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Varsity Tutors Review

An in-depth review of Varsity Tutors after using their online tutoring and prep class

By size and number of tutors employed, Varsity Tutors is by far the largest online tutoring service in the US. But there’s more to Varsity Tutors than just tutoring. Offering on-demand prep courses and live classes covering everything from AP Biology, to the MCAT, to the NCLEX, Varsity Tutors provides a range of prep options. In this detailed review, I break down how Varsity Tutors works, my experience with them, and whether I think they’re worth it over a traditional prep course or tutoring package.  

Varsity Tutors Review

Varsity Tutors

  • Private 1:1 Tutoring
  • Small Group Live Classes
  • Private 1:1 Tutoring
  • Small Group Live Classes
Our Score

9.3

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Pros
  • Very approachable and knowledgeable tutors
  • Affordable rates compared to other test prep companies
  • Live classes are capped at 9 students (smaller than other prep courses)
  • Customized homework assignments target weaknesses
  • Awesome digital platform consolidates all aspects (payment, assignments, messages)
Cons
  • Most popular tutors (like those that teach classes) book up fast
  • Live class prep options don't go as deep as some other prep companies
Varsity Tutors Review
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Varsity Tutors Review Outline

Given that this is a lengthy and detailed review, we’ve provided jump-to links above so you can quickly navigate this post.

Varsity Tutors: How It Works

I’ll start by saying this – Varsity Tutors is way more than just a tutoring service. When I first heard of them, I assumed (probably like most people) that they only offered tutoring. However, they actually have about a million study products to choose from. Literally everything from self-study books and courses, to live online classes, to 1:1 tutoring.

But in the context of test prep, I’d say they have two main offerings: live prep classes and tutoring (with the two sometimes bundled into one product). And this is for every exam. Whether you’re studying for the GMAT, SAT, or CPA exam, the product offerings all look nearly the same.

You can choose from a bunch of different options offering some mixture of live online classes, private tutoring, or both. And these all come in different formats. Some classes are 10 weeks long meeting once per week for an hour, while others are bootcamp-style and meet 5 days in one week for 4 hours each day. And of course you can purchase straight tutoring in just about any increment of time.

Varsity Tutors Review

For example, I personally used Varsity Tutors to study for the GRE and it’s a perfect example of what I mean. I could choose from a 5-week live prep class, 10-week live prep class, on-demand self-study type package, a monthly pay-as-you go package, and 1-on-1 direct tutoring. That’s a pretty common slate of offerings based on what I’ve seen.

I ended up taking the 5-week GRE prep class and bundling it with 4 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring. I share my thoughts on this class and tutoring below, but I feel like this was a pretty good example of what Varsity Tutors has to offer.

The classes meet over Zoom and are generally capped at 6-9 students per class (mine had 8). They meet at the same times each week (you choose your days/times upfront) and the sessions generally go for 1 to 4 hours (mine were 2 hours). There is a pretty big list of different classes to choose from (at least there was for GRE), so you should be able to find a package that fits your schedule.

From there, it’s a pretty typical online class experience, actually. You attend class, the instructor leads the lesson, you engage with your classmates, and then do the assigned homework after class. And around that main class structure, you get access to practice problems and some other resources, like short on-demand video lessons, a progress tracker, study schedule, and more.

Varsity Tutors Reviews

Then on the flip side, you’ve got the tutoring. If you’re looking at Varsity Tutors for prep classes, know that they will try to get you to upgrade and add a few tutoring sessions. After all, they are primarily a tutoring service, so what do you expect? 🤷

I did choose to add a few hours of 1-on-1 tutoring with my specific GRE class teacher, and it was great. But of course, you can choose any tutor you want. Varsity Tutors has hundreds of tutors and lists them out like a marketplace, where you can see their name, picture, and experience.

This will be how you choose one if you aren’t looking for a prep class and just want tutoring. You can scroll through their tutors, pick one, and then they have you fill out a short form (answering questions about when you plan to take your exam, how much help you need, etc.). It’s kind of annoying but only takes like 60 seconds.

Once you purchase a package and get matched up with your tutor, you’ll usually then spend a good portion of the first session getting acquainted, assessing your current strengths and weaknesses, discussing your goals, and more.

