Preply Review: Great for Students (so-so for teachers!)

Preply is an online platform that connects students to tutors across the globe. Catered primarily to anyone interested in learning a language, Preply is beginning to expand its expertise into other areas of education too.

In this review, we’ll take a closer look at Preply, and how you can use it as both a student and a teacher. You’ll find out exactly what it costs per hour as a student, how much tutors can get paid, how to operate the platform, and finally, a look at how it compares with one of its major competitors. 

What is Preply?

Simply put, Preply is an online marketplace for teaching. Students can find tutors from all over the globe who offer up more than 100 different subjects and connect with them via a video call.

How does Preply work?

Each teacher on Preply has their own profile that outlines their experience, expertise, teaching style and their hourly rate. Most also have a quick video clip so you can get to know them a little better before committing to a lesson. 

Students can browse listings of the teachers in their chosen subjects, and use the profiles to narrow down their favourite.

Once a student has settled on a tutor, they can book a trial class that usually lasts an hour long. After the trial class, students must pay for tutoring packages in 5,10,15 or 20 hours packages.

All bookings and payments are made through Preply, making it a one-stop-shop for everything.

Another great feature of Preply is being able to find a tutor in your local area. If you’re not enjoying the online learning side of things, you can search the market place for a tutor in your local town who may be happy to meet up in person. 

In the listings, you'll see each tutor's introduction video, their schedule and any reviews from past students, plus their hourly rate and how many lessons they've carried out on Preply.

My experience with Preply

To bring you an up-to-date, accurate and transparent review, I signed up for a few lessons on Preply. As an intermediate-level Russian speaker, I searched for native speakers who were comfortable and experienced teaching experienced adult speakers.

I was surprised to find a huge number of tutors available, with a range of prices starting from around $5 an hour. 

On the platform, each tutor provides a quick video introduction, which I found to be the most useful tool in terms of choosing the right teacher for me.

In the end, I settled for a lady called Yana. Preply has an internal messaging system, which made it really easy to contact my tutor and discuss what I wanted from my first lesson. 

With one simple click of a button, I could see Yana’s available schedule, and I booked my trial lesson.

Using Skype as the main platform, the connection was great, and Yana shared her screen on Preply to guide me through any materials she had prepared for the lesson. 

I do find online tutoring a little awkward, but Yana made it very easy and comfortable. In fact, the whole process from signing up to Preply to receiving the lesson was pretty effortless.

What do Preply lessons look like?

Other than the video call screen, there's a note section for both yourself and the tutor to jot down things to remember from the lesson.

Lessons on Preply typically last one hour, but this time can be extended or reduced as discussed with your tutor.

Lessons are held on Skype, usually over a video call. But you’ll also be able to see your tutors screen during the lesson to add a new dimension to the learning process. Good tutors tend to prepare materials for every lesson..

How much does Preply cost?

Rates differ wildly on Preply depending on many factors such as the language pair, the tutor’s experience and their education.

While I was on the site looking for an advanced Russian tutor, I found prices from as little as $5 per hour, and some as much as $45. 

Remember, after your trial lesson, you will need to pay for a package of five hours or more in one bulk, so keep this in mind when purchasing your first set of lessons. 

There's also a refund policy in place where you can receive 100% of your money back if you’re dissatisfied with your lesson.

What are the requirements to teach for Preply?

To become a language teacher on Preply, you must be fluent or a native speaker in the language you are going to teach. 

Suppose you want to teach different subjects like physics, history or even arts and crafts. In that case, Preply asks that you have prior knowledge of the topic in terms of qualifications or professional experience.

You don’t actually have to have teaching experience to work on Preply, though having some will definitely help your profile to stand out amongst the many other tutors. 

Technical requirements are necessary to teach on Preply. These include a speedy and reliable internet connection, access to Skype and a webcam. A decent headset with a microphone is also a good idea. 

What is the interview process for Preply?

Becoming a teacher on Preply is a pretty simple process.

Simply head to their website and sign up for a free tutor account.

You’ll need to fill in a detailed teacher profile, including an introduction video and any qualifications that you might have, as well as setting your timezone and availability. 

Your profile will then be sent off to get approved. Once it’s approved, students will be able to book you for lessons.

How much does Preply pay tutors? 

Tutors on Preply can set their own rates, and there are no limitations to these.

From what I could see, the average hourly rate seemed to hover around the $20 mark, though quite a few tutors were charging much less and much more. 

Preply is free to use for tutors, but they do take a commission from earnings. 

First of all, Preply will take 100% of the lesson fee for the first lesson you teach with a new student.

Afterwards, Preply uses a tiered based system to work out their commission. Starting at 33%, their commission will eventually reduce to 18% once you have hit the 400-hour milestone. 

Tutors can withdraw their money at any stage, via Payoneer, Paypal or Skrill. 

What are the Benefits of Using Preply?

Benefits for students
  • Connect with native speakers from the comfort of your home
  • Variety of hourly rates to suit most budgets
  • Tutors with a variety of experience levels to choose from
Benefits for tutors
  • No prior teaching experience required
  • Freedom to teach multiple subjects
  • Set your own rates
  • Increase your rates as you gain more experience

Get started with Preply

What are the Negatives of Using Preply?

Cons for students
  • You can't pay for one class at a time, you must bulk buy
  • Teaching credits disappear after 12 months
Cons for tutors
  • Preply takes 100% of the lesson fee for the first lesson with a new student
  • High commission structure until you become experienced on the platform
  • Must spend time marketing yourself to compete with other tutors

Preply vs italki

italki is one of Preply’s main competitors, offering the same convenient services and connecting students to teachers from all corners of the globe.

As one of the first tutor marketplaces of its kind, italki probably has the widest variety of tutors to choose from. For this reason, you’ll also find the cheapest rates on here too. 

Being a well-established platform also lends itself to providing a wider variety of languages. While Preply may only offer common language pairings, you’re more likely to find tutors who can teach dialects and niche languages on italki.

Like Preply, you do have to pay for lessons in bulk in italki. Unlike Preply, italki differentiates between professional tutors who hold qualifications in teaching and tutors who are new to the profession. 

A great advantage for tutors on italki is that the platform charges a flat 15% commission no matter how many lessons you've taught, and you get paid for trial lessons. Compared to Preply, who takes a 100% commission for your trial lesson and then between 33% and 18% commission for lessons thereafter, this can add up to quite a significant amount.

We’ve already got an extensive review of italki here on Actual Fluency, where we explain why we’re such huge fans of this online language community.

The final verdict on Preply

My first experience with Preply was a great one, and I’m probably going to continue to use the platform to get my Russian speaking back up to scratch and maybe even pick Spanish up again.

I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a convenient way to practice their language skills, or many other skills for that matter. 

If they were to upgrade their video system, adding more interactive features, and perhaps lower their commission rates for tutors, it’d take the top spot. But for now, italki still remains at the top for the best online learning platform.