What is Preply?
Preply is an online education platform that connects global language learners with tutors for online one-to-one lessons.
Originally launched in 2012 as an online marketplace for SAT and ACT tutoring, Preply expanded its business globally in 2013, transforming its marketplace into an online language tutoring platform. As of 2021, Preply has expanded its roster of tutors from 49,000 available subjects (including languages) to 100.
There are quite a few mentors on Preply, and the number is growing rapidly. With such a huge pool of tutors, finding the right tutor for any subject/language you want to practice is a breeze. Thanks to Preply’s handy and simple search system, I can find my favorite tutors in minutes.
Preply doesn’t actually do any teaching at all. It only acts as a facilitator, allowing you to access its vast database of online tutors. You can browse each tutor’s profile, watch their introductory videos, and filter them by price, rating, specialty, availability, and more.
How does Preply work? Find a mentor
Once you load Preply’s website, you can immediately enter the language (or subject) you want to study and it will instantly show you all available tutors. It’s free and doesn’t require an account.
Pre-qualified tutor search
Right away, you can see what each tutor looks like, their native language, other languages they speak (and at what level), currently active students, their ratings, reviews, prices, schedules, and more.
Get instant access to all of this beautifully presented information when you’re looking for a tutor that’s right for you. Now, you can browse the vast list of tutors at your leisure.
Each tutor also has a short CV where you can learn more about them, their specialisations, qualifications and experience. I really like this because I feel more comfortable making decisions after learning who they are and how they like to teach.
Another handy feature is that the booking schedule automatically adjusts based on your time zone. No need to do all the time conversions!
Decide on a Preply Mentor
When you’ve found a mentor you’re interested in, you can view their own profiles in more detail. Each tutor has an introductory video which I highly recommend you watch. You can really understand who they are and how they work for you.
At first the thought of taking an online course felt a little nerve-wracking. But, by watching the video, I can imagine myself in a virtual classroom with a tutor and see what it’s like.
In the end, I found a mentor with such a warm and enthusiastic atmosphere, and my worries disappeared just by watching their introductory video. Although I was apprehensive at first, when I found a mentor I connected with, I was excited to start talking to them.
In addition to the atmosphere and teaching style, you can learn more from watching the instructor’s videos. Because of the variety of Preply, watching the video will give you an idea of what kind of equipment your tutor is using, as well as check their audio and video quality. All of these are important factors that contribute to the overall quality of the course. I can’t stress enough when looking for a tutor on Preply, please watch their introductory video before booking!
Read the reviews!
In addition to the videos, you can also read comments from other students. Reading other people’s experiences and their perceptions of mentors has had a huge impact on my decision-making. It’s a great feeling when you’ve found a mentor you really like, and reading their overwhelmingly positive reviews only fuels the excitement.
Read Preply Mentor Reviews
Of course, it’s all down to personal preference, but I’d probably steer clear of people with less-than-popular reviews.
The Preply team says on their website that they verify each tutor’s profile, but that means they cross-check all the qualifications listed by the tutor. As for the teacher’s teaching ability, it is up to the students to decide. Since tutors can set their own rates, be sure to do all your research before you decide to commit – watch their videos, read reviews, etc.
Find the perfect mentor
You can narrow your search results to find a tutor that fits your needs by selecting your preferred course time, specifying a price range, your desired tutor major, your tutor’s native language, and you can even filter the tutor’s country of birth. If you’re only looking for native speakers or those with a specific A mentor of skills, this flexibility is especially useful. I really recommend using the filters to find your perfect tutor. You can really schedule classes anytime, anywhere. Want to have class at 3am? not a problem!
After selecting your preferred preference, Preply will load its tutor database and provide an extensive list of tutors that match your criteria.
Once you’ve found someone you like after browsing through their profiles, you can also send a personal message to the tutor and chat through Preply’s internal messaging system first. When ready, you can book a class.
Book a lesson with a tutor
It’s very easy to book a class with a tutor!
Here I am making an appointment for a class with a Japanese instructor. The first class for any new instructor is a trial class. A trial lesson is a single 60-minute lesson, 100% refundable (or transferable, the choice is yours), and no questions asked if you are in the slightest dissatisfied.
Just choose the time and date that is most convenient for you.
Next, you’ll be prompted to fill out a short preliminary questionnaire. It will ask you about your motivation for learning the language, and what your goals are. These should help tutors plan your lessons, but as you can see, options are very limited.
It was actually a pleasant surprise that my instructor messaged me within 15 minutes of completing the booking. They asked me in more detail about my requirements, my current language skills and my goals. I love this interaction because I really feel like my tutors want to support me and give me the best course possible.