For me, this initial part was a little expedited since I was already in my tutor’s live class and she knew me, but it will generally be the same for you if you aren’t taking a class or using a tutor who isn’t your teacher, albeit slightly more in-depth.

From there though, the tutoring will proceed generally how you’d expect. You meet over Zoom, discuss progress from your customized homework assignments, and work through pain points. You’ll review practice problem sets, learn hacks for certain question types, and generally cover any area that you need to improve on.

Varsity Tutors worth it

That’s probably the biggest difference between the live prep classes and the tutoring. The live courses generally have a more structured flow to them, where you work through pre-existing lesson plans and all get the same homework.

The tutoring though is much more personalized and ad hoc. You cover the topics where you need help, and the sessions flow to what makes sense to help you make gains. In other words, it’s sort of one-size fits all approach vs total customization. In the end, that’s why I opted to add a few hours of tutoring into my live class bundle.

But that’s generally it in terms of how Varsity Tutors work. It’s a pretty simple process. Your live class or tutoring bundle meets via Zoom, and you do the work that gets assigned to you. Easy as that.

Varsity Tutors Cost

The Varsity Tutors pricing is a little all over the map, and totally depends on your exam and product. For example, there’s an LSAT package that combines 20 hours of live class time with 12 hours of 1:1 tutoring, which costs $2,000, and a NCLEX prep class that provides 16 hours of live class time for $200. It just varies widely.

As an example, here’s the menu of options I had to choose from for my GRE prep:

  • GRE On-Demand Course – $149
  • GRE 5-Week Prep Class – $599
  • GRE 10-Week Prep Class – $599
  • GRE 5-Week Class, Tutoring & On-Demand Bundle – $849
  • GRE Serious Study Plan (Monthly) – $99/mo
  • GRE Success Plan (Monthly) – $299/mo

I would say that’s pretty typical of most of the major exams (SAT, ACT, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, etc.). They almost all have a similar menu of study choices.

Then for the tutoring, it ranges as well, depending largely on which exam you’re studying for, how many hours you purchase in a bundle, and of course, your specific tutor. On average though, Varsity Tutors charges students somewhere between $60 and $95 per hour.

You can sometimes catch discounts and special deals, especially when you bundle tutoring with a class, but that is the general range you can expect to pay.

My Thoughts On Varsity Tutors

Honestly, I had a great experience overall with Varsity Tutors. Again, I took the 5-week GRE prep class and added in 4 hours of tutoring.

The class itself was great. We had 8 students in the class, which felt like was the perfect amount. I kind of got to know everyone over the course of the 5 weeks, which made it much less intimidating to share and speak up. Plus, I felt like I got to engage more frequently and received more personalized attention during class.

And the classes themselves were awesome. The lesson plans were really in-depth and covered all the essential concepts, as well as key test taking strategies that I thought really worked.

If I had one complaint with the classes, it was that sometimes the material was pretty basic and we’d spend a good chunk of time reviewing stuff I already knew (like geometry, that’s my jam).

Varsity Tutors legit

But the problem of course is that others needed the refresher and I’d be twiddling my thumbs for 30 minutes while we broke down stuff I had already mastered. So that’s the only downfall – not all time is used efficiently when you take a one-size fits all approach like that.

But that only happened during a couple class sessions and, otherwise, the classes were great. They were fantastic for getting a detailed recap of all the content I needed for the GRE and the test taking strategies we learned were genuinely useful. You could put them into action and they actually worked.

And of course my instructor was great. So much so, in fact, that I ended up requesting her for my 4 hours of tutoring. She was crazy knowledgeable, a great communicator, and perceptive about picking up when I was still struggling with something but too proud to admit it. She was a genuinely good teacher.

Obviously I can’t speak to the other GRE tutors, or tutors for different exams, but if they were at all like my tutor, you’d be in good hands. I was very happy with her. And of course, if I wasn’t happy, Varsity Tutors sounds like they’d be quick to re-match you with someone who would be a better fit.

Verdict: Varsity Tutors Reviews

Overall, I had a really positive experience with Varsity Tutors for my GRE prep. The live prep class I took was great. The classes offered a nice structured form of content review and test taking strategies, and I liked the custom homework assignments between sessions.

And the tutoring sessions I had were just as good. I chose my class instructor as my tutor and she was simply awesome – a great communicator, tons and tons of knowledge about content and strategy, and a genuinely fun person to interact with. Bottom line, I found Varsity Tutors’ pricing to be reasonable and the service solid all-around.

