admission to gifted and talented programs.

For students whose grades may have slipped during high school, test scores can also be used to show admissions officers your potential.

Finally, test scores are a handy tool for students to figure out where they might be a competitive applicant. Wondering if you have a chance at getting into Harvard? Not sure if University of Illinois is a reach school or a safety school for you? Test scores can help you there.

Check out our other posts for more information about how the digital SAT is scored, SAT test dates and deadlines, and how the SAT is different from the ACT. We also have many free test prep resources. For more test prep guidance, schedule a call with Jessica or one of our founders today!

Princeton University
Princeton University

Why take an SAT prep course?

You may want to consider a SAT prep course if you:

  • You have no idea where to start in order to prepare for the SAT
  • You feel overwhelmed by all of the different SAT prep books and materials and don’t know which to choose
  • You have a hard time keeping yourself on track and want an external structure to hold you accountable
  • You’re not sure what counts as a “good” SAT score
  • You’re not sure exactly what’s on the SAT
  • You’ve been practicing on your own but your gains have plateaued
  • You have a limited amount of time and need to be efficient in your studying
  • You want to learn techniques for managing test anxiety
  • You want insider tips about test strategies
  • You’re not sure how to track your progress
  • You’ve been practicing on your own but your gains have plateaued
  • You have a limited amount of time and need to be efficient in your studying
  • You want to learn techniques for managing test anxiety
  • You want insider tips about test strategies

In our SAT prep course, we typically see students increase their scores by about 100–300 points. This can have a significant impact on college admissions and scholarships.

Stanford University
Stanford University

What makes a good SAT prep course?

Guidance with SAT prep comes in two main forms: group classes or individual tutoring. Many students combine the two, following an SAT group class with one-on-one tutoring to focus on a tailored approach for that student’s strengths and weaknesses.

In this post, though, we focused on SAT group classes.

These days, many courses are online. This allows students to seek out the best classes regardless of their physical location, which is great! It’s up to the individual student and their situation to decide whether in-person classes or online classes are the best fit.

PrepMaven SAT class

The most important aspect of a good SAT prep course is the teacher. Excellent classes should be taught by experienced instructors who know the test inside and out and have many years helping students. The instructors should be people who scored highly on the test themselves, ideally in the top 1%

Classes should begin with a diagnostic test and a detailed score report to analyze a student’s starting point.

A good SAT prep class will also encourage students and help them reduce their test anxiety. If your prep course is making you feel anxious, it might not be the right fit!

All good SAT prep courses will review the content covered by the exam as well as test-taking strategies

Now more than ever with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, many students have gaps in their knowledge where their schooling was interrupted. A good SAT class will fill in these gaps by teaching fundamental math and grammar concepts.

Classes should provide students with study materials and guide students in using them effectively

Many good SAT prep courses will assign structured homework so that students can practice constructively with official test questions. There are a limited number of official practice tests, so it’s important to make the most of them! 

Good classes will help students work through missed problems and answer students’ questions.

The best SAT prep courses can also help students to make a holistic study plan and keep them on track, so that parents don’t have to be involved directly. 

Schedule a 30-minute consultation with Jessica or one of our founders.


Summary

Best overall: PrepMaven’s SAT MasterClass is the only option that provides students with the opportunity to follow up on questions directly with the instructor during weekly office hours. It’s also the only course under $1000 to guarantee the identity of the instructor, as all SAT MasterClasses are taught by co-founder Kevin, a Princeton graduate and top 1% scorer. 

Best self-guided: For self-guided online SAT practice, it doesn’t get much better than Khan Academy. This online educational platform is completely free and is the only service to partner directly with the College Board, the makers of the SAT. For students with enough self-discipline to stick to a study schedule, Khan Academy can be a powerful tool. We don’t recommend paying for self-guided courses unless students have already exhausted the resources available for free from Khan Academy and the College Board.

Best on a budget: For families looking for SAT prep with an instructor under $400, Magoosh’s Guided Live Classes are a good option. They provide 16 hours of live instruction and guarantee a score increase of at least 100 points. We like that students have the ability to ask the instructor study questions via email or chat.

Best of the big test prep companies: Of the big test prep companies, The Princeton Review’s SAT classes are the best option. (Note that they have no connection to Princeton University.) The downside with a big company is that you don’t know who the instructor will be or what their qualifications are, and students receive less individualized attention.

PrepMaven SAT class

As an alternative, families might want to consider purchasing a few hours of one-on-one SAT tutoring. Because individual tutoring sessions can be tailored to the needs of the specific student, they’re often more efficient than group classes and can hone in on the best way for that student to raise their score rather than general strategies.


Next steps

Ready to begin a SAT prep course? Schedule a free test prep consultation with Jessica (Director of Tutoring) or one of our founders to see what would be the best fit for your family.

It’s always best to start early and not wait until the last minute to prepare for the SAT! Remember that test scores can be used to earn scholarships as well as college admission, so a few months of study now can pay off with up to $300,000 in tuition saved later. 

Students who achieve their goal score earlier on in high school can relax and not worry about testing at the end of their junior year (the most important year for grades, and when many students are focused on AP tests) or in the beginning of their senior year, when most students are working on college essays

High-achieving students will also want to take the PSAT seriously, as it offers another opportunity to win big scholarship money through the National Merit program.

To start an SAT prep course or one-on-one SAT tutoring today, set up a quick free consultation with our team.

Top SAT Posts


Emily

Emily graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and holds an MA from the University of Notre Dame. She was a National Merit Scholar and has won numerous academic prizes and fellowships. A veteran of the publishing industry, she has helped professors at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton revise their books and articles. Over the last decade, Emily has successfully mentored hundreds of students in all aspects of the college admissions process, including the SAT, ACT, and college application essay.