While some colleges are dropping SAT requirements, many of the country’s biggest schools still require applicants to meet SAT requirements and likely will in the future. That means the SAT is an important part of your college preparedness plan. If you need to take the SAT, it’s important to prepare yourself to ensure you achieve the best results for the top-tier college degree programs. To help, we’ve ranked the 7 best SAT prep courses:

Best SAT Prep Courses and Classes Badge

How We Chose the Best SAT Test Prep

SAT or Scholastic Aptitude Test scores play a significant role in determining your eligibility for college admission, scholarship awards, and first-year class placement. You can achieve a higher score by enrolling in SAT preparation courses. However, with so many SAT prep options available, it can be challenging to determine which courses are worth your time and investment.

Our team evaluated dozens of companies and courses to provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice.

We started with an expansive list of well-established SAT prep programs, like the Princeton Review and Kaplan, as well as newer services, like Prep Expert and Khan Academy. We then did a deep dive on each company, including:

  • Thorough evaluations of each company’s programs and materials via website review, sample lessons, and third-party resources
  • Free trials (when available)
  • Communications with company representatives via chat, email, and social media
  • Analysis of customer comments on platforms like Trustpilot, Facebook, and Reddit

In collaboration with Dana Marvin, an expert in college counseling and test preparation, we identified five key criteria that programs must meet in order to be considered. In fact, ePrep and Higher Scores Test Prep were removed from our previous list for not meeting the following standards.

Flexible scheduling and adaptable formats

You’re likely juggling other school and extracurricular activities, so you need an SAT prep course that fits your schedule. Our top picks are offered in multiple formats, including on-demand and live online sessions, and in-person instruction. We also evaluated offerings based on the length of the programs, from those that can be completed intensively in a few weeks, like Kaplan, to self-paced instruction you can tackle on your own time, like Magoosh.

Personalized instruction

SAT prep is not a one-size-fits-all deal. We sought out programs that give students personalized attention and preparation, including Testive, Prep Scholar, and Khan Academy. This includes study plans designed for your specific SAT needs, 1:1 tutoring, and instructor accessibility. We also reviewed programs’ content delivery methods and the test-taking strategies they teach to ensure that you find a prep course that matches your learning and testing styles.

Pricing and plans

SAT prep is an investment, and we want to help you get the most for your money. Several SAT prep programs have been analyzed to determine their cost per hour of instruction, their materials, such as practice tests and books, instructor expertise, and access to money-back guarantees. To ensure all students can access quality SAT prep services, we also examined free and low-cost programs, including Khan Academy and Magoosh.

Course materials

There’s more to SAT prep than just virtual or in-person classes. Valuable SAT prep programs give students access to a variety of materials and learning tools, including practice exams, prep books, question banks, flashcards, and more. We highlighted companies like Princeton Review and ePrep that include these valuable tools to help students learn necessary concepts and familiarize themselves with what to expect on the SAT.

Expert instructors and tutors

Having the right instructor guiding your SAT prep process can make a world of difference in your testing experience. We dug into the hiring practices for our top picks, including how many instructors and tutors companies employ and what qualifications the chosen instructors have. We also reviewed who designs lessons and course materials to ensure experts are behind the instructions students receive on-demand.

The Best SAT Prep Courses

Princeton Review – Best Overall

Princeton Review Logo

The Princeton Review offers something for nearly every type of test-taker, which is why it’s our Best Overall pick. The Princeton Review provides multiple live programs, both online and in-person, a self-paced on-demand course, intensives, and 1:1 tutoring services, all developed over 40 years in the college prep space. Regardless of the package you choose, they include comprehensive lessons, practice exams, bonus material like ACT prep, and discounts for add-ons, like on-demand tutoring.

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The Princeton Review’s online interface is engaging and easy to navigate, with a welcome video and chatbot available to walk new students through the orientation process.

Students using The Princeton Review’s Self-Paced online program create a personalized study plan, with suggestions for schedules that work for each type of student.