Varsity Tutors LSAT Review

In terms of LSAT prep, Varsity Tutors offers a comprehensive slate of study options. You can choose from small group live classes that last 5 to 10 weeks, private LSAT tutoring, or mixed bundles with both. The cheapest option for prep classes is the LSAT 5-Week Prep Class, which costs $799 (breaks down to $40/hour).

Compared to other LSAT classes on the market, that’s a pretty fair price. Kaplan and Princeton Review charge the same amount for just their self-paced courses, which don’t even include the all-important live classes. Their live class options start at over $1,000.

Not to mention, LSAT tutors generally charge north of $100/hour, so Varsity Tutors’ sub-$100 tutoring rates for the LSAT are more than reasonable.

Varsity Tutors MCAT Review

When it comes to MCAT prep, Varsity Tutors has just three options to choose from. I say “just” three because for most other exams there are 5+ choices.

The three main MCAT offerings are the MCAT 5-Week Prep Class, the MCAT 10-Week Prep Class, and private MCAT tutoring. The two classes cost $599 (or $40/hour based on their 20 hours of live sessions), while the tutoring costs anywhere from $70/hour up close to $100/hour.

To put that in perspective for prep courses, most other MCAT prep courses cost at least $1,500 or more. Kaplan, Blueprint, Altius, Jack Westin and all the major players charge much more than $599.

That said, you will need to purchase the AAMC materials with the MCAT prep class from Varsity Tutors, which does cost about $300 on its own, but that’s still far more reasonable than $2,000+ for a full course.

And the private tutoring is also a deal. The MCAT is one of the most difficult and complex entrance exams in the world, and finding a good tutor is hard. As a result, MCAT tutors generally charge a premium over other types of tutors. Thus, Varsity Tutors’ rates are highly competitive.

Varsity Tutors GRE Review

As mentioned earlier in this review, I took the GRE prep class and private tutoring package from Varsity Tutors, and was very happy with it. Honestly, one of the hardest things getting going was just choosing which package to go with. For GRE prep, Varsity Tutors provides a ton of options to choose from. These include:

  • GRE On-Demand Course – $149
  • GRE 5-Week Prep Class – $599
  • GRE 10-Week Prep Class – $599
  • GRE 5-Week Class, Tutoring & On-Demand Bundle – $849
  • GRE Serious Study Plan (Monthly) – $99/mo
  • GRE Success Plan (Monthly) – $299/mo

These prices are right in line with competitors. Magoosh, Princeton Review and Kaplan all charge around the same for their GRE course with live classes. So in terms of cost, Varsity Tutors isn’t a particular deal; though again, I found their prep package to be really good.

I loved my GRE live classes, and my tutoring sessions (with my class instructor) were simply awesome. And the prices weren’t outrageous. When bundled with my prep class, I got my GRE tutoring sessions for just $60/hour on sale. So from a value perspective, I think Varsity Tutors is a strong choice.

Varsity Tutors GMAT Review

For GMAT prep, Varsity Tutors provides a ton of different study options. You can choose between small group live classes (5 or 10 weeks), live class + tutoring bundles, a bootcamp, or private GMAT tutoring.

The standard GMAT prep class costs $599, placing them on the more affordable end of GMAT prep. GMAT courses for companies like Princeton Review, Manhattan Prep and others typically cost over $1,000. To be fair, those packages are a little more robust than Varsity Tutors’ GMAT class, but still, that’s a hard price point to argue with.

Tutoring for the GMAT will run you close to $90/hour with Varsity Tutors, but you can get that price down by bundling it with their live course. If you plan to take a prep course anyway, you might as well think about combining your course and tutoring them from the same company (rather than say using Manhattan Prep for the course and supplementing with Varsity Tutors’ tutoring services).

You could always do like I did for the GRE and use your class instructor from your GMAT class as your tutor. I highly recommend doing this so that your tutor is synced up on your progress.

Varsity Tutors SAT Prep Review

There are about a million SAT tutors in the US. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it sort of feels like it. In fact, most of them are high school teachers who do it in their free time as a side hustle. So how do you pick an SAT tutor with so many around?