After purchasing a course, you can view these courses and any other upcoming courses at any time on the My Courses tab.
If you need to cancel a class for any reason, you can do so up to 4 hours before the class starts – free of charge. It is important to note that you will not be entitled to a refund if you have less than 4 hours before the start of the course you purchased. However, you can still cancel a class, however, you must pay for the class as if you had taken the class.
What does a Preply course look like?
Preply developed its own online video chat platform, Preply Space. For those of you who still prefer third-party apps like Skype, you can still use them if you want.
Preply Space is where the lessons actually take place. You can access it by logging in and clicking My Courses. This is what it looks like!
Classes usually last one hour, but you can extend the class by discussing the duration with your instructor. Since Preply Space is built directly into the platform, calling your tutor is easy. No more searching around for a Skype ID and hoping you find the right one. Preply Space is smooth and seamless, which is a powerful feature that really enhances the class experience.
Whenever I’m preparing for any kind of online meeting, class or interview, I’m always keen to check that my mic and webcam are both working four times. Making 5 Skype test calls beforehand is a nightmare. Thankfully, Preply Space has a feature where you can preview your video before the class starts.
Tutors and students have space to enter course objectives, materials, new vocabulary, corrections, homework, and next lesson goals. I love this because it really makes the course feel professional and you can always come back and review it after the course is over.
Tutors can also share their screen for you, essentially turning the Preply Space into a digital whiteboard for the classroom. This is great because it’s easy to follow.
I have discussed my course needs with my tutors in advance and they have customized it to meet them. Some tutors also list on their resume that they have specific popular textbooks. Since we all have the same textbook, the flow of the course feels smooth.
After the trial class is over, you will be prompted to confirm that the class is complete. You will then be able to submit any feedback, questions and rate the entire experience.
Then, if you wish, you can book more lessons with the tutor.
Preply Course Package
You may notice that there is no option to purchase individual lessons. Instead, there are 6, 12 or 20 lessons to choose from (the more lessons you buy, the greater the discount). On other similar platforms like Preply and Italki, this is becoming the norm. Personally, I’d like more flexibility with my purchases, maybe a batch or 2 or 3 lessons.
However, the benefit of buying bulk courses is that you will be able to develop better connections with your tutors, and as you continue, they will learn about your strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, they will be able to customize the course to better suit your needs. Even so, I would still like to have the option to buy any number of courses in bulk.
My advice for taking an online course – you’ll see my emphasis throughout this Preply review is the importance of reading tutor bios, their reviews, and watching their videos. Then take a trial class. Then you’ll determine if a mentor is really right for you. After the trial class, if you are not satisfied, you can get a full refund, which is great.
I really enjoyed taking classes at Preply and all the tutors I have met so far have been great. I could see how much they liked our course and it made me like them even more.
You can review at any time after the course is over. Tutors can also add homework if that’s something you want to do.
Pricing per tutor on Preply varies widely, ranging from $5 to $40 per hour. Mentors can set their own prices, but you’ll find that prices often depend on the mentor’s personal experience, qualifications and ratings. I have found that the average price range set by mentors is around $10-15 per hour.
In my experience, just because tutors are priced low, doesn’t mean they are low-quality teachers. The same is true when tutors are priced high.
Since mentors have complete freedom to set their own prices, judging them by price is not a reliable measure of a mentor’s competence. Instead, you need to use the slider to set your budget and use the filters to display tutors in your price range. From there you can research each tutor, read their CVs, read reviews written by other students, and most importantly watch their introduction videos!
Then, use the trial class to your advantage to see if the tutor is really a good fit for you. If the course and/or instructor does not meet your expectations, you are entitled to a full refund.
One thing I really like is being able to see pricing and being able to pay in multiple currencies. This removes the pain of doing currency conversions to manually calculate the cost of each tutor. They don’t have all the currencies, but it’s great to have the freedom to pay in whatever currency you want.
Preply and its features
It is often said that Preply is very limited in terms of functionality compared to competitors like Italki. Preply excels at doing what it’s supposed to do, matching students with teachers. They ensure that scheduling and payments go smoothly and that students are satisfied with their courses. Then provide a space for students and tutors to conduct online classes. I feel like there are a lot of Preply features that are often overlooked.
However, if you are too busy, or not sure how to find the right tutor, you can submit a request for a private tutor through the main website. Preply will do your research and match you with a tutor that matches your requirements and requirements. You can even submit requests for other people, such as your friends or children.
Prepare Tutor Application Form
Personally, I haven’t used it myself, but you can enter all the aspects you want in a private tutor. You can enter your price range and any of your specific requirements etc. On paper, this looks like a great feature that will save you time and trouble.