All Princeton Review SAT prep courses give students access to required and optional practice exams, including single-section tests that allow students to work on specific areas for improvement.

Students can navigate online lessons by subject matter, strategy, and lesson type.

What We Like

Variety is The Princeton Review’s strongest selling point. Students who want a virtual classroom experience can choose between the Essentials course, which has 18 hours of live online instruction, and the 1400+ course, with 38 hours of instruction time. Both include practice tests, a year of access to online materials, hard copy materials, and student and parent portals.

For those who want intensive SAT prep, The Princeton Review offers a Summer Camp, which condenses the material covered in the Essentials course into a 2-week program. Conversely, for students who want to take their time, there’s the SAT Self-Paced course, which gives students a year of access to over 280 lessons, 3200 practice questions, and 15 practice exams. If self-paced students need extra assistance, they can access 10 hours of on-demand tutoring at the discounted price of $200.

Most Princeton Review SAT prep courses also include access to ACT review materials, which is a benefit for any students considering taking both standardized tests. Additionally, Princeton Review is the only SAT prep program on our list that offers in-person instruction (in select locations) as of publication.

What We Didn’t Like

The Princeton Review has a lot to offer, but it does come at a price. Their signature live instruction course, 1400+ can cost as much as $2,199, which may place it out of reach of many students. There are money-back and score-improvement guarantees but read the fine print carefully. In-person classes are available but are largely concentrated in metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles.

What Test Takers Are Saying

Users on Trustpilot give The Princeton Review 4.6 / 5 stars. Seventy percent of its 1,828 reviews are “excellent.” Positive feedback on this site includes praise for The Princeton Review’s faculty, strategies, and student engagement. User reviews on Reddit did trend slightly more negative, as evidence that not every program is a good match for every student.


Program Price What You Get
SAT 1400+ $2199
  • 36+ hours of live virtual or in-person classroom instruction
  • Customized homework assignments
  • 4 scheduled practice tests
  • 22 additional practice tests and 8 single-section tests
  • 24/7 On-demand tutoring
  • Review and practice books
  • SAT Advantage sessions
  • ACT prep resources
  • Guarantee of a 1400 or higher SAT score
Essentials $949
  • 18 hours of focused classroom time
  • Unlimited access to SAT Advantage LiveOnline sessions
  • 135+ expert-created video lessons for the SAT
  • 3 scheduled practice tests
  • 23 additional full-length and 8 single-section practice tests
  • ACT prep
  • Money-back guarantee
Summer Camp $1499 Expedited course with:

  • 18 hours of live instruction
  • 30 hours of guided practice and review
  • 4 scheduled practice tests
  • 23 additional full-length practice tests and 8 single-section practice tests
  • 1 year of access to SAT Advantage Live Online sessions
  • Review and practice books
  • ACT prep
  • Money-back guarantee
SAT Self-Paced $299 1 year of access to:

  • 280+ video lessons
  • 377 online drills
  • 3,200+ practice questions
  • Practice question review sessions
  • Full-length and single-section practice tests
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 10 hours of on-demand 1:1 for an additional $200
SAT 1500+ Tutoring $383/hour
  • 1:1 tutoring
  • 2,000+ practice questions and 240 online drills
  • 135+ interactive video lessons
  • 25 full-length practice tests and 8 single-section practice tests
  • Interactive score reports
  • Integrated curriculum of print and online lessons
  • Review and prep books

Khan Academy – Most Affordable

Khan Academy Logo

Khan Academy stands out among SAT prep services for two reasons. It’s the official SAT prep program of the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, and it’s completely free. Accessing SAT prep materials from Khan Academy is as simple as creating an account on their website. Students then have immediate and ongoing access to multiple resources, including official practice tests, video lessons, drill questions, and feedback.

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Khan Academy partners with the College Board to ensure prep materials are aligned with what is tested on the SAT.

