Updated May 14, 2020
Prep Expert began only a handful of years ago, but in no time at all they’ve become a standout test-prep service known for their quality instruction. They’re also known because of their unique origin story—ever heard of Shark Tank? Prep Expert’s founder, Shaan Patel, pitched his test-prep company idea on the popular television show and received a substantial investment from billionaire Mark Cuban; fans of the show know this is no easy feat! Thanks to his successful fundraising efforts and entrepreneurial drive, Patel could turn his dream of helping students achieve life-changing SAT scores into a reality.
For the past several years, the company has continued to pursue that dream through their own unique strategy: Prep Expert employs expert instructors and a detailed, intense curriculum to drastically improve student’s SAT scores. Founder Shaan Patel knows exactly how to help students get great scores precisely because he’s gotten them himself. He scored a perfect 2400 on the SAT before it changed to its 1600 format, and he and the other 99th percentile staff at Prep Expert do everything they can to engage with students using video lessons, interactive classes, and downloadable textbooks that can turn any student into a true SAT expert.
This article serves as a detailed review of Prep Expert’s courses, but if you’re interested in quickly comparing Prep Expert to other SAT prep course companies, check out our list of the Best SAT Prep Courses of 2020.
1. Higher SAT Score Guarantee
Prep Expert offers a stellar Money-Back Score Improvement Guarantee for most of its courses. If you don’t see substantial improvements to your SAT score after taking a Prep Expert course, you don’t pay a dime!
For each Prep Expert course, students receive a different higher-score guarantee. For instance: their Self-Paced Video SAT Prep Course comes with a 10-point improvement guarantee. Their 6-Week Flagship SAT Prep Course, on the other hand, guarantees students will score at least 200 points higher after the course.
A 200-point increase on the SAT can move a student from the top 60% of test-takers to the top 16% of test-takers; that’s a big difference.
By guaranteeing a substantially higher SAT score, Prep Expert shows just how confident they are in their material. The guarantee isn’t just for show either, as buyers who didn’t see the improvement they were promised have shared about their refund experience.
It’s important to note, though, that to qualify for Prep Expert’s score guarantees, students have to complete the entire course they’ve enrolled in. Not completing assignments jeopardizes the guarantee, so students have to be on their toes and monitor when assignments are due. Students also most provide official, qualifying scores from their previous SAT or PSAT reports before the course.
To take advantage of Prep Expert’s score improvement guarantee, check out their terms of service to see everything required to qualify.
2. Top 1% SAT Score Instructors
Prep Expert’s instructors are nothing short of the best of the best, and we don’t make that claim lightly. Each of the instructors hired to teach Prep Expert students are 99th percentile scorers on the SAT, meaning that they are in the top 1% of test takers. Several of Prep Expert’s teachers, including founder Shaan Patel himself, even got perfect scores on the SAT and/or the ACT.
These same instructors are also available for private tutoring services offered through Prep Expert—they can guide students through the SAT in general or through specific sections and subjects that the SAT tests on.
Not only are these some of the most knowledgeable instructors out there when it comes to taking standardized tests, but students praise their teachers’ ability to make studying for the SAT engaging and fun!
3. In-person and Online Course Options
Modern day test-prep services often come in either online or in-person versions, but Prep Expert stands out from the rest by offering both, though their in-person courses aren’t nation-wide yet. If you’re in the Princeton, NJ or Las Vegas, NV areas, you can choose to prepare for the SAT at Prep Expert’s in-person prep centers.
If those locations are inconvenient, then you can enjoy Prep Expert’s all-online course materials wherever works for you. All of Prep Expert’s activities, assignments, and lessons are available online, either in the form of downloads, video lessons, or livestream classes. The only assignment that absolutely requires paper-and-pencil is Prep Expert’s SAT essay practice assignments; in order to submit a practice SAT essay for the course, students have to handwrite it and scan it as a pdf in order to emulate SAT testing conditions.
4. 3 Great SAT Course Packages
Learning is never one-size-fits-all. Developing skills and understanding content requires a various amount of time from every student. Beyond that, students also have to work education into otherwise busy schedules and tight budgets. Thankfully, Prep Expert offers 3 great packages for their SAT prep course to accommodate for what students’ individual needs.
Their Flagship SAT Course gives students 60 hours of content over the course of 6-weeks, allowing students plenty of time to digest information and communicate with instructors before test day. Their Fast Track SAT Course offers the same amount of content in a smaller time frame, so students who want the full 60 hours of class time, lessons, and resources can get it without being enrolled in the course for a full month and a half.
For students who find that the class sessions and assignment deadlines may be a bit too much, there are still some great options. Prep Expert’s Self-Paced SAT Prep Course offers the lessons and supplementary materials available in the other two courses, but doesn’t include live class sessions or require students to submit homework assignments or practice SAT tests at certain times. Instead, students create their own schedule and view video lessons, submit homework, and complete practice tests whenever is convenient for them.
Lastly, students can make use of Prep Expert’s cheapest and fastest SAT course: the Weekend Review. For $299, students can receive 12 hours of expert instruction from one of their 99th percentile instructors, split up into a few separate class sessions.
5. PSAT Prep Course
In addition to Prep Expert’s SAT offerings, students can also prepare for the practice version of the SAT through their PSAT course, giving them a major head start in the SAT process.
Prep Expert’s PSAT course lasts for 4 weeks and includes 48 hours of material for a price of $799. Even though this course only goes over the practice version of the exam, it still provides invaluable test-taking skills and SAT insight. Their PSAT course also comes with its own score improvement guarantee, assuring that students will score at least 10 points higher on the PSAT after taking the course.
