Princeton Review vs Kaplan: What’s the Difference?

Use our Princeton Review vs Kaplan guide to decide how to best prepare for your upcoming exams.

Essay writing skills can take years to learn and a lifetime to master. But, sometimes, you must go on a skill-building speed run. I learned that the hard way while applying to all my dream colleges. The seemingly endless demands for essays forced me to build my writing skills fast – or risk getting denial after denial. Fortunately, I could lean on test prep companies for help, resulting in plenty of acceptance letters.

If you want to go on a similar journey, it’s time to use this Princeton Review vs. Kaplan guide to see which test prep company will serve you best. Here’s what you need to know.

The Benefits of Using Online Tests for Exam Preparation

1. Builds Your Essay Writing Skills

Each test prep company offers helpful courses, practice tests, and private tutoring designed to build your skill set. Your ability to handcraft compelling essays will improve as you entirely use all their services. 

As an essay writer, you can expect to learn how to:

  • Brainstorm topic ideas by exploring the subject in great detail using key research
  • Fully analyze the big question that you’re trying to answer with your essay
  • Use facts and stats from credible sources to find your ideal answer to the question
  • Create a well-supported argument by using research data and other reputable facts
  • Organize your essay to present your argument while keeping the reader engaged
  • Write in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand manner while keeping a good pace

By choosing the best test prep and tutoring providers, you’ll gain the ability to write up great college admissions essays, writing assignments, and research papers.

2. Prepares You for High Grades and Success

Completing test prep courses, reading prep books, and attempting practice tests can help you achieve high scores on all the leading tests. In addition, they usually offer a high score guarantee – or you’ll either get your money back or a chance to retake the course.

Tests you might want to take include:

  • SAT
  • PSAT
  • GRE
  • MCAT

Higher scores help improve your chances of getting admitted to your desired school and program. You can then build even more essay skills in college while earning a degree that will help elevate your career. All you have to do is decide on your ideal path toward an essay writing career. Then, get started with the Princeton Review or Kaplan’s prep options.

A Look at Princeton Review

Princeton Review
Princeton Review courses help more than 1.6 million students learn new skills, raise their grades, and get into top-choice schools each year

For over 40 years, The Princeton Review has served as the gold standard for test prep companies. They’re well-known for their best-in-class test prep courses and materials, including study guides and full-length practice tests. Their tutoring services are also second-to-none, giving essay writers like yourself plenty of support on your educational journey. Princeton Review courses help more than 1.6 million students learn new skills, raise their grades, and get into top-choice schools each year. They accomplish that goal using expert instructors, cutting-edge technology, tough practice exams, and quality content to teach each lesson.

Test Prep

The Princeton Review offers test prep courses starting at the 6th-grade level and continuing well past graduate school. Their test prep offerings include the SAT, PSAT, ACT, GRE, and MCAT. For each test, there are multiple service levels available to best suit your educational needs.

For example, if you want to take the GRE before applying to graduate school, their course options include:

  • Fundaments: An essential online or in-person course designed to introduce you to GRE testing content and procedures
  • GRE 162+: Interactive online classes guaranteed to help you earn a 162+ point score on the GRE Quant & Verbal tests
  • GRE 165+ Tutoring: An online and in-person course guaranteed to help you get a 165+ point score on the GRE
  • GRE 10 Points+: A well-designed live online course guaranteed to increase your score by 10 points

In addition, they have a Self-Paced service level where you study online at your own pace anywhere and at any time. You must log on to their online system to view video lessons, take full-length practice tests, and use the prep materials.

Study Guides

The Princeton Review study guides might serve you well if you prefer to study independently. Available as test prep book sets, these guides cover all the info on each type of test. They have more than 150 books about test prep and admissions counselling. Over the years, they’ve sold over 35 million copies of their books, making them a popular choice for essayists and many other professionals. 


Learning how to prepare for your upcoming tests and handcraft a winning essay is easy with The Princeton Review tutors by your side. Their full-service private tutoring program allows you to get the personalized support you need to overcome all your barriers to success. Today, their prep courses and study materials cover all the most important tests you’ll take, like SAT, PSAT, ACT, GRE, and MCAT. You can enroll in tutoring as a part of your selected test prep program or create a custom private tutoring plan. Custom tutoring makes the most sense if you want to build essay writing skills. Otherwise, focus on passing the tests needed to get into your undergraduate or graduate school program of choice.