Khan Academy guides students in creating a study plan based on how much time they have to prepare and how much time they can devote to preparing each week.

An easy-to-navigate dashboard tracks students’ progress, highlights important dates, and keeps lessons in one accessible place.

Students complete mini lessons in all areas tested on the SAT, including writing, verbal, and math,

Practice questions allow students to assess their knowledge and get immediate feedback and explanations.

What We Like

Khan Academy is free, which removes one common access barrier to SAT prep. But just because Khan Academy is free doesn’t mean it’s not quality. Like many paid programs, Khan Academy starts with a diagnostic assessment to develop a personalized study plan for users. A perk of Khan Academy’s association with the College Board is that if you’ve already taken the SAT, you can import your score into your Khan Academy profile.

Khan Academy guides students in creating a realistic study plan based on their scheduled test date and availability. Practice questions cover basic to advanced topics in all three sections of the SAT. Video explanations break down concepts and strategies for getting the correct answer. Official College Board practice tests are built into the schedule to ensure students are making progress.

Progress, lessons, and important dates are all organized in a simple, user-friendly dashboard. Khan Academy also has mobile apps for iOS and Android, so students can access their accounts on the go.

What We Didn’t Like

The key thing to note about Khan Academy is that it’s a completely self-guided program, meaning it’s best suited for motivated students who prefer to learn independently. While there’s a Help Center and Support Community on the website, there’s no instructor interaction or 1:1 tutoring available. Although students get a personalized study schedule, the lessons themselves are one-size-fits-all. Khan Academy’s approach may not work for all students.

What Test Takers Are Saying

On Trustpilot, Khan Academy has 4.1 / 5 stars, with 76% of users rating the service “excellent.” However, because Khan Academy offers a variety of different courses, reviews are not necessarily for the SAT course specifically. On Reddit, one recommends Khan Academy as “the best free preparation” available, while another praises the service for being “amazing” and helping them raise their score by nearly 500 points.


Program Price What You Get
Khan Academy SAT Prep Free
  • 96 total lessons covering math, verbal, writing, and test-taking strategies
  • 8 official College Board practice tests with feedback
  • Personalized study schedule
  • Mobile app for iOS/Android
  • Thousands of practice questions

Kaplan – Best Virtual Classroom Program

Kaplan Logo

Kaplan has been preparing standardized test takers for nearly 90 years, making it one of the most established SAT prep companies in the game. While Kaplan offers SAT prep in various formats, including a self-paced on-demand program, 1:1 tutoring, and in-person classes (currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic), its Live Online program is a stand-out for flexibility, content, and instructor interaction.

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We chose Kaplan as our Best Virtual Classroom program as it offers more than 33 hours of instruction time, comprehensive content, and built-in practice exams.

While Kaplan’s Live Online classes are offered at a variety of different times, students in Mountain or Pacific time zones should confirm that class start times don’t conflict with their school schedule.

We like that Kaplan’s Live Online course curriculum is accessible,  covers foundational and advanced concepts in math, verbal, and writing, and includes scheduled practice exams to assess improvement.

A user-friendly interface allows students to easily follow along with lessons and engage with faculty during online classes.

What We Like

In Kaplan’s Live Online SAT prep course, students get 18 hours of live instruction plus 15 hours of optional additional lessons. At $699, this translates to roughly $21 per hour of instruction time. Live Online classes are held throughout the academic year, so students can start prepping whenever they’re ready. Some classes meet multiple times per week for a short period, while others meet once a week over a 6-8-week timeframe.

Whatever the pace, the Live Online class is comprehensive, including lessons in math, verbal, and writing topics. Throughout the course, students take four official College Board practice tests. Students can also access additional practice exams, a bank of over 1,000 practice questions, and four SAT prep books.

A key benefit of the Live Online program is the instructor interaction. Each class is taught by one of Kaplan’s expert faculty, while another instructor is available via a private chat feature to answer questions during class. An upgrade to Live Online+, which includes three hours of 1:1 tutoring, is available for students who need extra support.

