You decided you’re going to take the SAT and we congratulate you on taking the time to thoughtfully consider the best SAT prep courses out there for you to reach your full potential on this exam! As you may already know, not all test prep courses are created equal, nor do they offer the same benefits or learning styles that are guaranteed to suit you and your needs.
Thankfully, Test Prep Nerds has done a bit of legwork for you and narrowed down the 6 best SAT prep courses for students looking to improve their SAT scores in either an online or in-class fashion.
You don’t need a course to do well on the SAT – here are the best books for SAT prep for self-study
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The 6 Best SAT Prep Courses for 2020-2021
If you decided self-study is not the best method of studying for you, then we have the 6 best SAT prep courses that will suit your needs and that work for every budget. Each of these SAT prep courses has something unique to offer, so we are confident that you will find one that can please both you and your wallet. There are 6 categories that fit each of our 6 best SAT prep courses, depending on sort of learning style and pace preference you have. We have the best fast-track SAT course, the best in-person SAT prep course, the best free SAT prep course, the best SAT prep course for content gaps, the best Qbank for practice, and the best SAT prep course for strategy.
Keep in mind, especially when looking for the best SAT prep course out there, that you do not necessarily have to pay big bucks for a course that will get you a high score. Some of these courses listed are free (Khan Academy and UWorld), while others can cost up to $900. Keep an open mind when looking through these courses and decide which is best for you without writing off a free prep course completely. From our experience, huge leaps in test scores only occur when the study puts in quality study and prep and utilizes real SAT practice tests. The best SAT prep course is the one that helps lead you along this path of improving your score!
Begin prepping with these top SAT calculators!
Best In Person SAT Prep Course
Technology does wonders when it comes to the e-learning category, but the truth of the matter is, some people just prefer the look and feel of being in an actual classroom. No, not a virtual classroom, a physical classroom that you walk into and sit in while being instructed by an actual teacher in the flesh.
Sorry if I sound cynical, but sometimes a live in-person course is the best option for those who enjoy and get the most motivation out of showing up to a classroom and turning on their thinking cap. For those looking for a live classroom SAT course and are fortunate enough to be within the vicinity of a Kaplan class, then this is our favorite among the in-person SAT prep courses available in the US.
Here are some of the highlights of what you will get when attending a Kaplan In Person course: 18 hours of live classroom instruction, 30 hours of elective MCAT Channel (where you can listen to live or archived lessons on specific SAT topics of your choice), 8 practice tests (4 of which are official SAT practice tests), online quizzes, 40 hours of on-demand lessons, as well as prep books for your classes.
The majority of these in-person courses meet up on the weekend at various schools or learning centers. Depending on your schedule, you can opt-in for a course that meets once on the weekend for about 9 weeks or twice during the weekend for just 4 weeks. Before registering for a class, you will be able to see the class schedule and know what you will be covering for each session. The first class is nearly always going to include taking a simulated SAT practice test as well as scoring it so that you know your baseline score as well as where you are going to need to focus your efforts to make the largest gains in your score. You will take another simulated practice test about two thirds of the way into the course to see where you are in your prep and understanding of the course materials.
Here is an overview of the sessions as well as what to expect when enrolling in a Kaplan In Person course:
As you can see, there are only 6 sessions of instruction, but each class lasts for about 3 hours. When enrolling in a Kaplan In Person course, it is imperative to supplement and reinforce your learning in the classroom with their additional resources, such as the previously mentioned SAT Channel as well as taking the additional SAT practice tests provided to you upon enrollment.
This is the best SAT prep course for: students seeking a physical classroom experience for their SAT prep.
Best SAT Prep Course for Those with a Content Gap
Princeton Review’s SAT Ultimate prep course makes our favorite among the live online SAT prep course category for those who have a content gap. Really, the Princeton Review course is more than just one kind of course, as there is a host of additional materials that can be accessed in addition to live online instruction, including 140+ online lesson videos, 3 printed books, as well as homework to continue learning and practicing for the SAT outside of the classroom!
