Last year I wrote a review on Hanbridge Mandarin where I did my first ever 1-on-1 online learning lesson. It was a nerve-wracking experience and a week ago I was in the same situation again, though it was much better than the first one. Here, I will share what the service is about, a glance at the tutor I chose, the pros and cons, and my final thought about it. Let’s get started!
What Is Preply?
Preply is an online tutoring platform that allows you to find tutors from over 177 countries. Whether you’re looking for a foreign language tutor or a subject tutor such as math, computer science, chemistry, art, music, and so on and so forth, it’s here.
It is founded by Kirill Bigai (CEO), Dmytro Voloshyn (CTO), and Serge Lukyanov (CPO) and officially launched in April 2013. It’s based in Brighton, MA, USA. With over 47,000 tutors, 110,000 students, and 20 000 hours of classes being held each month, they are already expanding their marketplace in Europe and looking forward to going worldwide.
How Does Preply Work?
Just like what’s been stated in the video, you can easily find a tutor by using the search filter (language/ specialty/ price/ country of birth), then contact him or her for more questions, and when they accept your request you’re good to go.
You can sort out the search results by rating, popularity, price range from lowest to highest, and reviews. You can also narrow down your filter by age of the student, the level of the student, and other (with video/ small groups) that the tutor prefers.
Once everything is confirmed, you can pay the first payment through the system. The available payment options are; Card (Visa, Mastercard, etc), and PayPal. Only then the contact information for both tutor and student will be revealed.
What to do after that I hear you ask? Well, after you’re done with your first lesson you can either continue by purchasing a pack of hours or book another first lesson with other tutors.
A pack of hours is the length of time you would like to resume your study session with your previous tutor.
Let’s say I choose the 5-hour pack, it then depends on both the tutor and me to decide how long we want for each lesson, whether an hour a day for 5 days or 30 minutes a day for 10 days, etc.
You can check the balance (hours) at the top menu. If for whatever reason you want to change to another tutor, you can contact the customer support chat and they will transfer the remaining hours to your new tutor.
A Bit About My Tutor – Pros & Cons
He is a native Spanish speaker and speaks fluent English and has 6 years of experience in teaching. He’s very polite and well prepared, though I didn’t expect him to look up the synonym for fortnight’s time.
He uses 2 methods of teaching, a book, and audio. He taught using a workbook created by the Cambridge University called New Headway Upper Intermediate Students Book.
He emphasizes the 3 skills; listening, reading, and speaking. No writing is needed in that session because the answers are already written in the book and I just have to choose one. Apart from that, he also makes sure I understood each exercise before proceeding to other exercises by asking if there’s anything that needs clarification.
There are some parts I didn’t understand and he explained them one by one patiently. I can be a slow learner sometimes, so having a tutor with this trait is a plus. The learning pace is great, not so slow, and not so fast either.
The tutor sent me a placement test a day before the lesson begins. When it began, he asked about it and apparently, he didn’t receive the result which was a total bump. I was really looking forward to it because when I contacted him, I told him that I expect him to tell me where my level is at and which areas need improvement (I received the result later at night).
The session was like having a lesson in a traditional classroom. I felt like a kid because I was asked to read the instructions and the questions repeatedly. I get that he wanted to know my pronunciation, so a couple of times is ok, but the entire session? I knew that he knew my pronunciation is good because he complimented it a few times.
Actually, I was hoping he would use something else (not a book) and add a variety of methods to his teaching because after all, it’s an online lesson. Other than that, he’s good and I know I can’t expect him to be perfect from the beginning, so I’m sure everything will get better next time.
The one thing that bothers me the most is the Skype connection which was really frustrating. It got cut twice, in the middle of the lesson and towards the end of the lesson. I wonder how convenient would it be if Preply has their own Skype-kind-of-software.
The interface is quite easy to navigate.
The price is very affordable. The lowest is $2/hour and the highest is $100/hour.
There are 2 ways you can do your learning session, meet in person (local) and via Skype. The most popular option is the latter, which takes up to 70% of the service orders.
Apart from foreign languages and school subjects, there are tutors for hobbies and activities as well, such as acting skills, art classes, arts, music, and Pokemon GO.
If a problem occurs such as a lesson doesn’t take place during your first session with any tutor or you’re not happy with him or her, Preply will return back your money (terms and conditions applied) or you can choose another tutor for free as a replacement.
There is a Q&A forum where students can ask the tutors anything related to languages, school subjects, and hobbies. It’s not as active as I thought it would be though.
For students, if you’re looking for a specific teacher you can go to the Find Students section and post your job there where you can write the language you want, requirements, and price. For teachers this is a good opportunity, however, there’s no guarantee if it’s active as there’s no reply on the post itself or anything just to inform if the job has been taken or not. Most (if not all) of the post is only looking for an English teacher.
