As a college student starting my own LSAT journey, I can offer a unique perspective to the review process. Unlike other websites that implement “experts” who do not intend on taking the LSAT in the coming future, I will be able to objectively evaluate each program with a fresh perspective. To review each test prep program, we will use the following five categories: affordability, quality of materials, convenience, support, and weighing the pros and cons.
Let’s face it: studying for the LSAT is no walk in the park. Between LSAT books, online prep courses, and tutoring services, it can be difficult to figure out which resources are the best for you. One of the most popular LSAT prep courses on the market is created by the Princeton Review. They offer four unique options from which to choose: LSAT 165+, Self-Paced, Fundamentals, and Private Tutoring.
With over hundreds of stellar reviews, there is no doubt that their programs have yielded positive results for many aspiring law students. Princeton Review even goes as far to guarantee that students enrolled in their LSAT 165+ program will achieve a score of 165 or higher (or their money back). Nonetheless, the hefty price tag of the Princeton LSAT Prep programs begs the question: are their programs worth the money?
Understanding the LSAT
Before we delve into Princeton Review LSAT programs, it would do well to understand what the LSAT is and why thousands of people take it every year. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been a crucial part of the law school admissions process for decades. The primary purpose of the LSAT is to evaluate whether students have the skills necessary to succeed as a first-year law school student (1L). Much research suggests that an LSAT score is the biggest predictor of success for 1Ls. In other words: this test is no joke.
The LSAT consists of the following sections: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, an unscored section featuring one of the former three, and a writing sample. All the questions, apart from the writing sample, are multiple-choice with five options to choose from. Test-takers are scored from a range of 120-180.
If you are interested in attending law school, you will most likely need to take the LSAT exam (unless you opt to take the GRE). Regardless of where you are on your pre-law journey, you may be wondering whether or not law school is a good fit for you. Be sure to check out our blog post, answering the question: “Should I Go to Law School?” You’re already moving in the right direction if you’re taking the time to read this article. As you continue on, it is important to know that your LSAT score can be a huge predictor of how the admissions process, law school, and finances might play out for you. Now, on to the review.
Princeton Review’s LSAT Prep Programs range greatly in price depending on the specific program you are interested in. The sticker prices in 2021 are as follows:
- Self-Paced – $799
- Fundamentals – $1099
- LSAT 165+ – $1999
- Private Tutoring – $167/hr – $185/hr
While the prices do appear steep, there are a range of options suitable for most budgets. It is important to recognize that the most expensive option does not necessarily make it the best fit for you. You may find the self-paced option to be a better fit for your schedule and budget. The self-paced option is the cheapest of the three prep courses, making it ideal for students not quite ready to fork over $1000+.
Among the three available options, the Fundamentals course is mid-range, still costing over $1000. The Private Tutoring option, different from the three LSAT courses, can vary in price ($167-$185/hr). Princeton Review’s tutoring costs are on the expensive side, ranging from $25-$300 per hour. As we assess the resources offered in each program, as well as the other categories, we will be able to discern whether or not these programs are worth the cost.
You may ask yourself: is it worth it to spend so much money on an LSAT program? That’s a valid question and one you have to consider yourself. Remember that the law school you may be interested in attending may not require a super high score, but a good LSAT score may yield more financial help down the line, in the form of a merit-based scholarship.
We encourage you to do a few things:
- Look at your target law schools and see the median LSAT scores for their incoming class.
- Continue reading this article to see if Princeton Review’s LSAT programs provide you with the resources you need to succeed.
- Be sure to check out the discounts we offer on our website (keep reading).
- Don’t forget: finances will play a significant role throughout your pre-legal journey so it’s important to think about these things!
Related: The 10 Most Affordable Law Schools in the US
Quality of materials
The amount of resources available differs quite a bit when looking at Princeton’s three LSAT prep programs:
Princeton Review LSAT Course Options
A list of the options that The Princeton Review offers for LSAT prep.
|Course||Practice Materials||Official LSAT Content||Princeton Review Guarantee?|
|Self-Paced||-150+ hours of recorded video lessons and additional online content |
-1,800+ pages of study materials
-Access to previously released LSAT questions
|LSAT Prep Plus (Valued at $99) 1-year access to 70+ full Official LSAT PrepTestsSM is included||Yes (if you do not score higher on your exam, you can get a refund; if you aren’t 100% satisfied with your course, you can retake it for free|
|Fundamentals||-30 hours of in-class prep with an expert instructor|
-Online lessons to help reinforce in-class prep
-150+ hours of recorded video lessons and additional online content
-Access to your instructor outside of class for questions and review
|-LSAT Prep Plus (Valued at $99) 1-year access to 70+ full Official LSAT PrepTestsSM is included|
-Online score reports with detailed explanations
|Yes (if you do not score higher on your exam, you can get a refund|
|165+||-84 hours of instruction by an LSAT expert|
-150 hours of online drills and explanations
-8,000 hours of online drills and explanations
-35+ hours of on-demand recorded lessons
|-LSAT Prep Plus (Valued at $99) 1-year access to 70+ full Official LSAT PrepTestsSM is included|
-Verbal section-specific practice tests
|Yes if 1) your starting score was 158+ and you didn’t get a 165+ or 2) your score was under 158, and there was not at least a 7 point increase|
Note: Note: LSAT Prep Plus is also offered directly through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).