Compared to Prep Expert, the hours of classroom time is much more limited, at 18 hours of focused class time. But all Ultimate students will have unlimited access to the SAT Advantage LiveOnline sessions. This course comes with an option to meet once a week for 9 weeks or twice a week for 4.5 weeks. Each class is around 3 to 4 hours per session and, along the way, three practice SAT tests are scheduled during class times as well, so that you can keep track of how you’re doing. The material in the Princeton Review SAT courses tend to be either on-par or slightly easier than the questions you will experience on the SAT, meaning you can expect to do pretty well on the SAT if you just use Princeton Review but you will likely not be a top scorer without seeking outside practice utilizing real SAT practice tests.
Because a lot of learning can and should take place outside of the classroom, the Princeton Review’s SAT Ultimate course incorporates homework in its curriculum, with customized study plans and tailored homework assignments based on your own personal needs. Included in this package are some PSAT and ACT resources as well, so, depending on where you are on your SAT path, you could actually take advantage of these materials if you begin studying early enough.
They have a pretty good refund policy that states that if you do not score higher on the real SAT test day than you did on your practice tests, then you will get a refund. However, if you just were generally unsatisfied with your course, they are only committing to allowing you to repeat the course for free.
Here is a sample video lesson that you will have access to over 140 of if you enroll in this course:
This is the best SAT prep course for: Students seeking a live classroom experience as well as homework, but within the comfort of his or her own home.
Best Free SAT Course
1600.io has come a long way since we first reviewed their course back in 2018. They still offer their free strategy course bundle, which features George’s SAT Strategy course, Tools & Resources, and his Analysis, Answers, and Explanations for SAT 1-4 (55 hours of content). His SAT Strategy Course Bundle includes hours of free videos on developing processes to solve SAT problems. Watching and working with George on these videos can be extremely empowering, as he shares logical techniques to solving questions, dispelling the myth that there is some “secret code” that cracks all of the SAT. When you go through his course, you will start off with a general introduction of the SAT, followed by an overview of each section as well as a full set of strategies for each section. George is a wonderful tutor and is quick to make himself available to students and those who have found help in his courses. This course consistently gets praise among the Reddit community as well, which is known for being merciless towards ineffective companies.
In addition to this free strategy course, 1600.io now offers a couple of affordable SAT prep membership options for those looking for more comprehensive review. These plans can be paid monthly for $19/month or annually for $99/year. This paid-for membership includes the previously mentioned Strategy Course Bundle but also includes exclusive content including their 20 test-explanation courses (covering over 3,000 questions) and an essay course. They’ve got a Tools and Resources module that includes an automated customized study schedule generator, reading lists, and college essay guidance. In addition to these on-demand courses, there are also ways to become more involved in the community through their webinars, which are hosted twice-weekly. During some of these events, students are prompted to take a timed-test section all at the same time with the section-timer on-screen. Upon completion (or when the time is up), they score the results and discuss the hardest questions live!
This is the best SAT prep course for: self-starters who don’t feel the need to enroll in an all-inclusive course.
Related: Is the SAT Hard?
Best Fast-Track SAT Prep Course
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If you didn’t know Prep Expert was on Shark Tank, then you’ve probably been living under a rock this past year. In 2016, the founder of Prep Expert, Shaan Patel, won funding from Mark Cuban on the show Shark Tank, and since then, has been growing at an exponential rate.
Prep Expert offers 3 different test prep categories, ACT, SAT, and GMAT. The specific course we are highlighting as top of our list of the best SAT prep courses is the 3-week Fast Track SAT Prep Course. This 3-week fast track course is conducted over a live virtual online classroom, which means that your classes are being held over the internet with your instructor. The instructor and the whiteboard will both be visible, like in a typical classroom, where you can watch the teacher in the front of the room drawing on the board.
The 3-week fast-track SAT course meets four times a week, for 3 hour sessions each, as well as twice a week for 4 hours of proctored SAT exams. Over just 3 weeks, the course hours total over 60 hours of classroom instruction. This is a very intense SAT course, but for those with limited schedules, it could be a great way to get in a full 6-week SAT course in just half the time! There is a lot of time being spent in this classroom and you will get more than enough practice in to feel confident as you work your way towards taking the SAT.
All of the instructors at Prep Expert are 99th percentile scorers, meaning that when they took the test they are tutoring for, they scored in the top 1%. All of the coursework has been updated to reflect any changes to the SAT and include a 100+ score increase guarantee or your money back.