It is good for anyone who has a passion for teaching, especially teachers. They can have more experience teaching students from a variety of countries. Find out more about how you can be a tutor on Preply.
They don’t do justice to the way they present the search filter for other languages. When I search for the English language, there is an introduction video of each tutor and their calendar schedule time shown in my local time zone when I hover my cursor over it. There are none of these when I search for Spanish and other languages.
The review system is a bit confusing. After the lesson ended, there was an email notification asking me to rate the session. When I clicked on it, it brought me to a rating page, but there is no place to leave a review. I had to search for it. Once I found it, I had to rate it again, but this time there is a total of 5 things to rate (mostly about the tutor) and then leave a review.
Later on, when I read the how it works page, it is stated that they will send an email asking to give a review after two weeks from the date the first payment is made. Why does it have to be that long? I think a week is enough to “get acquainted with the tutor.” My tutor asked me to leave feedback in an hour, so I’m confused.
Preply is it’s a pretty decent platform for learners to find tutors for a reasonable price and yet still able to get a good quality service. Unlike Italki and Verbling, the option here is much wider and not limited to just foreign languages. If you’re interested in reading more reviews, you can check it here.
So, the answer to the question is Preply is definitely worth trying. For a $5 per hour session, I have to say I’m satisfied with how it turned out. You should try and see for yourself. Get a 30% discount on your first payment by clicking the button below.
Have any of you experience using Preply? If so, how did it go? Share with us in the comment below.
This Post Has 17 Comments
Great review. I’ve been teaching English on Preply since May 2016 and have met many lovely , dedicated students.
If Skype is a problem, I recommend Hangouts or Zoom, both can an effective alternative.
Hey Craig. It’s good to know. Could you give me the link to your Preply profile? Hangout can be a bit slow sometimes. I’ve never heard of Zoom. I’m definitely going to check that one out. Thanks for the recommendation.
Sorry I never saw this! My Preply profile is https://preply.com/en/tutor/23518/
I see you found my blog as you were kind enough to comment.
I find Hangouts video to be slow at times too, though I use it as text chat in lessons if I’m teaching in Skype, and a way to connect all my students in one group outside of class. Zoom is pretty awesome as it’s stable, has good screen sharing options and can record sessions, ideal for students wanting to go back and listen to the class.
I just reciprocated what you did 🙂 I like your blog and the way you explain the grammar is so easy to understand. I might refer to it sometime.
Based on the video testimonials, so far, I found Zoom to be the best alternative for Skype and it’s free too.
Thanks Meina, that’s very kind. If you haven’t already, why not sign up to my newsletter(https://knifesedgetefl.activehosted.com/app/forms/3) too?
I give a rundown of new blog posts and sometimes additional tips. I’m also working on a top secret course (shhh, don’t tell anyone ;)) so you can get updates on that too!
Ooh that sounds good. Will think about it 🙂
Currently going through it with preply.
1. I find the platform is a little saturated on instructors and in economic times like these where people want to work from home only, alot of instructors are hungry to take up all opportunities. So in for instance there is a portion at the top that says “Find Students”. In this portion you can find students who have posted on the board that they want a certain type of instructor etc. This seems like it would be great, but there’s only 1 problem – it’s not active! Meaning that whether the post was made 2 years ago or made just yesterday, it stays there. You have no idea if it’s active unless you actually reply to it and then get a notification that all further replies have been paused in submission. So it’s a habitual false advertisement on their end trying to make the platform look as if it has more opportunities than it does… (i could comment that this is an eastern European craftiness…. but let’s not go there)
2. The way that Preply takes it’s cut. ALL 1st lessons are pocketed by them, no matter what you are charging. Ok cool, the company has to make it’s money, but then after this all future lessons have a sliding scale that decreases over time from 33% to 16% and they say this is for member loyalty. This business model who be all well and good if 2 factors were in seamless play – 1. Students on the platform wanted to pay for a decently priced class and 2. The percentage shrunk faster. IT takes 400 classes before you get to 16% and So the larger the percentage is the less money you are making, then the Student ends up paying more because you want to make a profit after teaching for 1 hour. So in for instance when i have taught classes for $10 per hour, i get the 33% taken back until i teach more and dwindle it down by teaching more classes. Which if i want to break even and not teach a whole hour tutoring english remotely for $6.37 an hour, i have to raise my rates. Which of course will get my LESS students.
& 3. THE REAL Dilemma********
I was recently “HIDDEN from Searches” for missing a classes. This was due to the fact that I decided to test something and it worked a bit 2 well. I told myself, if this percentage won’t go down until i teach more classes, then i will just drop my rates to get more students and thus get to the 400 class quota for 16%. So i dropped my classes from $15 to $5. HOWEVER i completely forgot that my advanced notice from class booking was set to 6hours instead of 12. Within less than 2 days my vacant requests box that was scarce in populating but every 1 response every week and a half. Suddenly i got 11 replies of those 6 had already booked classes via insta booking. This was great, but then of course I do have a normal life and also would have to teach at least 1 class per student free with Preply pocketing, so if they didn’t rebook this it was only a partial benefit to me for knocking off the quota. So of course i started to do the classes that were scheduled, but then I noticed that I had missed attendance on 2 class that had booked in advance that I didn’t know about!. I wrote and apologized to the students then attempted to reschedule classes. 1 was successful and 2 had no response.
