The GMAT test prep courses offered by Princeton Review are among the most popular in the industry, but is there a course among them that fits your needs and your budget? You don’t want to make this decision lightly. Choosing the right prep course for you could mean the difference between a fair score and a great score when you take the GMAT and that will matter to the admissions department.
It should be clarified that the Princeton Review isn’t really connected to Princeton University. But in the entire test prep industry, the Princeton Review brand can be considered “Ivy League” among its peers. It’s been around since 1981, and it has pioneered many of the methods and formats that have become standard among the other test prep brands.
Its GMAT test prep courses are among its most popular offerings, and as a set, it’s highly regarded. But will they work for you? A closer look can help you answer that question.
Princeton Review GMAT Prep Courses Highlights
Princeton Review offered both online and in-person options, but that was before the pandemic crisis. Right now, it’s best if we just consider the online options and hope we can safely return to in-person instruction soon if you feel that is what you need.
Here we show the GMAT test prep packages, along with the prices and highlighted features. We show the standard prices as well as the discounts available on the day we visited the Princeton Review website.
|GMAT Prep Course||Features|
· $399 with discount
|· 3,000 practice questions
· 83 adaptive drills
· Build your own drill set
· Optimized Drill Builder set
· 10 practice tests
· 100 adaptive video lessons
· 91 Quick Review lessons
· 1 hour of personal 1-on-1 tutoring
· $1,149 with discount
|· Everything on the Self-Paced course
· 27 hours of live instruction
· $1,599 with discount
|· 47 total hours of instruction
· At least 700 GMAT score guaranteed
· 4 hours of 1-on-1 instruction from the course instructor
· At least 10 hours of focused instruction on advanced GMAT questions
· At least 10 hours of verbal and math explanation sessions
· At least 4,480 online drills
· 10 full-length practice GMAT tests
|Targeted Live Online Tutoring
· $1,800 for 10 hours
|· Comes with Self-Paced package
· $180 an hour
|Comprehensive Live Online Tutoring
· $3,000 for 18 hours
|· Comes with Self-Paced package
· $167 an hour
· Comes with score improvement guarantee
Here are some of the advantages you get with the Princeton Review suite of GMAT test prep courses:
Just Enough Options
Princeton Review offers a reasonable number of options for you to choose from. Other brands may offer you just 2 basic options, such as a the basic Self-Paced package and the Self-Paced with the option of tutoring. If these 2 options don’t fit your needs precisely, you’re out of luck.
Others offer many more course variations, and that’s not always a good thing. The main problem is that you may be overwhelmed with the number of options with different sets of features. You can easily get confused and may not choose the best option for you.
With Princeton Review, you get a reasonable number of options, and one of these options should fit your needs (and your budget) nicely.
The prices for the Princeton Review prep courses aren’t the lowest in the industry. But they’re not among the most expensive either.
The prices are actually on the lower side of the average range, as Princeton Review regularly offers substantial discounts. On the day we checked their website, the discounts reached up to 25% off.
All in all, you should be satisfied with the prices here. The $399 price tag is just right for the Self-Paced course, and adding 27 hours of live instruction adds $800 to the price tag. That’s to be expected.
Like many of the other GMAT test prep brands, Princeton Review uses its own algorithm to mimic the computer-adaptive nature of the real GMAT. That means the algorithm can then adjust the difficulty level of the next question based on how well you answered the previous question. Answer right, and the questions become harder. Answer wrong, and the algorithm eases up on you by posing an easier question next time.
This algorithm is part of the DrillBuilder feature. You can actually customize your own practice drill set using several templates available. That way, you’re able to tailor a practice drill set to focus on a specific area.
But with the DrillBuilder, the algorithm can instead build the drill set for you. It’s quite easy to do, and you can still customize the drill to meet your needs.
You can opt for a drill set that’s similar to a practice test, and you get your results at the end of the test. But you can also get feedback each time you answer, so you immediately know how well you answered each question.
You’re able to set the difficulty level for the questions included in the practice drill and can set the time limit for the test.
Video Lessons Linked to Practice Questions
When you take on a practice question, you’re offered the chance to review the concept after you’ve given your answer. This is quite helpful when you get the answer wrong, as you can then immediately understand where you went wrong and how to avoid the mistake in the future. The immediate link to the lesson makes the explanation more memorable.
In fact, this video link helps even when you get the answer right. It explains how you did it right. This example can help you figure out how to get the answers right for the other practice questions. It can also help you if you made a lucky guess, but really want to know the best procedure for solving it.
At Least 3,000 Practice Questions
The more questions you can practice with, the better you get. With 3,000 questions, you can build a lot of drills and answer practice questions without having to tackle the same questions repeatedly.
Some brands offer fewer questions, with just 2,000 questions. There are even brands that offer less than that. With 3,000 questions, you should have more than enough for GMAT practice.
