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Princeton Review LSAT Prep Review
An in-depth review of the Princeton Review LSAT prep course and accompanying books
Test prep heavyweight Princeton Review has been helping future law students prep for the LSAT for decades and is about the biggest game in town – but does that mean it is the right prep course for you? In this review, we take a close look at the Princeton Review LSAT prep course lessons, coursework and structure, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this storied prep course.
Quality of Princeton’s Coursework and Study Material
Princeton Review boasts an impressive 150+ hours of video lessons throughout its online coursework. When following the course syllabus (the company’s recommended structure), the videos appear intermittently throughout the content, breaking up written lessons, practice problems and drills.
The video lessons offer test taking strategies and explanations of concepts and problem types, which I personally found to be insightful and clearly articulated. Generally, there is no actual person on camera providing a lesson, but rather a digital whiteboard illustrating problem solving strategies and other concepts with a voiceover.
If you prefer watching someone actually work through a problem on a whiteboard while explaining their methodology (as I do), then this may not be the video style for you. That said, I found the Princeton Review video lessons to be effective and well-designed. The graphics and dynamic “whiteboard” with the instructors’ voiceover are quite sharp, and have an effective way of conveying the message. Overall, I was pretty impressed with the video quality and lesson material, and found that despite not having an instructor to watch, kept me engaged.
The rest of the coursework is comprised of written instruction, dissecting the various types of problems and explanations of how to solve them, general test taking strategies, drills, and practice problems. I found the material to be very comprehensive and detail oriented, and in fact, almost too detailed at times.
Princeton Review isn’t afraid to get into the weeds explaining the finer details of individual problem types and goes to great lengths to cover every single type of problem that may appear. It almost felt like they don’t want to be called out for missing a single detail, so they went overboard on the finer points. I think most students that are targeting a high LSAT score (which requires mastering just about very concept) will appreciate this, but might melt others’ minds if they are targeting a score more around the mean.
Between the digital content and hard copy prep books, Princeton Review delivers over 1,800 pages of detailed and relevant study material. All in all, the quality of the coursework is rock solid, and Princeton Review gives you the necessary tools to fully prepare for the array of problem types you’ll encounter on the LSAT. I was generally impressed with the quality and structure of the Princeton Review coursework and study materials, and put Princeton Review right up there with test prep mammoth Kaplan in terms of quality coursework.
Pricing and Course Options
The Princeton Review LSAT prep course options range in price from approximately $800 up to $1,800, depending on course type and whether tutoring is purchased.
While definitely not the budget prep option in the LSAT category, the Princeton Review price point is right in line with rivalsManhattan Prep and LSATMax. Though it may seem a little steep, this is the going rate for a top tier, full scale LSAT course. If budget is a major concern for you, however, you may want to take a look at Alpha Score or Magoosh, which offer good value courses.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Princeton Review LSAT Practice Tests
One of the first questions students ask when assessing which LSAT prep course is best, is how many practice tests the course offers. The Princeton Review LSAT prep course requires 6 full-length, diagnostic practice exams as part of its course curriculum. In addition to these 6 diagnostic exams, students are also given access to 70+ other full-length practice exams from past LSATs.
This access is delivered through LSAC’s Official LSAT Prep Plus program, which is a subscription package that allows you access to a library of previously administered official LSATs. To get this access, Princeton Review tags on an additional $99 in its purchase price (already included in pricing above). If you’ve already purchased access to LSAC’s Official LSAT Prep Plus program prior to enrolling at Princeton Review, don’t worry, Princeton Review will deduct $99 from your price – though access to this program is required one way or another.
But don’t get bent out of shape over the added cost of having to buy LSAC’s practice tests – in terms of practice test quality, there’s obviously no better option then taking official LSATs from the actual test administrators. And the price of access is built right in, so at least for me, it doesn’t have the same psychological sting. Most importantly, the practice exams you get with Princeton Review are the real deal, from the minds of the test makers, so you can rest assured you’re getting top tier quality practice tests.
How are the Problem Explanations?
There is no lack of practice problem explanations in the Princeton Review LSAT prep course. That’s for sure. There are literally thousands of them, each explaining why the correct answer for a given problem is correct, and why the incorrect answers are, well, incorrect.