** Now Just yesterday 11/24/17**
I receive a notice that my account is being HIDDEN from search results by a “manager” Birgit. Making my plea and informing her of what happened, she stated that my account is being monitored to see about future sessions of not attending. Of course this is all well and good, because there should be consequences for not attending, however all my previous classes I was on time for which totals over about 13 (6 of those of course were free!) and received no complaints. So 1 hour later looking for answers with Chat support and being consistently FORWARDED to Birgit as the Authority over my CASE. (>_< ??????! ). I receive a reply from Birgit who had ignored my chat responses for 30 minutes after calling the company out and demanding evidence of all incidents and company policy. She states that the issue was for non attendance from classes, So i explained again in even further detail this misunderstanding on my part. So she said she would monitor it and watch my attendance rate. So then I requested the # of sessions or the time length that would have to pass before The block from search results was done. She pretty much said it will be very soon after we monitor it, which means WHEN we feel like it. WHAT the fuck are we DATING? Do you want roses? What kind of unprofessional response is that!
*** SO my decision temporarily***
1. I informed them of my future actions of what I would do if they didn't remove the block on my account since they didn't want to give me an actual TIME frame or number of classes.
2. I taught a total of 9 more scheduled classes within the last 2 days (which of course they pocketed all the money for, and was on time to them all.
3. I wrote back on my attendance and they have yet to respond with anything.
This did however definitely show me that of course most people who don't have the money to take english classes in person are going to Preply and sites like these. This is a great opportunity, but we are still in a capitalist world, where of course the people at the top still want to make more money and don't consider the situations of their customers, just the SIZE of the #'s coming into their accounts.
I am giving them till Sunday evening then, I am afraid at this RANDOM manager's decision, I will definietly be creating a video with my dissatisfaction as an instructor on the platform. OF course the 2 things that REALLY are bothering me, I won't bring into account are :
1. no one on the chat support are American / 2. I am African American and no one on chat support is a person of African descent /
Funny to have a platform that allows english speakers to teach english remotely abroad that isn't even owned by native english speakers. I am FAR from biased, well traveled over seas and have friends from all over living here in NYC. So I don't mean to lump up everyone one together, however poor responsiveness when mentioning my plea to multiple parties, all parties involved must take the fault. Your employees are the life and FACE of your company, the policies that are not in place will determine the actions that they legitimize, especially in crucial moments.
Sad story, especially with such a decent platform. I just wish you could actually contact upper management. When needed.
Hey Psusennes, so sorry to hear that.
I think I did come across the Find Students section (no date was shown) before when I was writing the review. When I check again today, you can actually see the date of when the post is posted, though not sure about the status. I’ll have to ask the support for that just to confirm it (will come back with the answer later).
Agree with the employees (the support team) being the face of the company. If a company is great but the support sucks then it sucks. That’s just how some people look at it.
Thanks for sharing your experience from a teacher’s point of view since I only wrote it from a student’s view.
I found some great tutors from Preply, but their system prompts you to confirm that lessons occurred, when you have ALREADY told them it didn’t. If you don’t confirm, they keep sending you alerts until you confirm by mistake. A dishonest company I will never do business with again. Other companies, such as Spanishforgood.com are better choices
When you reached out to them about the error what did they say?
Hello Meina! I´m Adrian, your online tutor. It was really fun and helpful to read your review. I will take into account your recommendations. I promise that since that time the quality and content of the lesson has improved 🙂 Regards
Very nice to see you here. Thank you for reading 🙂 I’d love to continue the lesson but time isn’t permitting. Hopefully, I get to see the improved lesson someday. Looking forward to that.
You´re welcome! Great, I´m looking forward to it too. See you soon, Meina 🙂
I teach on Preply. Their margins are outrageous. Italki is much better.
Hey, Stefano. I can’t say much about the teaching aspect because I’m only using it as a learner. But, I appreciate you leaving your feedback. This might help those who want to use it as their teaching platform. By the way, what language are you teaching?
I also use Italki as a student. I prefer it to Preply also as a student because on Italki you can also find language exchange partners to teach each other for free. You can even post your homework on Italki and native speakers will correct it in a few hours for free.
I speak a few languages but I only teach my native language – Italian. I believe that languages should be learned from native speakers from day one.
I’ve heard about Italki many times but haven’t actually given it a try. I probably will when time permits. Few languages? That’s awesome! I just started learning Italian a week ago.
I agree with you to a certain extent. Learning directly from native speakers has its own pros and cons.