Since you’re just submitting a request, it’s up to you to decide whether to work with a Preply suggested tutor. I still check out their reviews and watch their videos before committing to anything!
Preply Scholarship Program
One thing I’m surprised not many people mention is Preply’s scholarship program.
Of course, it’s not written in big ornate text, so it’s easy to miss on the site (it’s at the bottom!). If you know me, you will understand how I feel about Preply having a scholarship program.
This part is my personal highlight of this Preply review.
Rewarding students for their hard work, motivation, and dedication to the language in the form of free money (especially study abroad) is a great incentive. It’s a shame that many students want to go abroad or study, just because of lack of funds they can’t achieve their dreams.
Anyway, back to topic… Preply’s Scholarship Program! What is it and who is it for (how much can you get)?
Preply’s scholarship program operates as a competition in which applicants write and submit a 500-word essay on a specific academic topic. The competition is community driven, with three submitted papers being voted on by the community. Preply then distributed $4,500 among the three winners.
Prepare for scholarships
According to Preply’s website, eligible applicants must fall into one of the following categories:
High school student
You must also be between the ages of 16-35. You can enter this scholarship program from anywhere in the world, there are no restrictions! (marvelous!)
In a recent scholarship competition, the paper was titled “How Language Learning Helps Promote Gender Equality”. While papers must be submitted in English, I really like what Preply is trying to achieve here. The thesis title encourages critical thinking.
Like Preply, we are also developing our own scholarship program at The Language Quest.
Prepare for the Q&A section
The Q/A section on the Preply website is essentially Preply’s answer to an online community where students can ask any question and get answers from their tutors. There is no fee to ask a question, all you need to do is have an account.
While not as lively as Italki’s community, Preply’s Q/A section does provide a place for students to connect with tutors outside of class. I haven’t personally used Q/A
section, but for most themes it looks lively and very active.
You can post questions on any topic or language. It might be a grammatical point that you don’t understand, or you might not be able to figure out the difference between two words. Whatever your question, once you post it, a qualified tutor will post the answer for you.
The nice thing about this feature is that anyone can search and view all past questions and answers. So, for example, you might have the same question about a particular grammar point…you might find that someone else has already asked (and answered) it for you. The responses written by some tutors are usually clear and in-depth enough to be useful.
Preply’s Q/A section is a fantastic step in the right direction in building community. Personally, I think it would be better if there was a feature that would allow students to connect directly with each other. Similar to Italki’s “Language Buddy” feature, it enables native speakers to connect and learn from each other.
Preply and Customer Service Reviews
Customer service on Preply is only available through the chat service and email system. At the time of writing, Preply cannot be reached by phone or video call.
At the bottom right of the screen is a light blue circle. Click it and the chat function will pop up. If you have any questions or concerns, you can send Preply directly. I contacted them once and they responded in less than an hour despite the expected wait time of 2 days. Preply’s chat feature is not 24/7, but you have to check their opening hours (it depends where you are from).
Preply has a fairly extensive list of FAQs that cover pretty much everything you’d ever want to know.
They also shared some advice on using the platform, advice on tutoring, as well as study materials for students and tips on how to find a good tutor. On top of that, they have language-specific FAQs, which can be useful, especially if you’re new to the language. It’s perfect as an introduction to the language (and its country) you want to learn.
Become a Preply Mentor
To become a Preply tutor, you need to be able to tick the following:
Be a native speaker or be proficient in the language you want to teach.
Stable and fast internet connection.
Have a webcam.
Have a microphone.
A form of identification (passport/driver’s license).
If you can complete the list above, you are ready to apply to become a Preply mentor. At least a language teacher. Suppose you are considering teaching other subjects, such as math or history. In this case, Preply will ask you to provide any prior knowledge about the subject you wish to teach and any qualifications or professional experience.
If you want to be a language teacher, you don’t need any experience or qualifications. You don’t need TEFL. You just need to be able to complete the list above. You can then visit the site, create your profile and apply.
That being said, if you do have any relevant experience or qualifications, be sure to mention them in your application and resume. Getting an accredited TEFL qualification will really set you apart from other teachers.
For this reason, if you’re really serious about teaching (or getting into it) and want to optimise your chances of getting students, then getting a qualification like TEFL is definitely something to consider.
After you apply, a member of the Preply team will review your application. If you are successful, you will be notified by email. You can then add more details, such as your availability and introductory video.
Students will then be able to message you and book your classes.
At Preply, you have complete flexibility in choosing when to work. You are also free to teach your courses. Although I would recommend contacting students booking classes directly to find out what their goals are.