In examining all three prep programs, it is clear that Princeton Review has compiled a plethora of resources available to students, regardless of which prep course they enroll in. The biggest distinction between the self-paced course and the other two programs is the lack of access to LSAT tutors and online support. While this may be something that’s ideal to an independent learner, paying $800 and still not receiving any tutor support could be a dealbreaker. However, the self-paced course does offer over 150+ hours of online videos, which could, in theory, supplement the lack of individualized support given in the other two programs. It all depends on what type of learning style a student most benefits from.
Another question to think about is whether or not you would need to use any of their prep programs in conjunction with outside LSAT prep books/resources. The access to LSAT Prep Plus (a standard available and required for most LSAT prep programs) guarantees that you have enough practice exams to consistently prepare over a one year period.
Coupled with the hours of online videos and in-class support, there appears to be enough material offered to sufficiently prepare you (at all levels), without resorting to more LSAT prep splurges! If you were strongly opposed to spending $1999 on the LSAT 165+, you could consider purchasing the self-paced course and search for more affordable LSAT tutors to use as a complement to your preparation.
In using the self-paced course, it is clear that Princeton Review’s LSAT prep program is ideal for the independent learner. The program provides a syllabus that students can follow along with.
Along with the online material provided, students are sent four different Princeton Review prep books that are meant to complement the online content.
The self-paced program is definitely ideal for the independent learner who is not looking to take structured classes. On the other hand, the other two prep programs are better for students who would benefit from more direct support from online tutors.
Another thing that people should consider when selecting courses is your target LSAT score. If you are hoping to get into the more competitive law schools across the country, e.g. a T14 school, you will want to get the highest possible score you’re capable of earning. One convenient feature of their LSAT 165+ program is the guarantee that every student taking their program will either:
1) Achieve an LSAT score of 165 or higher (if you had earned at least a 158 in the past), or
2) See at least a 7 point increase if you had an LSAT score of 158 or lower
This guarantee provides a level of convenience that not all LSAT prep programs offer. It ensures that if you do not get an LSAT score you are satisfied with, you will be able to retake the program or receive a refund. If your goal is to see a specific amount of improvement, this feature makes it well worth the money (so long as you are able to put in the work)!
Don’t forget that these programs are not miracle workers. It requires consistency and mental discipline on the part of the person enrolling. Nonetheless, the 165+ has its allure and definitely should be considered. You ideally want the highest score possible so you can be considered by law school admissions for a merit based scholarship.
Related: How to Minimize Debt in Law School
In terms of the support available to students, those who choose to enroll in the 165+ or Fundamentals course will have in-class support, along with access to their tutors outside of the scheduled class times. In navigating the Princeton Review LSAT Website, they make it very easy to receive online support. There is a chat option available that can connect you with a Princeton Review employee. The average waiting time is less than a few minutes, suggesting that they offer speedy customer support! In addition, they have a student support number that can be used at any time during the day.
Princeton Review also offers one free practice LSAT test, available to all students (regardless of enrollment). There are also weekly prep videos such as “Law School 101” and “LSAT LiveOnline Strategy Section” that often allow you to schedule a 15-minute consultation with a Princeton Review employee who can help you find a program that works best for you.
Weighing the options
- Offers prep courses that are compatible for different types of learners
- Guarantees significant improvement in overall score (or your money back)
- Coupled with hundreds of positive reviews from students (results-driven)
- Private tutoring is very expensive
- Self-paced course does not provide any one-on-one support
- Cost of prep programs are still significantly higher than others on the market (not accessible to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds)
Overall, Princeton Review offers a selection of programs that can meet most students where they’re at on their LSAT journey. Whether you prefer structure, independent learning, or a little bit of both, there are options for all types of students. I recommend you take a few minutes to look at the difference between the three preparatory options available before deciding which one is the best fit for you.
However, I suggest you consider exploring more affordable options for online tutoring, given the high price tag. You can check out this website to find tutors available at an even cheaper price (though there is also a range in price). Also, we recommend checking out your own university’s pre-law resources to see what LSAT tutoring options they may have! Some universities offer philosophy classes focused on logic, which may help with the logical reasoning section of the exam.
Taking the test can be intimidating. Feelings of uncertainty and doubt may come up; don’t let them determine the outcome of your LSAT score! That is why it is imperative to select a program or method of studying that allows you to put your best foot forward. Trust us when we say that everyone has encountered feelings of self-doubt somewhere along their legal journey.
Related: Defeating the Imposter Syndrome
If you think the Princeton Review LSAT program could be a good fit for you, we encourage you to find the program that best aids your style of learning. Once again, we are here to provide an objective look into their LSAT resource offerings, and it is up to you to discern its value in your own study process. Our website is happy to offer you a stable discount that will help you get a competitive deal for these programs. The following are offered below:
- LSAT 165+ Online – $300 off
- LSAT 165+ In Person – $100 off
- Fundamentals – $50 off
Remember: a higher price tag does not equate to higher quality. You could, in theory, get more out of a self-paced program than a structured virtual class format. Regardless, there is no doubt that Princeton Review provides the necessary materials needed to ace the LSAT exam. We wish you the best of luck on your LSAT journey. Seriously, you got this!
Like what you read? Check out some of our other blog posts to hear more about law, finance, and everything in between!
Devianna Smith is a rising senior at Boston College. Devianna grew up in Massachusetts and is majoring in Political Science and Communication, Management and Leadership. She is on the undergrad pre-law track and currently preparing for the LSAT exam and law school applications.