When you enroll in a class, you will receive a 5 e-book set written by the founder, Dr. Shaan Patel, for Introduction, Math, Reading, Writing, and Essay.
We listed this course at the top of our list of the best SAT prep courses because it is a hassle-free and proven method for studying for the SAT that clearly works. There is no requirement for classes besides being able to connect to the virtual classroom with your laptop, computer, or tablet. These courses are affordable, yet also effective, with a new test being taken after every 2 classes to help you learn how to test for the SAT along the way.
Prep Expert has actual people grade your essays, so that you can understand how you’re doing on that portion, which tends to be a mystery to many as they do their own preparation.
Also in their SAT category, they offer a 6-Week Flagship course as well as a 6-Week Advanced SAT course. These courses cost the same as the 3-Week Fast-Track course and are essentially just a more spread out version of the same curriculum. So, depending on your schedule, you can opt for cramming all your studying in a busy 3-week study schedule or a more spaced out 6-week study schedule. Either way, the choice is entirely up to you and your own timing needs!
This is the best SAT prep course for: Students with a tight schedule who are looking for a bootcamp-style SAT course.
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Best Qbank for Practice
UWorld can either be a great free resource (if you only intend on practicing for 30 days) or a great test prep option, especially for those who are working with a tighter budget. You may have heard about UWorld for their dominance in the medical and nursing testing industry, but they have expanded their proven methods into the SAT and offer a Qbank of up to 1,500 questions, full in-depth answers, as well as performance and improvement tracking that you expect and desire from an SAT prep course.
With UWorld’s Qbank of questions, you can personalize them to be either easy, medium, or hard difficulty. Each question comes with an in-depth explanation that shows you the rationale of solving the problem as well as illustrations, so that you are able to learn from your mistakes, which is the key to improving your SAT score. When working through the Qbank, you are able to flag difficult questions to go back to, ask for hints, as well as access them on multiple devices.
Additional features of this course include flash cards that you can create for quick review as well as performance graphs that will show you a tracking of time so that you can improve your speed, a portrayal of your strengths and weaknesses for improving skills, as well as the chance to compare yourself against your peers.
This is the best SAT prep course for: Tech-savvy, price-conscious students who want a reliable and effective practicing platform for on-the-go study on any device
Free Supplemental SAT Prep
As mentioned earlier, the cost of the SAT prep course has much less impact on your SAT score as your willingness to roll up your sleeves and put in some quality and hard studying into the test. Countless students have been able to utilize Khan Academy as their main source of SAT practice materials and practice, as the majority of the content is in partnership with the College Board themselves.
When you get started with Khan Academy, you sign up and let Khan Academy set up a personalized study plan based on whether you have any experience studying for the PSAT or SAT. You create your own practice schedule based on your upcoming test date, where Khan Academy puts together a schedule of how many official practice tests you have the time to take as well as when to take them. They simply take the guesswork out of practicing for the SAT and saving you hundreds.
Here, you can see an example of a test prep schedule assuming 15 weeks of preparation time before the SAT test:
Once you choose the time for your upcoming practice tests, you will be prompted to choose what days you wish to study as well as for how long. Khan does some of the math for you and shows you the recommended amount of studying to meet their minimum of practice for the upcoming test:
After you have set up your study schedule, you will have full access to your dashboard, where you will find Practice, Tips & Strategies, Full Tests, and Review. We love Khan Academy’s free SAT practice because, unlike a lot of other commercial test prep companies, all of the material here is in collaboration with the College Board, meaning you are working on and practicing on authentic questions created by the test writers themselves. The 8 official practice tests are SAT tests that have been used in the past and are going to be the most similar in terms of difficulty and writing as you will see on the actual test day. For more practice, check out our full list of official SAT practice tests.
This is the best SAT prep course for: Budgeting students who still want to enjoy the feeling of working through an SAT practice platform and have the discipline to stick to the schedule
Regardless of which of these you choose as the best SAT prep course for you, don’t forget to keep in mind that the deciding factor in how well you do on the SAT ultimately comes down to how hard you are willing to work at it. Good luck on your test prep journey and comment below with your experiences with these prep courses!