What We Didn’t Like

Students who live in Mountain or Pacific time zones should be mindful of Live Online class start times, which are all listed on the website in Eastern time.

Unlike other virtual classroom prep programs, Kaplan doesn’t give Live Online students extended access to any prep materials. Students only have access to the program until the next official SAT date. Kaplan students must sign up for the Unlimited Prep program for continued access.

What Test-Takers Are Saying

Kaplan has a 4.6-star rating on Trustpilot; 74% of Kaplan’s 4,677 reviews are “excellent.” In reviews, users indicate their satisfaction with the course’s comprehensiveness, thoroughness, and instructor support. Among those that weren’t satisfied with the course, chief complaints include a lack of personalization and long class sessions.


Program Price What You Get
Live Online $699
  • 18 hours of live instruction
    15+ hours of on-demand content
    4 SAT prep books
    8 practice exams
Live Online+ $1099
  • Everything in Live Online, plus:
  • 3 hours of 1:1 tutoring
  • Math Foundations
On-Demand $199
  • 6 months access to a self-paced program
  • Over 50 instructional videos taught by Kaplan experts
  • 1000 practice questions
Unlimited Prep $1999
  • Unlimited access to all Kaplan SAT, ACT, AP, and PSAT prep courses through December of student’s senior year of high school

Prep Scholar – Best On-Demand Program


Harvard graduates Allen Chang and Fred Zhang, both of whom earned perfect SAT scores, started PrepScholar in 2013 to share their successful strategies. Since then, PrepScholar has evolved into a key player in SAT prep, with a robust, customizable on-demand program, virtual classes, and tutoring. Their Complete SAT Online Prep stands out among self-paced programs for tackling basic and high-level skills over more than 200 hours of video and text lessons, detailed answer explanations, and 10 practice tests.

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PrepScholar’s customization is among the most sophisticated of self-paced online SAT prep programs, with an adaptive algorithm that adjusts lessons and questions as students improve.

Engaging videos cover all SAT subjects, reviewing content while sharing helpful test-taking strategies.

We also like PrepScholar’s text-based lessons, which offer detailed explanations of how to find the correct answer.

What We Like

Students who want a comprehensive SAT prep program that is personalized but flexible should take a closer look at PrepScholar’s Complete SAT Online Prep course.

PrepScholar’s flagship program starts with a diagnostic assessment that helps PrepScholar tailor preparation to meet students where they are. PrepScholar analyzes questions and test responses as students progress through the program to adapt future lessons to the student’s increasing proficiency. PrepScholar also helps guide remote students with detailed lesson plans, including video and text lessons, practice questions and quizzes, and answer reviews.

Students who enroll in the Complete SAT Online Prep course have access to the program for an entire year for $397, which is approximately $33 per month. During that time, there’s a significant amount of content students can take advantage of, including more than 7100 practice questions, 700 problem-solving videos, and 98 strategy videos.

PrepScholar backs all of this with a 160+-point score improvement guarantee. For students who need more individualized help, PrepScholar also offers a Complete SAT Online Prep + Tutoring option, starting at $995 for 12 months.

What We Didn’t Like

The sheer volume of material PrepScholar includes in the Complete SAT Online Prep program is a double-edged sword, bordering on an overwhelming number of lessons and questions to complete. The drills may be useful for students studying over several months. However, those with less time may benefit from a self-paced program such as Magoosh.

What Test-Takers Are Saying

PrepScholar has 4.6 / 5 stars on Facebook Reviews, with 571 users reviewing the company. Positive reviews focus on the program’s flexibility, level of preparation, and personalization. Unsatisfied customers noted the strictness of the company’s money-back guarantee and customer service issues. PrepScholar also currently has only one review on Trustpilot.


