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PrepScholar PSAT Review
Everything students should know about the PSAT course from PrepScholar
Founded by two perfect scorers on the SAT, PrepScholar offers a PSAT prep course that is based on identifying your weakest areas and developing a plan to master them. They even believe that their course will give you more results with less time invested than other PSAT prep courses. That sounds intriguing, but will PrepScholar’s strategy-based lessons and customized study plans be the right choice for your PSAT prep? This detailed review will answer that question, as well as provide some insight in regards to their study materials, content, and more.
Given this is a long, detailed review, above find a jump-to table of contents for easy navigation. Hopefully by the end, you’ll have a good idea of whether PrepScholar is the right choice to help you prepare for the PSAT.
PrepScholar PSAT Course Pricing
The PrepScholar course offers a rather exceptional duo of options at a very affordable price. The first and most popular option is their Complete PSAT Online Prep package.
With online video lessons covering all subjects on the PSAT, 7100+ practice questions with detailed answer explanations, and realistic practice exams, you get a lot of prep with this package.
My favorite part of this course was that it gave me a customized study plan, specifically designed around my own strengths and weaknesses, as initially determined by using the data from the 60-question diagnostic test taken at the onset of the course.
My study plan was constantly updated, providing more practice in areas where I needed more work, and less practice where my skillsets were stronger. This prevented me from going over material that I had a firm grasp on, so I could concentrate on areas where I needed improvement.
After you sign up, you’ll get a five-day (120-hour) trial period, which commences upon the submission of your initial diagnostic test. This is a nice feature, as it allows you to get your feet wet and discover if this prep course is a good option for you. If you do not request cancellation within the 120-hour period, the PrepScholar PSAT course will cost you right around $400.
If there’s any issue I have with this course offering, it would be that everything is pre-recorded and there is no live instruction or one-on-one tutoring available. My own learning experience is enhanced when I can go over questions and discuss issues with a teacher, but realize that is not the case for everyone. For me, I just would have liked a little personal attention.
With that said, the lack of interpersonal connection doesn’t take away from the excellent quality of the course content and materials in this solid prep option.
The second offering from PrepScholar is their Complete + Tutoring package, which is just that. It includes everything that the Complete PSAT Online prep package offers, plus 12 hours of one-on-one tutoring with a tutor who has scored in the 99th percentile on the exam and who has taught at one of the top colleges in the country.
With this package, you also have the option of converting one of your PSAT tutoring hours into an hour where you can obtain advice about college admissions and tips for increasing your odds of acceptance into the college of your choice. In my opinion, converting this one hour to an hour of college admission consultation is a priceless switch that definitely pays off.
As you know, increased offerings come with increased costs. This Complete + Tutoring package weighs in at just under $1,000. At more than double the cost of their most popular option, keep in mind that if you are a student like me, who performs better with the interaction with a teacher in real time, this added cost is well worth the investment.
Our Analysis Of The PrepScholar PSAT Study Materials
PrepScholar has grown to be a popular choice for standardized test prep in recent years, and for good reason. Their online-only platform and targeted reviews, combined with some smart technology makes them a very intriguing choice. But just how effective are their study materials?
Well after taking this course and doing a full review, I can say that overall, I was quite impressed with PrepScholar. The coursework is comprehensive and the quality of the lesson and practice questions is quite good. That said, I did have a couple of very minor complaints. Now let’s a take a detailed look at each individual component of this prep program.
Customized Study Plan
When you sign up, your first step will be to answer a series of diagnostic questions. Your answers will be applied to algorithms that determine your skill levels and build a study plan that is specifically catered to your needs.
If, for example, you’re very strong in math, you’ll get more difficult math questions, and if you’re weak in reading, the reading questions will start off easier. The program continuously updates as you go, with the difficulty of your prep work increasing as your performance improves. I never felt that awful sensation of being in over my head, and I believe it was because my study plan was tailored to my skills.
Many of the lessons are supplemented by videos to further illustrate the content and help you develop better strategies to tackle the concepts on the exam. The videos typically have a small photo of your instructor in the top right corner of the screen.
In many videos, the instructor is PrepScholar co-founder Allen Cheng. He discusses the problem while making notes on a digital whiteboard.
In terms of quality, the overall production value is very good. The lessons are presented in nice sized segments and the picture is sharp. If I had one complaint about the video lessons, it is that I’d just like to see more of the instructor (similar to the Kaplan PSAT lessons).
This isn’t a big deal though, just a personal preference. A little extra bonus with these well instructed videos is that you’ll also come away with some great test taking tips and strategies for problem solving.
7,000+ Practice Questions
The bulk of your prep involves practice questions and taking practice exams. The questions for these are drawn from a vast library of over 7,000 possible questions, which should provide more than enough practice to hone your skills.
I never felt that there was a lack of practice in this area, and with this vast quantity of practice material, I rarely came across a practice question or test that I had seen before
The program’s progress tracker is a great feature that allows you to continually have a feel for exactly where you are in terms of your progress. I found this tracker to be a real motivator.
I received weekly email reports detailing what I’d accomplished and which lessons I’d completed, as well as a time tracker with details about how much time I’d spent (or not spent) studying.
PSAT Practice Tests
Practice tests are the heart and soul of your studies, and the two provided by PrepScholar are very good. What I like about these practice tests is that they mimic the real PSAT, so I was able to become somewhat comfortable with the testing format ahead of taking the real exam.
My stress on test day was eased just a little, knowing what to expect on the exam. I think these practice exams are a huge benefit to this prep package.
Although the base program doesn’t include it, you can add one-on-one tutoring to your prep plan. This Complete + Tutoring package grants you a full 12 hours with a highly trained tutor. Together, you will develop a customized study plan geared towards your specific needs and circumstances.
Personally, I did not opt for the tutoring option, but with their video lessons and practice work being top notch, I feel quite confident that their tutors would be excellent as well. You can’t beat 1-on-1 tutoring when you need clarification or have questions, so I’m glad to see this as an option in their prep offerings.
The minimum recommended time to complete the course and take the exam is 40 hours. PrepScholar realizes that high school students have busy schedules, so they give you access to your entire course content for a 1-year period. For even the busiest of students, this should be sufficient time to prep and pass the PSAT.
PrepScholar 150-Point Guarantee
PrepScholar advertises that you are guaranteed to improve your score on the PSAT by at least 150 points. This guarantee is ironclad, and they offer that, if you don’t see this 150-point increase, they’ll give you your money back. In order to receive this guarantee, you’ll need to meet certain qualifications.
Among the requirements are the need for a preliminary score and the contingency that you must pass all lessons and practice tests. Be sure to check out the finer details if you want to know more. Chances are you won’t find yourself needing this guarantee, but it’s nice to know it’s there if you do.
Verdict: PrepScholar PSAT Course Review
If you are a student seeking a comprehensive PSAT prep program to help get you ready for test day, PrepScholar’s course will likely be a great choice. As one of the most comprehensive PSAT prep packages on the market today, it provides you with first rate instruction through detailed videos and a bevy of practice questions and exams.
My only quibble is that the base Complete prep package does not include any live instruction with a teacher. I would have liked even just an hour or two to help me along the way.
The Complete Prep + Tutoring does provide for that personalization though, so I’m glad to see it as an option offered by them.
Overall, if a student is diligent and takes advantage of all of the resources available through PrepScholar’s program, there’s no reason they shouldn’t ace the PSAT and maybe even score high enough to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship program.