Fortunately, Varsity Tutors makes it somewhat easy through their marketplace-style approach. You can browse through hundreds of tutors’ profiles and pick one that seems like a good fit for you (or your son or daughter).

In terms of cost, I’ve seen Varsity Tutors charge around $55 to $75 per hour for their SAT tutoring. That’s sort of in the middle of the spectrum to the higher end. I’ve seen some services that only charge $25-$35/hour, but I’ve also seen elite tutors charge well over $100/hour.

But the nice thing with Varsity Tutors is that they make the process pretty seamless. Everything is handled through the digital platform. You pay for your sessions, pick your tutor, get your homework, review your progress, and communicate all in their platform.

This is much preferable to the hodge podge approach I’ve seen other SAT tutoring services use with email downloads and Skype calls. And all of the Varsity Tutors’ SAT tutors are vetted for experience and education requirements.

Or if you aren’t necessarily looking for 1-on-1 SAT tutoring, Varsity Tutors does have live SAT classes. You can take small group live classes (4 or 8 weeks), live class + tutoring bundles, a bootcamp-style course that runs for just a week, or a combo ACT + SAT course.

With a price tag of $500 for their standard SAT prep class, Varsity Tutors’ SAT class prices are on equal footing with other major prep providers like Kaplan and Princeton Review.

Varsity Tutors ACT Prep Review

Much like the SAT, Varsity Tutors offers a slate of extremely comprehensive ACT tutoring options. You can choose from literally hundreds of tutors on their site, all of which have been vetted for ACT exam knowledge and success as a tutor.

The Varsity Tutors rates range from $55 to $75/hour for ACT tutoring, which is a little higher than the industry average. Though I would just note that you do get more with Varsity Tutors than you do with most independent tutors in terms of features.

True, you can find ACT tutors off Craigslist or by referral from your high school counselor for cheaper, but the issue with these services is that the curriculum is often ad hoc. You’ll get emails with random downloads, lessons don’t necessarily jive with one another, and the tutor is usually playing catch up.

Varsity Tutors is a little different because their digital platform brings everything into one clean framework. You can review your progress, see assignments, and chat with your tutor all through the platform.

Thus, while the cost is a little more than other ACT tutoring options, you do get a little more as well. Plus, Varsity Tutors even offers live ACT classes. You can take small group live classes (4 or 8 weeks), live class + tutoring bundles, a bootcamp, or a dual ACT + SAT course.

At around $500 for their standard ACT prep class, I’d say their ACT class prices are right in line with other major prep providers like Magoosh and PrepScholar.

Varsity Tutors NCLEX Review

If you’re studying for the NCLEX, Varsity Tutors offers a few different prep options. You can choose from their NCLEX crash course, full NCLEX prep class, private NCLEX tutoring, or even bundles with a combo of both class and tutoring.

The classes all cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200, while the bundle packages (with 4 hours of tutoring included) cost about $400. Or in other words, when bundled together, NCLEX tutoring costs about $50 per one hour session.

Compared to other NCLEX tutoring services we’ve reviewed, $50 is very reasonable. Of course, if you don’t bundle and just buy straight tutoring hours from Varsity Tutors, that price will increase a little bit, but not outrageously. Compared to companies like Hurst, Varsity Tutors seems to offer a strong value.

And as for the live NCLEX classes themselves, they are very comprehensive. They offer (obviously) live class time with an instructor, practice work and materials, and lecture handouts. For $200, that’s more than a fair price, and when coupled with a few hours of 1:1 tutoring, it still makes for a very reasonably priced NCLEX prep package.

FAQ

What is Varsity Tutors?

Varsity tutors is an online tutoring service covering a range of exams and topics, including high school math, AP Biology, SAT prep, and the CPA exam, among many others. Moreover, Varsity Tutors also offers live prep classes and courses in small groups.

How much does Varsity Tutors cost?

Varsity Tutors pricing depends largely on what exam or topic you’re studying for, as well as which product you’re considering. The Varsity Tutors tutoring services range in price from $60 to $95 per hour. The prep classes range from as low as $99 in some cases up to $2,000+.

Is Varsity Tutors legit?

I personally had a great experience with Varsity Tutors and found their service to be completely legit. The GRE prep class I took was solid, and the private tutoring sessions I added in were simply awesome. I had no issues with the purchase process or communication whatsoever.

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