Program Price What You Get
Complete SAT Online Prep $397 1 year of access to:

  • 210+ hours of content
  • 7100+ practice questions
  • 700+ problem-solving videos
  • 98 strategy videos
  • Detailed answer explanations for all questions
  • Diagnostic quiz
  • 10 practice tests
PrepScholar Classes $895 Everything in the Complete SAT Online Prep course, plus

9 hours of live virtual classroom instruction

Complete + Tutoring $995 and up Everything in the Complete SAT Online Prep course, plus 4-54 hours of 1:1 tutoring

Magoosh – Best for Extended Prep Time

Magoosh Logo

Magoosh believes SAT prep should be easy, accessible, and flexible. That’s why their self-paced, on-demand Premium program is ideal for students who have an extended period of time to prepare. Premium students get 12 months of access to “bite-sized” lessons and Magoosh’s deep library of practice questions, videos, tests, and more. For those needing additional help, Magoosh also offers a Live Classes option with 16 hours of live virtual instruction.

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When students sign up for Magoosh, they’re prompted to enter their anticipated SAT testing date so that the program can create a customized study plan for them.

We like Magoosh’s simple interface and short video lessons, which allow students to study even if they only have a small window of time.

A user-friendly dashboard helps Magoosh students stay on track by keeping all progress benchmarks, lessons, and resources in one accessible place.

Students can take up to 10 practice exams, online or in paper format, to simulate the actual SAT testing experience.

What We Like

As far as value goes, Magoosh stands out among SAT prep programs. Students can get 12 months of access to the Premium self-paced program for $129 or a little over $10 per month. This makes it one of the more affordable options for self-paced prep compared to programs like the Princeton Review ($499) and PrepScholar ($397).

For their money, students get a self-guided program that empowers them to learn independently through personalized schedules, text reminders, and lessons that can be completed in as little as 20 minutes per day. Students can access lessons via Magoosh’s user-friendly website or mobile app. Magoosh teaches math, verbal, and writing topics via video lessons, practice questions with explanations, and practice tests.

A notable feature of Magoosh’s self-paced program is that students have access to tutors for personalized assistance, so if they get stuck at any point, help is available. Magoosh also offers a 100-point score improvement guarantee and a free 7-day trial.

What We Didn’t Like

As with all self-paced programs, Magoosh requires that students be motivated to show up and complete their lessons. Students who need the extra accountability of a structured class and instructor guidance might be better served signing up for Magoosh’s Premium + Live Classes program or seeking live online classes like those offered by Kaplan or PrepExpert. While Magoosh has practice tests built into their preparation schedule, they aren’t official College Board practice tests, leaving room for a degree of difference in difficulty and content.

What Test Takers Are Saying

Magoosh has 4.7 / 5 stars on Trustpilot, and 4.9 / 5 stars on Facebook, making it one of the best-reviewed prep services on our list. According to one user, Magoosh is a “fantastic education platform. The incremental learning process was very helpful in setting a baseline, and the brilliant app allowed for mobile study.” Another user details how Magoosh helped them build confidence and overcome anxiety about test-taking.


Program Price What You Get
Self-Paced Premium $129/12 months
  • Over 1,750 practice questions with video/text explanations
  • 200+ video lessons
  • 3 practice tests
  • Personalized study schedule
  • Email assistance from tutors
  • 100-point score guarantee
  • Mobile app (iOS and Android)
Self-Paced Premium + Live Classes $399/12 months
  • Everything in the Self-Paced Premium program, plus:
  • 16 hours of live virtual instruction

Prep Expert – Best for Limited Prep Time

Prep Expert Logo

A relative newcomer to the world of SAT prep, Prep Expert offers several different options for SAT study, designed around founder Dr. Shaan Patel’s strategy-based approach. For students who have several weeks to prepare, Prep Expert offers 6- and 8-week live online classes and a self-paced on-demand course. We chose their unique Weekend Review course as our pick for students who have limited time and who need to brush up on their skills and strategies before tackling the SAT.