Getting students will require you to make your profile stand out. A good resume, a friendly and professional introduction video, and listing of additional qualifications/experience are all essential.
From now on, the lesson plan and everything is up to you. My tutor has a textbook that we used to study together in class. We also role-played and had conversations on various topics.
If you’re not sure about the best way to teach, my best advice is to ask your students first. Ask them before class what they would like to learn using Preply’s direct messaging service. If you do have copies or pdfs of any textbooks, please communicate with your students before class. Communication between students and tutors is important for a number of reasons.
Still, it’s a good idea to have some kind of lesson plan in place. Your students will rely on you to guide them in a comfortable atmosphere and deliver high-quality courses.
Prepare for training
Luckily, Preply actually offers optional free training sessions and tips for instructors. They have collected a wealth of insightful articles with helpful advice on how to be a good mentor. I highly recommend reading through these collections.
Preply’s free training is available as a webinar that you can register to attend. They’ll teach you how to attract students, retain them, and create solid lesson plans. I haven’t taught Preply myself, but all of these resources look great and are a great way to get you started.
At the time of writing this Preply Review, they have launched a beta version of their so-called Preply Lesson Plan. Lesson plans include x7 60-minute beginner-advanced lesson plans designed to achieve fluency. To support tutors in delivering an effective and engaging learning experience, lesson plans include placement tests, study plans and lesson summaries.
As this is still in beta, it appears to be only available for English tutors at the moment. However, Preply aims to extend this functionality into a repository for use by all tutors.
How Much Preply Pays Mentors
Mentors on Preply are free to decide their own hourly rates. There is complete freedom here. While rates can range from $5 to $40 per hour, tutors with more experience and qualifications will be able to set higher rates than tutors with no experience and qualifications. This of course means that the more teaching experience and qualifications you have, the better.
Preply has no hidden fees or anything. However, they do take a percentage of the rate you set.
Preply uses a tier system to determine commission percentages. How much commission you pay depends on the number of hours you teach. If you’re a brand new mentor, 33% of your earnings go to Preply. This number gradually decreases as you accumulate more teaching time. When you hit the 400 hour milestone, that number almost halved to 18%.
It is important to note that Preply will take a 100% commission for a new student’s first class. This means that you will not be paid for the first lesson you offer a new student. After the trial class is over, the system will prompt students to purchase courses in bulk, and the more purchases, the greater the discount.
Building relationships with students is important and takes time, and you can provide your students with a learning experience.
Unlike some services that have a specific payday, Preply tutors can withdraw the money they earn at any time.
Advantages for Students
The best thing about Preply is how easy it is to get started and use the platform. You can create an account in seconds and get instant access to a large collection of tutors. You can add filters such as price range, schedule, native speakers, majors, and more to narrow down the list.
Navigating through tutors is also a very smooth process. By watching their introductory videos, reading their bios and reviews, you can instantly get an idea of what each mentor is like.
The quality of the instructors themselves is also worth emphasizing. Every language tutor I met on Preply made me feel comfortable and taught in a very friendly manner. It felt as if I was chatting with friends at times and talking in my target language became second nature and I became so immersed in the topic we were discussing.
I haven’t had a bad experience with a mentor. I was hesitant to find a tutor for the first time because I was nervous. However, after I booked a trial class with a new tutor, they sent me a message to say hello and give me a chance to discuss any questions I had. My nerves are gone and I’m excited.
It’s also easy to get into as a complete beginner of a language. By using the filter function, you can find tutors who speak your native language. Especially as a beginner, if you get stuck, it may give you peace of mind knowing that you can speak to a tutor in your native language.
Preply’s scholarship program – they give students free money.
Advantages of Preply For Tutors
Preply is a platform for very easy access to mentors. No prior experience or qualifications are required, making it very easy to obtain. The application process is very simple.
All tutors have a lot of freedom in what they can teach and how much they want to charge for it. As tutors gain more experience and qualifications, they can increase their rates.
Preply offers optional free training in the form of webinars for those who need it. This is combined with its extensive tips and advice articles on how to teach effectively.
Disadvantages of Preply For Tutors
Which brings me to Preply’s next scam – tutors don’t get paid for trial classes. Preply will receive a 100% commission for every trial class conducted by a tutor with a new student. It would be unfair for the tutors to charge full commissions, they are basically working for free for every trial class. Tutors are only paid if students decide to buy more courses with them after a trial.
Preply’s reasoning for this is that they use the revenue to develop their platform. I’m not sure how I would feel about this reasoning if I were a mentor, but I’ve heard from some mentors that they are fine with it.
As I discussed in the “How Much Preply Pays Its Mentors” section, the commission for new Preply mentors is also quite high at 33%.