Review of Princeton Review Test Prep services.
All About Princeton Review:
Customer Review of Princeton Review Company
Getting into Yale has been my dream ever since my dad talked about his fun experiences there. Working in law has been a family profession for generations, and I was excited to walk in my dad's footsteps. However, my practice SAT scores were a little lower than I wanted. As a result, I decided I needed to invest in a tutoring company that could help me succeed.
After doing a lot of research, I decided on Princeton Review. This company has many tutoring services that are designed to help people achieve the SAT score that they want. While it has many other services (which I'll briefly discuss below), I wasn't too interested in them. As a senior, I wanted to find a way to maximize my SAT scores quickly and efficiently.
In this review of Princeton Review, I will take a look at what this site offers you, how it can help improve your SAT score, and whether or not it worked for me. There are many different companies like this available on the market today.
As a result, it is important for you to know which of these companies are worth your time. Spoiler alert: Princeton Review is a pretty substantial investment. Though it isn't exactly a flawless experience, it can be beneficial to you or your child. And here's why...
The Pricing Options for Princeton Review
One thing that stood out to me right away about Princeton Review was its variety of tutoring payment options. Though pricey in many instances, they did explain what you would get from each course in a way other programs did not. For example, the self-paced program is $299 for three hours of online help and a variety of other Princeton Review courses.
Next, is the Ultimate Classroom option, which starts at $1,099. That might seem like a costly investment, but you get access to various online drills, lessons, 15 hours of tutoring time, and much more.
Other courses offered by the Princeton SAT prep company include college admission counseling for juniors and a jumpstart program for sophomores. The prices of these two programs were $1,800 and $2,099, respectively. They are advertised as a way of preparing for getting into a university by creating a strong college application. As a senior, I naturally wasn't interested in these courses.
Picking My Princeton Review Tutor
My biggest problem with the SAT was my math scores. While Yale doesn't require a large number of high-level math classes, they do expect competency. My problem is especially obvious with calculus, a math course I just couldn't understand. After looking through the various tutors available on the website, I chose one who had a Ph.D. in calculus and mathematics.
My parents and I saved up and bought the Ultimate Classroom course. After paying for the course, I received an email from my tutor asking when I wanted to schedule my sessions. I had five three-hour sessions to use, so I scheduled them out over a two-month period before the SAT. Between each session, I looked through the courses that came with my package.
The depth of the packages was pretty surprising to me. There were a lot of practice questions that I could study, as well as explanations of complex calculus ideas. The latter part was particularly helpful because it made it easier for me to understand these concepts. Before my first tutoring sessions, I found that I already grasped everything a little bit easier.
On the day of my first tutoring session, I was contacted by my tutor a few hours beforehand to confirm the appointment. I logged on about 10 minutes early, and they showed up right on time.
That promptness was a nice part of the experience. I'd heard horror stories about other tutoring services and having to wait for hours for a teacher. Getting a tutor who showed up so quickly was a nice bonus.
The Quality of My Experience with Princeton Review
Now, I'll discuss the experience of actually working with my tutor. He was a very professional and prompt teacher and one that understood calculus very well. Our first couple of sessions were a bit tricky, though, as he struggled to understand my particular method of learning. It turns out I had learned calculus in a way he didn't approve. This issue caused some slight conflict.
Not that he was anything less than completely professional. However, it was evident he was annoyed, and it took our whole first session for him to catch me up with his teaching method. This delay annoyed me because it felt like a waste of money. Thankfully, this was the only hiccup we had working together, though it did tend to tinge everything after.
That's fine, though, as he did help me out with my calculus problems. One of the best things he taught me were various memorization techniques for formulas. Having those methods available in mind is so essential to success on the SAT. With his help, I could remember that quickly and easily. This memorization boost resulted in an almost immediate improvement in my calculus skills.
However, we didn't focus on just calculus. My tutor also taught me studying skills that would maximize the effectiveness of my learning. For example, he taught me how to concentrate on studying for 25 minutes before taking a five-minute break. As a result, I was more focused on what I was doing and didn't regularly run off to do something else. Tips like this were useful for studying for other portions of the test.
How Much It Helped With My SAT
On the day of the SAT, I felt pretty confident. My Princeton Review courses had done a lot to prepare me for the difficulties of the test taking process. My studying had been very focused and productive.
For example, I didn't have to cram before the day of the test nor did I feel afraid when I got to the math portion. Fear was the biggest problem with me in the past. Stress and confusion had always distracted me when I got to the math portions of my practice tests, making it more difficult for me to focus.
When I finally got to this section, I found that my it was a lot easier for me to manage. For example, I was able to do the algebra section confidently. My multiplication came quickly, and I remembered all my formulas without any difficulty.
Even better, when I got to the calculus section, I didn't struggle. Instead, I recalled the formulas and was able to get everything done quickly. While I didn't understand everything flawlessly, I was at least confident enough to manage most of it.
Being able to handle the math problems of the SAT gave me the confidence to get through the rest of the test without much struggle. After turning in the test, I felt pretty confident that I would end up with an improved score.
While waiting for my results to come back, I emailed my tutor and let him know how it went. He seemed pretty happy with my confidence. Though we may not have been friends, he was professionally pleased that his tutoring was so successful.
Finally, the test arrived. I tore it open and looked at my scores. My score had jumped a total of 40 points. Just about every section had improved slightly, with the biggest boost in math. That was more than enough improvement to meet the exacting standards of Yale.
Sending in my application to Yale was a difficult moment, but getting back my acceptance letter made it all worth it. Currently, I am in at the end of my freshman year and loving every minute of it.
Conclusion about Princeton Review
Here's my confession... After taking the online course with Princeton Review, I also enrolled in Top Test Prep's private tutoring. Though it was more expensive than Princeton Review, Top Test Prep increased my score by an additional 140 points. With Princeton Review + Top Test Prep, my combined score increase was 180+ points.
Who would I pick between Princeton Review and Top Test Prep? Well, I lean towards Top Test Prep.... but both companies offer solid tutoring and test prep for you to consider.
While I would have liked a slightly bigger improvement in my overall SAT score, I was pretty satisfied with this company. As it helped me get into Yale and met my goals, I am comfortable giving Princeton Review a 6 out of 10. While not a perfect company, it did satisfy my goals and got me where I wanted to be in life.
One thing that I struggled with when rating this company was the cost. It was pretty difficult for my family to afford. In fact, I don't see many people being able to afford this kind of service without special help. That's why it doesn't get a higher score. It also gets knocked slightly because of the initial difficulty I had connecting with my tutor.
I hope that this review of Princeton Review has given you an idea of whether it is right for you or your children. It can cost a bit of money to pay for these courses, so you need to consider it carefully before making a decision. It's one that my parents and I would gladly make again, though.
And you should definitely check out Top Test Prep as well. They're another solid company in the industry ... and they could make a big difference in your test preparation.