6. Interactive Classes
Educators have always had to find ways to keep students engaged in the classroom, and online courses like those offered by Prep Expert are no exception to this struggle. Thankfully, Prep Expert employs a personable staff for each of their SAT courses, but sometimes that’s not enough to keep students tuned-in.
To keep students involved in each class session, Prep Expert uses a polling system during their classes to make sure that students are engaging with the material.
Classes are conducted through Adobe Connect, and students can engage with both their instructors and each other as the instructor explains the material. Occasionally, the instructor will initiate a poll that asks for students to respond to, say, a question on the exam. If students don’t complete a certain percentage of these polls during class time, they won’t be considered as present for the class.
For the 6-week and 3-week courses, students have to be present for a certain percentage of their class sessions in order to be counted as having completed the entire course, and to qualify for the Prep Expert’s promised score improvement.
Prep Expert’s polling feature is a great way to incentivize students to stay engaged with the material they’re learning, maximizing the use of technology to improve the online learning environment.
7. Extended Course Access
These books contain a wealth of Prep Expert insight into SAT techniques, tricks, and concepts that form the foundation of their curriculum. If you take the 6-week or 3-week versions of the course, these books instead provide a valuable supplement to your class sessions. If you’re ever confused about something your instructor said, these textbooks have the lesson written out in as much detail as possible.
If you take the self-paced course option, Prep Expert instructs you to read these books in order to better understand your video lessons, which are taught by Shaan Patel.
The best part is that students have access to both their books and lessons beyond the duration for their course. Students who take the 6-week or 3-week versions of the course can access their Prep Expert dashboard and materials for 60 days after their last class session.
This extended access can be a gamechanger, as it allows students enough time to go back through these materials after they’ve received their SAT score report. If a student doesn’t get the score they wanted, they can go back through these materials and make the most of their test-prep course.
1. Expensive List Price
If you compare Prep Expert to other top-rated SAT prep courses, you’ll realize that their classes are a bit more pricey than average. However, when you consider Prep Expert’s remarkable Score Improvement Guarantee and quality instructors, this really comes as no surprise, as you’re paying for a truly premium service.
Considering Prep Expert’s quality materials and staff, buyers are actually still paying less than they realize when it comes to calculated cost per hour. Their most expensive courses offer 60 hours of content for only $799, and when you do the math, that amounts to about $13 for every one hour of material. When compared to other quality test-prep courses like The Princeton Review, you can see how Prep Expert’s costs are a bit lower than they first seem:
2. Student Interface
Although Prep Expert’s websites are generally up-to-date and easy to use, there are certain parts of their user interface that could use some tweaking.
When a student logs on to Prep Expert, they access a student dashboard that has their homework assignments, practice tests, and lesson books. To access Prep Expert’s video lessons, students have to log into a different website from their dashboard. Lastly, in order for students to log in to their live class sessions, they have to download Adobe Connect, an entirely separate software. Jumping around between websites for different resources can make Prep Expert’s online system a little confusing, but students can still easily get used to the online workflow with time.
Another aspect of the interface that’s worth mentioning is the assignment-grading process. To complete Prep Expert homework or practice tests, students download a pdf of the assignment. However, they can also download the answer key to those assignments no matter whether they’ve completed their work or not. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it encourages student accountability. For students who don’t want their hand held, this is great! There is still the possibility, though, that students can look through their Prep Expert assignment answers without completing the work.
All of these qualities are really no more than minor inconveniences though, and Prep Expert’s websites and assignment submission process are generally easy to use and effective.
3. Intense Schedule
Prep Expert strives to give students life-changing scores on the SAT, and the amount and difficulty of the work that they give students really reflects that goal. As a result:
In the 6-week and 3-week courses, Prep Expert students have a lot of work to do within a very tight schedule.
Students in these courses will complete 10 total SATs over the duration of their course. 4 of those 10 SATs are split up into sections that are completed as homework assignments several times each week. The other 6 SATs are completed once a week as full, self-timed practice tests, including the essay portion. The SAT with essay lasts roughly 4 hours with the essay, which Prep Expert requires all students to practice regardless of whether they will complete it on test day.
For Prep Expert’s 6-week course, this means students will take well over 1 SAT each week.
In Prep Expert’s 3-week course, students will complete roughly 3 SATs each week. That’s around 12 hours per week of assignments, not including lessons or class sessions.
Although Prep Expert’s workload is heavy, it’s not like all that work comes without an equal payoff! This intensive practice, and the expert guidance that comes with it, has certainly been worth the effort for countless students.
It’s important to note that the 3-week course is Prep Expert’s most intense, as it fits their complete curriculum into the shortest time frame of any of their courses. For the 6-week course, the workload is the same, but students have double the amount of time to complete it.
If even that seems to be too much to fit into your busy schedule, there’s always Prep Expert’s Self-Paced Video Course, which offers the same assignments but allows students a full year to complete them. If you need all of Prep Expert’s practice assignments and lessons, but simply don’t have the time to commit to weekly deadlines, their Self-Paced course offers enough flexibility to fit into anyone’s scheduling needs.
Prep Expert lives up to their name, offering students enough quality materials, engaging lessons, flexible course packages and true test insight to turn any SAT test-taker into an SAT expert.
They offer their services at a cost/hour that is one of the most competitive in the industry, and as the top 1% of test-takers, their staff consists of the most qualified staffers you can find. With a solid score improvement guarantee and impressive results, students who use Prep Expert are all the more likely to receive SAT scores that are not only good, but life-changing.