They’re a new face in the world of SAT test prep, but that doesn’t mean that The Olive Book doesn’t have what it takes to help you crush the SAT. An architecture professor at Virginia Tech named Michael Ermann founded The Olive Book with a simple goal in mind: to provide unique, top-of-the-line visual content that engages students and helps them efficiently prepare for the SAT. This emphasis on visual content is what makes The Olive Book really stand out; they employ a team of expert animators who dissect even the most difficult SAT math and language concepts in short, easy-to-follow videos.
They accompany this unique content with discounts, guarantees, and a solid course organization that makes their product accessible to everyone. Still, if you read through our review of The Olive Book’s SAT online prep course and think that it isn’t the class for you, you should check out our list of the Top SAT Prep Courses out there today, which will point you toward the course that fits you best.
Please note The Olive Book is one of our affiliate brands, and as such we receive a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to purchase this prep course. Only use our links if you find this review helpful.
1. Visual Content
What sets The Olive Book apart is their emphasis on visual learning. Their team believes that all students can benefit from visual educational material, and that most students today just aren’t getting enough of it. Or, as they put it: every learner is a visual learner.
They put this philosophy into practice by providing in-depth animated explanations of SAT concepts, which is no small feat when you consider the complexity of the SAT’s content and structure. Although they emphasize the visual content of their curriculum, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is: every practice question in your Olive Book course also comes with a detailed text explanation, so you can read your way through concepts as well.
2. Great Guarantees
Prep courses can be pricey, but even the most expensive products can still be worth it if they provide the right outcome. To show buyers that their products do bring in results, test prep companies often implement a score improvement guarantee. That way, if you’ve taken the SAT before and don’t score better on a second attempt after you’ve completed your course, you can get a full refund for your payment.
For most companies, one of these higher score guarantees might be enough. The Olive Book, on the other hand, provides both a score improvement guarantee and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not completely happy with your course, you can get your money back, no questions asked. They may be a young company, but their confidence in what they offer certainly shows through guarantees like these.
3. Multiple Syllabi
The SAT online prep course from The Olive Book only comes in a self-paced format, meaning that there are no strict deadlines—you progress through the course by completing whatever content you like, whenever it’s convenient for you. Many students work well with the self-paced format, but some might wish that they had just a little more structure to work with, which The Olive Book provides.
With their SAT course, students have four different syllabi at their disposal: a 1-month schedule, a 2-month schedule, a 3-month schedule, and a 4-month schedule. We recommend that students spend about 3 months studying for a big standardized test, but this is just a ballpark estimate—plenty of students will want to study bit-by-bit over a longer period of time, or take on more content at a faster pace. With The Olive Book, you have the flexibility to study whatever content you’re interested in whenever you like, but you also have the option to follow a structure, if that works best for you.
As we’ve said before, test prep can be expensive, and while plenty of companies offer discounts and guarantees, it’s rare that we find a company that openly offers a full online SAT prep course for FREE…The Olive Book is one such rarity.
To help students with financial need reach higher test scores and get into better schools, The Olive Book offers their prep courses absolutely FREE to any student that qualifies for need-based free lunch at a public school. Teachers can also take advantage of their free offer—if you teach at a Title I public school, you can get access to an Olive Book online SAT course FREE for each student in your class.
In addition, The Olive Book offers discounts to members of the military community and to students who are purchasing the course for use by multiple people. If you’re looking to take an online prep course but are worried about the price, you should reach out to The Olive Book—they likely have a discount for you.
5. Discussion Boards
Communication is key when it comes to learning something new—that’s why the best self-paced online SAT courses include features that encourage communication between students, their peers, and their instructors.
The Olive Book has a great discussion feature that allows students to easily create assignment-specific posts while they’re progressing through their course. Other students can then reply to those posts if they like, but an Olive Book instructor will always respond to your question. They write up thoughtful and extensive responses that do an excellent job of explaining concepts in a new way, so if you ever find that their videos and text explanations just aren’t helping you with a certain problem, an SAT expert is always a message away.
6. High-Yield Content Structure
Self-paced SAT prep courses often organize their content according to difficulty and subject matter. The easier content comes first and more difficult stuff comes later, all of it arranged by subject. The Olive Book stands out by using a best-yield organization instead.
According to this structure, the highest-impact content comes first—all the content that is easiest to learn but also provides the most drastic score increases. This way, even if you aren’t able to complete 100% of the course, you’ll still learn the most important and actionable strategies for taking the SAT.
The Olive Book’s online SAT course costs $390 and provides 6 months of access to your course material. When compared to more expensive courses, such as Testive’s $399/month SAT package, this price isn’t the most expensive, but it’s still on the high end.
Sure, there are other courses that offer more time for less cash, such as Magoosh’s year-long $99 SAT course, but The Olive Book’s substantial guarantees and discounts can easily make its classes more attainable than they seem at first. Even so, The Olive Book’s price might be a bit too much to fit into your budget, and if that’s the case, there are plenty of other options out there for you.
2. Less Course Material
If we’re trying to measure how much content a prep course provides, we often look at its number of practice questions and practice tests. The Olive Book provides nearly 1,000 practice questions and 1 full practice test, which may sound like a lot at first, but it doesn’t really compare to what some other courses provide. Take The Princeton Review’s 3,200+ questions and 3+ practice tests, for example.
But as you might suspect, more content isn’t always better, and this is the idea that The Olive Book has built into their curriculum. With their SAT prep course, you’re getting fewer questions and explanations, but you’re getting content that’s designed to be more efficient and engaging than the content you’ll find elsewhere. The Olive Book’s explanation videos are some of the best we’ve seen, and they convey concepts more completely in a couple minutes than some prep classes will do with 10 questions. If you take The Olive Book’s SAT prep course, you may find yourself wishing you had more full SAT practice tests, or flashcards, or a customizable question bank, but you might just be satisfied with the content they’ve spent so much time crafting to make your SAT prep efficient and effective. For The Olive Book, less is more.
The Olive Book takes a unique, visuals-based approach to their SAT prep course, using polished and engaging video animations to explain even the most complex SAT concepts. Their course price and slim amount of course material/features may not compare to other, more established names in SAT prep, but their content is designed to be polished and efficient, rather than plentiful, and their guarantees and discounts could bring their price down by a lot. If you’re a visual learner, a student with financial need, or an educator looking for high-quality online SAT prep, The Olive Book is a great option for you.
Have you taken The Olive Book SAT prep course? Let us know what you think!
There are plenty of courses out there with other features and educational approaches, and they all have different prices. If you’ve decided The Olive Book might not be the course you need, check out our comparison of all the best SAT courses—there’s something out there for everyone!