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Kaplan vs Princeton Review LSAT
Our side-by-side comparison of the Kaplan and Princeton Review LSAT prep courses
Choosing between LSAT prep courses can be difficult – especially when the two courses you’re considering are as similar as Kaplan and Princeton Review. Both companies have been around for decades, give you stacks of tried and tested study material, and have nearly identical price points. So how do you decide? We help you make an informed decision in this detailed review comparison.
Kaplan provides four course options for its LSAT prep:
Tutoring + Online Course
All four course options track the same core curriculum designed by Kaplan’s experts; it is just the format of the course that generally changes. For those students that prefer to learn at their own pace and at various times, the self-paced DIY Course will likely be best. For other students who need structure or the benefit of watching an instructor teach a course live, one of the other three formats will likely be more fitting.
In terms of price, the Kaplan DIY Course is in the ballpark of $800, while the Online Course runs for around $1,300 and the Online Course + Tutoring will cost nearly $2,400. And the Bootcamp option costs an eye-watering $4,000. On average, these price points are more expensive than you’ll find with Princeton Review.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Quality and Quantity of Kaplan Study Materials
Kaplan piles on the study materials with its LSAT course. Combined, Kaplan provides over 200 hours of video lessons (including its LSAT Channel videos), 80+ practice tests and thousands of practice problems. And that doesn’t even include the drills, explanations and material in the prep books. There is no doubt the quantity is top notch.
The quality of its coursework also rates out very high. The lessons are detailed and provide actionable strategies for attacking problems. The lessons work methodically though LSAT sections in a logical fashion, oscillating between topics so not to become too dry.
All of the various problem types and concepts are covered throughout the coursework. That said, while the instructors are extremely knowledgeable, they weren’t the most enthusiastic or engaging bunch we have seen throughout our course reviews. In addition, the onscreen digital whiteboard could be become cluttered at times, making it hard to follow the lesson. Otherwise though, the quality and quantity of the coursework for the Kaplan LSAT course is rock solid.
The Kaplan LSAT Books and Classroom Component
Kaplan’s flagship in-person course provides roughly 32 hours of core instruction. While negligible, that is 2 more hours than Princeton Review’s comparable in-person class. The Kaplan instructors are knowledgeable and do a great job of breaking down complex subject matter. While it was our experience that they weren’t the most enthusiastic or fun people we’ve ever learned from, they were nonetheless effective.
To follow the course lessons, Kaplan provides each student with a set of hardcopy prep books. The books track with the lessons, and provide strategies, practice problems, and drills. We found these books to be thorough and very helpful overall in working through the core lessons. Unsurprisingly, Princeton Review follows a similar structure.
The Princeton Review course options, while similar to Kaplan’s, do take a slightly different approach. Princeton Review offers 3 basic course options:
The Self-Paced course is priced right around $800, which is on par with Kaplan’s analogous DIY Course. So for students seeking a flexible self-study program, this will make the decision a little tough.
The Fundamentals class prices in around $1,100, while the LSAT 165+ course, which is a more robust prep option designed for students targeting a very high score, costs around $1,400. It is worth noting that Princeton Review also offers a Private Tutoring Program starting at around $1,800.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Princeton Review Lessons and Coursework
Similar to the Kaplan LSAT course options, Princeton Review offers some high-end coursework for its LSAT students. The Princeton flagship in-person class (the Fundamentals course) offers 30 hours of in-class lessons with an LSAT expert, which is supplemented by over 150 hours of additional video lessons and online content.
We found the Princeton Review lessons, both in person and on demand, to be highly effective. The lessons were thoughtfully designed and provide incredible levels of detail. And while we found that the lessons were effective, at least with respect to the videos, the lack of onscreen instructor was a little bit of a letdown. Without a face to connect a voce to, the lessons felt a little cold and as a result, unengaging at times.