The practice problem explanations are housed in easy to find PDFs from the dashboard. They are broken out by prep course book and by LSAC practice test. For practice problems contained in the prep course textbooks, you can drill down by book, unit and section to find the relevant practice problem you’re looking for. If the answer explanations you’re looking for come from problems on one of the LSAC PrepTests, there is a similar section that allows you to drill down to the problem at hand by test number.
I found the answer explanations to be very detailed and helpful. They are not just short, blanket explanations stating the reason why a particular answer is correct, but rather explain why the selected answer is correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect, all while wrapping in concepts that have previously been covered in the coursework. I thought these explanations added real value.
Princeton Review LSAT Prep Books
The Princeton Review LSAT prep books that accompany their prep course are similar to their online content – that is, they are detailed, thoughtfully written, and honestly, almost too thorough. There are 5 hard copy books included:
LSAT 101 Core Concepts
LSAT 201 Patterns and Pacing
LSAT 301 Master the Approach
LSAT 401 Raising the Bar
LSAT Diagnostic Exams
The books track with and supplement the online lessons and materials, and together, make for an extremely comprehensive review course. The books provide well-designed drills, practice problems and lessons. They are detailed, analytical and very thorough, and you definitely feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.
While the books alone would not likely be sufficient to help you achieve the score you want, they do provide the necessary material in combination with the online content and in-class material to get you there.
What’s the Dashboard Like?
The Princeton Review online dashboard is nothing to write home about. It’s incredibly basic and lacks any bells and whistles. That said, it does everything you need it to do – it provides easy and direct access to your coursework, practice tests, practice problem explanations and more.
If you’re looking for a cutting-edge dashboard with clean, modern design, and a mobile first approach (see LSATMax) this is not for you. But if you just want the meat and potatoes dashboard, which I personally prefer, it is perfectly serviceable.
The User Experience and Interface
Like the dashboard interface, the user experience is no frills, but effective. The sections of the course, including practice tests, coursework and resources, are easily navigable and intuitively designed. The coursework lessons are taught in modules in the form of popup windows on the page. You click a lesson, it pops up in an on-page window, and you work your way through the interactive lesson, clicking buttons, rearranging lists and hovering over explanations.
The coursework content is divided into two views, making it easier for the student to digest the study material based on their learning style:
The subject type view breaks the coursework out into groups based generally on the sections of the LSAT. The four sections of this view are Games, Arguments, Reading Comprehension, and Global Strategies. This makes it really easy for the user to focus in on subject types that they need to practice. For example, if you’re struggling with grouping logic games, you can easily drill down to and work through that section from this view.
The alternative syllabus view takes you through Princeton Review’s course in an ordered structure. This structure generally starts with foundational principles and builds on them throughout the lessons. So, assuming you’re studying the LSAT for the first time, I’d suggest following this filtered view of the content. There are 24 units of coursework and the online, interactive syllabus structure generally tracks with the books. No matter which view you choose though, the coursework is ultimately the same.
My personal opinion is the split content views are a nice feature, but not that special. Most students will likely end up picking one view like I did (the syllabus view) and following that. But all in all, it’s a pretty nice and easy-to-use experience. Again, it’s not the most modern or cutting-edge user experience I’ve seen in reviewing courses, but it’s serviceable.
Resources Section of Online Content
The resources section of the Princeton Review LSAT prep course online content is a little thin. It contains only the course syllabus, the problem explanations and book corrections.
It strikes me as odd that the practice problem explanations are listed as a resource, as they are such a critical element of the overall learning process and course plan. I’d like to see them have their own section, or even be incorporated right into the material, but at the end of the day, the content is there all the same, just lodged in the resource section – not a big deal, but worth noting.
It would be nice to see some additional resources here as well, such as more general test taking tips and strategies, but overall the resource section is sufficient.
Princeton Review LSAT Classes
Each Princeton Review LSAT prep course option, apart from the budget self-paced course, comes with classroom instruction led by an LSAT expert. The Fundamentals course offers 30 hours of in-classroom, instructor-led lessons, while the LSAT 165+ Guaranteed course boasts 84 hours of in-person instruction.