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Inside Prep Expert’s virtual classroom, instructors break down SAT questions, demonstrating problem-solving strategies and answering questions about content and methodology.

Prep Expert’s approach is strategy-based, with over 100 subject-specific methods students can use to help them maximize their time when taking the SAT.

Prep Expert prides itself on hiring top SAT scorers as its faculty, including regular Weekend Review instructor Clay Cooper.

What We Like

Even if students only have a limited amount of time before taking the SAT, that doesn’t mean they should forgo preparation altogether.  Prep Expert offers an intensive Weekend Review for last-minute learners each weekend prior to scheduled SAT dates.

This intensive online course offers 12 hours of SAT prep over two days. There are four three-hour sessions, with one hour-long break each day. The comprehensive curriculum covers all SAT subjects, including math, reading, and writing, as well as test-taking strategies and tips.

Prep Expert’s skilled instructors break down SAT practice questions, demonstrating hacks that allow students to solve problems and answer questions quickly and correctly. Learning in a virtual classroom means students can engage with faculty in real-time and ask their burning SAT content and strategy questions before sitting for the actual test.

A perk of Prep Expert is that they regularly offer discount codes for all their courses, including the Weekend Review. This can help put their learning options within the financial reach of more students.

What We Didn’t Like

Students participating in Prep Expert’s Weekend Review course get just that — one weekend of SAT content and strategy review, with no additional access to materials, lessons, or practice tests. This likely means it’s not the right solution for students who need or want a deep dive into SAT prep with a lot of time to process the material. There’s also no money-back guarantee, although at $299 for 12 hours of instruction, the financial and time commitments are relatively low.

What Test Takers Are Saying

Prep Expert’s Trustpilot rating is 4.6 / 5 stars, and their Facebook rating is 4.1 / 5 stars. Users praise Prep Expert’s instructors for being engaging and effective. Says one student, “I feel better equipped to study and improve my score after learning and practicing the tips and strategies, and I have even started using what I learned in non-SAT work.”


Program Price What You Get
Weekend Review $299
  • 12 hours of live instruction covering all SAT subjects, as well as test-taking strategies
8-Week Capstone Cass $1499
  • 14 classes over the course of 8 weeks covering all SAT subjects, as well as test-taking strategies
  • 6 practice exams
  • Homework assignments
  • Access to Weekend Review course
6-Week Flagship Class $999
  • 12 classes over the course of 6 weeks covering all SAT subjects, as well as test-taking strategies
  • 6 practice exams
  • Homework assignments
Self-Paced Video $349/12 months 30 hours of video lessons

Testive – Best for 1:1 Coaching

Testive Logo

While most SAT prep companies offer individual tutoring as an add-on, Testive’s self-paced Guided Study option includes four monthly check-ins with a test prep expert. This makes it ideal for students who prefer studying independently but need the accountability and support of a 1:1 coach. Students enrolling in the Guided Study program get a free consultation to help them find the right tutor from the company’s deep bench of test prep experts and develop a customized study plan.

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Testive’s process starts with a free consultation to help determine a personalized plan of study and match students with one of Testive’s more than 40 test prep experts.

We like Testive’s simple interface, with a dashboard and navigation bar that keeps everything organized and easy to find.

Students get real-time feedback when answering practice questions, with detailed explanations to let students know where they went wrong.

Testive’s calendar feature lets students set practice goals and reminders and helps monitor progress throughout the course.

What We Like

While Testive offers a solid self-paced study plan for independent learners, we chose to highlight their unique Guided Study service. This option includes four monthly check-ins and up to eight test review sessions with one of Testive’s tutors. Students can use this personalized attention from a test prep expert to ask questions, review lessons, and track progress.

Testive’s test prep experts come from a variety of different backgrounds. However, they all have previous experience in education and are required to have achieved a minimum score of 1950 on the SAT. The company also seeks fun, flexible tutors with strong people skills to ensure good matches between students and tutors.