Princeton Review’s coursework around the lessons was also top tier. While you don’t get quite the same level of study material with Princeton Review as you get with Kaplan, there is plenty to go around. Between the assigned homework, practice problem sets, drills, prep book material and explanations, I never ran out of material to work on. Both Princeton Review and Kaplan each boast 8,000+ practice problems taken from real, past LSATs.
The Princeton Review dashboard and user experience is, well, a little Plain Jane. While other test prep companies have snappy and modern interfaces, Princeton Review’s is not – but that’s to say it’s bad. For most everyone, the Princeton Review dashboard and user experience will get the job done – it’s simple, clean and effective, though a little outdated.
Princeton Review LSAT Books
What Princeton Review lacks in user experience, it makes up for in its prep books. The Princeton Review LSAT books that accompany its course are super high quality. They provide detailed explanations of concepts and strategies, well placed practice problems that exemplify points being made, and an abundance of prep material to help reinforce what you’ve learned. We found their books to be an awesome complement to the lessons, and on the whole, slightly better than Kaplan’s books.
Kaplan and Princeton Review offer VERY similar LSAT prep courses, and we hope this comparison has been helpful. If you’re still unsure of which one to go with after reading, here is a final review of some of the main deciding factors:
Study Materials – This is a VERY close call, as both Kaplan and Princeton Review provide excellent – and very similar – lessons and coursework. Between the video content, problem explanations, drills and everything in between, there is not a huge difference between what you’re getting with both of these courses. All in all, we’d give the edge to Kaplan for quantity and Princeton Review for quality – but not by much.
Price – If you’re taking a self-paced, on demand course, this is a tie. Both companies come in at about the same price point and make it a hard call for preppers. As for the other offerings, Princeton Review offers lower prices and slightly better value.
Books – Edge: Princeton Review. We found the Princeton Review prep books to be a hair better than the Kaplan books. Though similar in quality and length, we just found the writing style and layout of the books more effective.
Practice Tests – Both companies have access to all past official LSATs through the LSAC LSAT Prep Plus program that every student must purchase.
User Experience and Interface – Edge: Kaplan. While not the best we have seen, Kaplan’s user experience and interface are a notch above the Princeton Review dashboard and experience. Easily navigable and intuitively designed, it is clean, professional and well structured.
Classroom Component – The quality of classroom experience between the two courses was comparable. Each met in a non-descript off-campus classroom and was led by an instructor that was clearly a master of their craft. And both instructors that I had were personable and strong communicators. The crux of the decision may come down to what type of score you’re looking to get. If you’re shooting to get into a top tier school and a need a high-level score, we’d give the edge to Princeton Review’s LSAT 165 course based on the additional classroom time you get with it.
Extra Resources – Both courses were a little thin on the extra resources. While other test prep companies provide some nice bonus resources, neither Kaplan nor Princeton Review go that extra mile. They stick to the tried and true material, and it works.
Online Content Access Period – With Kaplan coming in at 4 months for online access and Princeton Review at 120 days, this one is a dead tie (well, just about).
Refund Policy and Score Guarantees – Princeton Review and Kaplan both have higher score money back guarantees. The terms are a little different for each and somewhat technical, but at the end of the day, if your LSAT score doesn’t increase with the course, you’ll get your money back (assuming you follow the steps in their fine print). Also, each company does have a refund policy. If you change your mind about the course or if it isn’t for you, Princeton Review generally gives you 7 days to get your money back and Kaplan 3 days (subject to their conditions, which you should check out).
Which LSAT prep course costs more – Kaplan or Princeton Review?
Both companies offer comparable pricing for their prep courses. The self-paced options are about the same at around $800 all in, while Princeton Review offers slightly better prices on their live courses.
Do Kaplan and Princeton Review LSAT courses each come with hardcopy books?
Yes, both companies’ prep courses come with a set of their signature hardcopy lesson books.
Which company has better instructors, Kaplan or Princeton Review?
Both Kaplan and Princeton Review each employ top notch instructors. While it is not clear if their instructors must score in a certain percentile to teach at each company, it is clear from our experience that they are LSAT experts and great communicators.