10 Practice Tests
Practice tests can be regarded as part of your skill-building activities. You learn and become familiar with questions and concepts.
You also become more familiar with the stress of test-taking. When you take the real GMAT, it shouldn’t be nerve-wracking if you’ve taken similar tests 10 times before. The practice tests work the same way as the real GMAT, with an algorithm adjusting the difficulty level of the next question depending on whether you got the previous question right or wrong.
But the real value of these practice tests is that they’re all diagnostic in nature. Each practice test exposes which areas are your strengths, and which areas need more work. With 10 practice tests, you can monitor your progress more frequently. You’re able to customize your study plan to adjust to your progress and weak areas.
Self-Paced with Coaching
With other brands, the self-paced courses leave you completely on your own. If you need a coach to help guide you through, you’d have to pay for the privilege.
But with the Self-Paced course offered by Princeton Review, even the basic self-study course offers you an hour of 1-on-1 coaching. You can use this coaching hour in various ways:
- The coach can advise you on how you can set up your study plan during the 4 months of access you get. This is best done after the first diagnostic test, so you already have a clearer idea of the weak areas you need to work on.
- The coach can tutor you on a particular topic that you is stumping you. Sometimes you need an actual person to really make sure you understand a certain concept. You can ask about anything, from certain types of math equations to correct sentence structure.
- You can get the coach to help you review a particular practice test, especially if you had a lot of trouble with it. The coach can point out exactly how you got things wrong, and help you learn from your mistakes.
- You can ask for tips and other helpful bits of advice for the actual test day.
Books Are Available
Plenty of students like the feel of paper in their hands when they study. It’s comforting and having books mean you’re not entirely relying on an online connection to study. Just in case you’re not near a computer or your internet goes out, you can study from the books.
The books that Princeton Review offers include:
- The GMAT Official Guide
- The GMAT Official Guide Verbal Review
- The GMAT Official Guide Quantitative Review
You Get Guarantees
This is especially apparent with the GMAT 700+, since you’re promised that you’ll score at least 700 on the GMAT.
Of course, there are conditions. Before issuing a refund, they will need proof that you’re doing all you could with the materials.
You also should have a previous score of at least 620 to receive this 700-score guarantee. But if your previous score is less than 620, you still get the guarantee that your score will increase by at least 80 points.
In fact, if you’re just disappointed with your experience with a course, you’re able to repeat the course for free.
Despite the many benefits you can get with the Princeton Review GMAT prep courses, some areas can still improve:
Where’s the Mobile App?
This is the glaring absence in the impressive list of resources that Princeton Review offers. Many of the other brands offer this, with courses that are more affordable. But Princeton Review doesn’t. I guess you’ll just use your free time to scroll through cat pictures on your smartphone instead of GMAT practice questions.
With Princeton Review, you don’t have much of a choice regarding your tutoring package. You can go with comprehensive coverage for 18 hours. Or you can target certain areas of the GMAT subjects for 10 hours. These are your only tutoring options.
Some people simply learn better with the personalized coaching of a tutor, which is why other brands offer up to 30 hours of tutoring. If that’s the case for you, then 18 hours of tutoring may not be enough.
Only 4 Months of Access
Other brands offer the 6-month standard. This shorter access period means you’re squeezing a lot of review materials and practice time in the relatively short period of 4 months. If you’re also working or studying full time, you may have a scheduling issue.
What’s the most popular of these programs?
More students go with the Fundamentals Course than any other GMAT prep course.
What proof do you need to show to enjoy the 700+ guarantee?
The guarantee works if you attend all the classes, do all the assigned homework, complete the 4 hours of tutoring, and take 7 of the practice tests.
What is so significant with a 700 GMAT score?
A 700 GMAT score makes you a lot more competitive if you’re applying to one of the top 25 MBA programs in the US.
Who Should Buy a Princeton Review GMAT Prep Course?
Princeton Review may be a good fit for you if you’re:
Partial to Established Brands
Princeton Review is one of the oldest brands in the industry, and it has pioneered many of the standard test prep methods. If you feel more confident with brands with proven track records, you will feel confident with this brand.
Determined and Diligent
Sure, you have the guarantees that your score will improve. But you won’t improve your score (or get your money back if it doesn’t improve) if you don’t attend classes, do the assignments, and take the tests. You have to show a lot of effort here. These courses aren’t for slackers.
Don’t Want to Go Cheap
The prices here are reasonable, but some of the other brands offer cheaper options. If you are a very tight budget, then Princeton Review may not be for you.
Princeton Review deserves all the praise and awards it has received. You get plenty of resource materials, along with superior technology to mimic the actual nature of the GMAT. The features are terrific, yet you don’t need to pay exorbitant prices for these courses. When it comes to getting value for your money, Princeton Review certainly delivers. If you want to explore other options, check our top picks here.