The Princeton Review instructors are all experts in their field, with most having scored in the 98th percentile or better on the exam. These are folks that know this exam inside and out and have mastered communicating the techniques necessary to ace it.
Each instructor will be different and have their own strengths and weaknesses (and quirks), but I found my Princeton Review instructor to be extremely knowledgeable and a strong communicator. She definitely seemed to care about each student’s success and hitting their target score.
The in-classroom coursework is generally the same as you would receive through the books and online content, however, it offers you the chance to
break free of your comfort zone at home learning by yourself,
hear the material from a slightly different perspective (and with side notes from a test guru), and
blocks off dedicated time to commit to learning.
I personally found the in-classroom experience to be beneficial.
In addition to the in-classroom prep, the Princeton Review course options also offer access to your instructor by phone and email to ask questions about difficult problems or challenging concepts. I tested this instructor access and found that Princeton Review was true to their word – my LSAT instructor responded within 6 hours to my query. Not bad considering this wasn’t her day job and likely also had numerous other students asking questions. Just don’t go abusing this feature and you should get some benefit from it.
The in-classroom component also offers the opportunity of 4 live, proctored exams, simulating the real test day experience. There is no better way to prep for the actual exam than sitting through a proctored practice test, and I found this experience highly useful. The online version of the course offers self-proctored practice tests through partner LSAC’s LSAT Prep Plus, but I found the in-person practice exams more helpful.
While the test prep course we purchased did not come with private tutoring, the top tier package from Princeton Review that comes with 1-on-1 personalized tutoring sessions includes dedicated time with the same folks that teach the in-person course. I strongly suspect you would get the same level of responsiveness and knowledge that I experienced through the in-person class, but on an individualized level.
If you’re the type of student that needs a little 1-on-1 time to fine tune your skills or get that extra couple points on your score, the tutoring option is likely right for you. In addition, the Princeton Review personalized tutoring option is a (relative) value, starting at roughly $1,800, while rival Kaplan’s private tutoring course options start at approximately $2,400.
How Long Can You Access the Online Content?
Online course content is accessible for 120 days after purchase, which for most students should be plenty of time to get their prep completed before sitting for the exam.
Is there a Mobile App?
At this time there is not a mobile app for the Princeton Review LSAT course; however, the course can be easily accessed by logging in from your mobile phone or other mobile device.
Is there a Money Back Guarantee?
Princeton Review does have a money back guarantee. Now, there are two options to consider regarding the Princeton Review guarantee. The first gives you the option to retake the course within 90 days of completion if you are not 100% satisfied. The second is a guarantee in the event your score does not improve, provided that the following eligibility criteria is met:
The program in which you are enrolled must have been paid for by you, and not a government entity, business, school, etc.
For classes and tutoring packages, you must attend all of your classes/tutoring sessions, complete all homework and take all required practice tests.
For the Self-Paced program, the completion of all four practice tests is required.
Is the Course Price Refundable?
Within 7 days, the course price is refundable. Shipping costs are nonrefundable, and the costs of shipping for the return of any materials is at your expense. The $99 subscription fee for LSAC Official LSAT Prep Plus is also nonrefundable if the subscription is activated.
Verdict: Princeton Review LSAT Prep Course
The long and the short of it is that you can’t go wrong with Princeton Review LSAT prep. They offer an abundance of excellent content across both hard copy books and their digital platform, including lessons, drills, practice problems and explanations, and full-length practice tests. Although I found their online dashboard and user experience to be a little basic and outdated, it’s my opinion that their instructors, both in-person and online, are very knowledgeable and their coursework effective. Throw in the score guarantee, 7-day refund policy, and you’ve got a solid all-around package for the price. If you’re looking for a traditional prep course from an industry leader with a demonstrated track record of success, this course is likely right for you.
How much does the Princeton Review LSAT course cost?
The Princeton Review LSAT prep course costs between $800 and $1,800 depending on whether you want in-classroom instruction and/or tutoring.
Does Princeton Review use official past LSATs for practice tests?
Yes. The Princeton Review LSAT prep course includes a subscription to LSAC’s LSAT Prep Plus, which gives you access to all past LSATs.
Does Princeton Review have a score increase guarantee?
Yes. Princeton Review guarantees that your score will increase or you get your money back.