While students must commit to at least two months of the guided study program, they can sign up for as long as six months. The program adapts both to the student’s ability level at the start of the program and the length of time they have to prepare. Testive primarily uses practice questions with text explanations to assess students’ skills and guide them in the right direction when answers are incorrect.

What We Didn’t Like

A notable drawback of Testive is that it’s on the expensive end of the spectrum. The Guided Study program starts at $499 per month, with a requirement of at least two months. Those who need more time could end up spending upwards of $3500. There’s also no score improvement guarantee, making it a somewhat risky investment. However, we included Testive because it’s a good middle-of-the-road option for students who don’t want to work exclusively with an SAT tutor but need extra support.

What Test Takers Are Saying

On Trustpilot, Testive has 4.8 / 5 stars. Ninety-two percent of the 65 reviews are “excellent.” Parents and students alike praise Testive’s tutors for their encouragement, friendliness, and personalized attention. Said one student, The time I spent working with my tutor not only impacted my SAT scores but also gave me great insight on how to move forward into college. This is the best tutor I’ve ever had.”


Program Price What You Get
Self-Paced Study $99/month (2-6 months)
  • Thousands of practice questions with text explanations
  • 8 practice tests
  • 1 test review session with a test prep expert
  • Parent dashboard
Guided Study $499/month (2-6 months)
  • Everything in the Self-Paced Study program, plus:
  • 4 monthly check-ins with a test prep expert
  • Up to 8 test review sessions
  • Personalized answer explanations

What to Consider Before Signing Up for SAT Test Prep

Calculate prep time

Our resident test prep expert, college counselor Dana Marvin, recommends about 1-2 hours per week of studying for the three months leading up to the SAT. “This is a good amount of time for students to get a feel for the questions as well as understand the strategies for successfully taking this test,” Marvin says. Marvin warns against over-preparation and burnout, especially in the days leading up to the exam. Marvin recommends programs that focus on strategies, like Prep Expert’s Weekend Review, for students with limited preparation time rather than a dive deep into the content.

Consider your learning style

How do you learn best? This will influence which type of prep program is a good fit for you. For example, auditory and kinesthetic learners may do better in a virtual classroom like Kaplan’s. Visual and reading/writing learners may prefer a self-guided program like Magoosh. Marvin says that online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations can help students learn more about teaching methods. She also reminds students that course content is important. “The SAT is designed for people who know how to take this type of exam,” she says. The best prep programs equip students with a toolbox of test-taking strategies.”

Compare costs

SAT prep courses run the gamut from free to several thousand dollars. But a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily translate to higher quality, Marvin says. The most important thing is finding a program that meets your specific needs and your budget. Marvin recommends students use Khan Academy, which is free, either exclusively or as a supplement. “Khan Academy really helps students understand why they got an answer wrong and learn from their mistakes,” she says. While many programs offer a money-back or score-improvement guarantee, Marvin encourages families to read the fine print before committing thousands of dollars to one of these programs.

Decide if taking the SAT is necessary

“Since 2020, many colleges and universities have adopted test-optional or test-blind policies either temporarily because of the pandemic or permanently,” Marvin says. Before you commit the time and money to preparing for and taking the SAT, you’ll want to make sure it’s a necessary step in your college application process. However, even if the schools you’re applying to are test-optional, there are some advantages to submitting SAT scores. High scores can strengthen your academic record, especially if your GPA is on the lower side. Also, even if a school doesn’t use test scores for admissions evaluations, they might review them when considering students for things like scholarships and honors programs.

SAT Test Prep Frequently Asked Questions

What are the important dates for taking the SAT test?

For the 2023-24 academic year, the SAT testing dates, as well as registration deadlines, are listed below. To register for the SAT, visit the College Board website. SAT scores are typically released about 13 days after the test date.