With either study plan option, you can view more than 140 videos designed to help you tackle the most difficult concepts. Your tutoring program will also provide access to over 240 drills filled with over 2,000 practice questions. You will also get complete score reports to gauge where you’re at and where to focus your efforts. In addition to all their test prep and tutoring services, The Academy by The Princeton Review features a top-notch grammar course. This course teaches you how to master the English language for all your essay writing needs.

Complete Overview of Kaplan

Stanley Kaplan created the company to encourage students to go beyond simply studying to preparing for each exam

Kaplan has been proudly helping students with test prep for over 80 years. Stanley Kaplan created the company to encourage students to go beyond simply studying to preparing for each exam. Across 36 countries, more than 2.1 million students worldwide sign up for their services. Through their online and on-demand courses, study guides, and tutoring services, they effectively guide students on how to ace over 120 exams and prepare for a successful career.

Prep Courses

Kaplan prep courses help students from middle school through to the professional level. Their prep courses and materials cover all the leading tests, including ACT, SAT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, and GRE. In addition, you get to customize their test prep services to match your learning style by selecting between all their program types.

If you want to ace the SAT, for example, then you must choose between the following course options:

  • On-Demand: An introductory learning course with 30-minute bite-sized lessons that you tackle on your schedule
  • Live Online: An online course featuring live instruction from a team of expert teachers knowledgeable on how to ace the exam
  • Unlimited Prep: Unlimited access to interactive online learning materials for the SAT, ACT, AP, and PSAT tests through your senior year

Depending on the test you want to take, you may also have the option of maximizing your study time by attending in-person classes. Many of their test prep programs offer tutoring access, so you can get one-on-one support as needed to achieve your learning goals. Unfortunately, you cannot get their tutoring support as a separate service at this time.

If you’re a first-time Kaplan student and enroll in an eligible program, you’ll get to take advantage of their Higher Score Guarantee. However, it would be best if you established your baseline score by taking their Kaplan proctored diagnostic practice exams to participate. Then, take the official test to see how your scores compare. If you do not earn a higher score, you can log into your account within 60 days of the end date and ask for a redo or refund.

Practice Tests

If you do not want to sign up for the Kaplan on-demand and online courses, you can get access to test prep materials by buying their books. Each year, they publish new study guides for all the top tests, giving you access to practice tests and more.  The books start with an overview of the question test and then go over proven test-taking strategies. After that, they move on to the complete length practice tests, plus offer online and video modules to follow on your schedule.

Kaplan stays laser-focused on test prep, making them a solid choice if you want to go back to school. However, since they do not offer custom tutoring, they’re not ideal if you want to learn essay writing skills without pursuing a college degree.

The Final Word on Princeton Review vs Kaplan

There’s no contest regarding Kaplan vs. Princeton Review for budding essayists. The Princeton Review is the way to go, whether you want to return to college or learn new skills. The Princeton Review offers all the test prep materials you need to ace each exam and get accepted into your preferred program at all the top schools. In addition, many of their test prep programs come with an easy-to-use money-back guarantee that ensures you’ll get great results if you put the work in.

Beyond that, they let you sign up for custom tutoring that allows you to build your essay writing skills. You don’t need to sign up for their test prep programs to participate in tutoring. Just come back at your convenience whenever you want to get professional help and add to your skill set.  So, you can quickly achieve all your goals by picking The Princeton Review over Kaplan. Over time, their services will help you become the best essay writer you can be and build a solid career.

FAQs About Princeton Review vs. Kaplan

What is better, Kaplan or Princeton Review, for the LSAT?

Kaplan offers more LSAT test-taking strategies and excels in student support leading up to test day. But The Princeton Review LSAT beats the Kaplan course offerings regarding content quality and access to custom tutoring options. So, it’s Princeton that wins this one, especially if you take advantage of their score guarantee.

Is the Princeton MCAT review worth it?

The Princeton Review MCAT prep courses m highly regarded as worth the time, effort, and money. Like the Kaplan MCAT, their intuitive platform, quality content, and expert instructors come together to help you achieve high scores on your test. Plus, they offer a 510+ guarantee to help you gain more than a slight edge against the competition.

Is the Princeton Review harder than the actual SAT?

Yes, The Princeton Review tests are more complex than the SAT, and for a good reason. Often, their practice questions have two correct answers listed, leaving you guessing which one to pick. However, asking their tests harder than the real exam improves your chances of getting the highest score possible.

For more, check out our roundup of the best grammar checkers.


  • Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.