Test Date* Registration Deadline Deadline for Changes, Regular Cancellation, and Late Registration
Oct. 7, 2023 Sep. 7, 2023 Sep. 26, 2023
Nov. 4, 2023 Oct. 5, 2023 Oct. 24, 2023
Dec. 2, 2023 Nov. 2, 2023 Nov. 21, 2023
Mar. 9, 2024 (Digital) Feb. 23, 2024 Feb. 27, 2024
May 4, 2024 (Digital) Apr. 19, 2024 Apr. 23, 2024
June 1, 2024 (Digital) May 16, 2024 May 21, 2024

*Test dates are accurate as of September 12, 2023.

When should I take the SATs?

Students can start taking the SATs as early as the 8th grade. However, we recommend that students wait until their junior year of high school to take the SATs for the first time. This timetable has two advantages. By the midpoint of junior year, most students will have gained the math, verbal, and writing skills and concepts covered by the SAT. It also gives students time to retake the test (and do a prep course) if necessary, either during the summer or fall of senior year of high school.

How many times should I take the SAT?

Students can take the SAT as many times as they want. Most students need two to three tests to achieve their desired score. Spreading out SATs over the course of junior and early senior year of high school will allow you to get a baseline score, spend time focusing on areas where improvement is needed, and retake the test before you need to start your college applications. High school seniors applying to college for the following fall should take their SAT for the final time no later than December of senior year.

Are there accommodations for disabilities?

Yes, the College Board can make accommodations for disabilities. However, students requesting accommodations must get prior approval. This approval process can take up to seven weeks, so submitting your accommodation request as early as possible is important. Approved accommodations will be listed on your admission ticket. If accommodations are made without approval, the SAT score will be canceled.

Where can I find practice tests?

SAT practice tests are similar in format and content to the actual SAT test. Practice exams help students familiarize themselves with the types of questions the SAT asks, and how long it will take them to complete the test. Most SAT prep courses include practice tests, but the College Board also offers several downloadable SAT practice tests on its website. The College Board also offers answer keys, answer explanations, and scoring sheets for practice exams.

How early should I prepare?

The amount of prep time needed depends on a few factors, including how much time you have to dedicate to SAT prep, specific areas you’re covering, and your learning style. For most students, starting prep about two months before the testing date is sufficient. However, starting early may be beneficial if you struggle with focusing or processing material. If you have less than two months, look for programs like College Prep Genius, which offers a three-week bootcamp, or Khan Academy, which is self-paced.

How many practice tests should I take before the actual exam?

There’s no magic number of practice tests to take prior to the actual SAT. A practice test can help you set a baseline for score expectations and help you determine how much and what kind of prep you may need. Regular practice exams in the weeks before the actual test can help you stay focused, track progress, identify areas of improvement, and build up your stamina for the real deal.

How long are most SAT prep courses?

The length of SAT prep courses can vary from single-day quick-prep courses to self-paced programs that students have a year to complete. Most live in-person or online courses run for 4-8 weeks, depending on how many times per week the class meets. Many programs, like the Princeton Review, allow students to continue accessing some or all course materials after the official class has ended.

Is SAT prep worth it?

Generally, yes — as long as students are willing to do the work. Simply signing up for a prep course won’t have a significant impact unless you complete lessons, take practice exams, ask questions, and apply feedback. Many SAT prep services offer a score guarantee in which students can request a refund or retake the course for free if they don’t achieve a specific score. This lowers the risk and helps improve a student’s return on investment in the course.

How much does SAT prep cost?

The cost of SAT prep courses varies from free to over $2,000. The cost of an SAT prep course depends on factors like course provider, delivery method, materials provided, length of access, and availability of 1:1 instruction. When considering how much to spend on an SAT prep course, think about what specifically you need. A free or low-cost self-paced program may be sufficient for students who want a simple refresher on basic math and verbal concepts. Investing in a more robust course might be worth it if you’re looking for a significant score increase or individualized attention. Many services also offer discounts or sales, which can help offset the cost. For specific program pricing, please refer to the individual program descriptions above.

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