Expert Review 2021

cliffsnotes com review



  • Benefits
  • – Easy to navigate and user-friendly website
  • – Free revisions
  • – Offered services in more than 40 fields
  • Total
  • 15Professionalism
  • 12Quality
  • 10Functionality
  • 10Reliability
  • Pricing
  • From $20
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November, 2021 Last Update

Studying at school, college, and university requires a lot of energy and time to write various academic papers. Therefore, many students look for guides on writing essays, dissertations, term papers to simplify the work. In such guides, basic recommendations are contained, a plan, a structure for future work, and formatting requirements are determined.

In any educational institution, guides have been developed in all disciplines so that students have a chance to successfully write a project when the teachers do not have time to explain the material. After all, following the instructions, you can cope independently with a task of any complexity. However, there are so many academic papers that sometimes simple guides from an educational institution are unsuitable. Students have to look for instructions for writing papers created by the Ministry of Education.

Students have a very busy schedule, so they don’t have time to analyze all the guides. Hence they are looking for a shortened version of the guide. Today there are specialized platforms that provide students with brief information on how to write any project. One of these platforms is If you analyze the official website, you will find many positive reviews from users. However, it would help if you understood that the founder could post these reviews. Therefore, we wrote an honest review to get to the bottom of the truth and show you the real side of the company.

What Is

CliffsNotes is an online cheat notes platform that provides tutorials. According to the company, teachers and professors create all of these manuals and teaching materials, which managers carefully select. If we plunge into history a little, we learned that the company has existed for a long time. Clifton Keith Hillegass founded CliffsNotes. The company’s founder grew up in an ordinary family and, after graduating from college, decided to work at Long’s College Bookstore.

When he worked at a bookstore, he collaborated and was friends with Jack Cole, who owned Coles, The Book People. Clifton’s friend was already releasing tutorials at the time called Cole’s Notes. However, Jack released these notes in Canada, and Jack then invited Clifton to release his notes for American students. This is how the CliffsNotes company was born – in 1958, Clifton Keith Hillegass published 16 Shakespeare manuals.

At the age of 83, Clifton died, and the company passed into the hands of young executives. Well, the story of the creation of this company is a bit like the success story of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, or Dolce Gabbana and is really mesmerizing. However, what is happening with the online reputation of this brand now? To understand this, we examined Sitejabber Unfortunately, there are no comments from students.

We analyzed Reddit. Many students advise other students to look for alternatives to CliffsNotes. They report that the tutorials are very outdated and of poor quality. To make sure of this, we have carefully studied everything and prepared an honest review.

The Offered Services

The company creates hundreds of study guides in various disciplines. Their main service is writing manuals for students. You can use the following materials:

  • Tutorials. The site has tutorials in 40 disciplines. Today there are many more disciplines, and 40 is a big disadvantage because thousands of students can not get help. Competitors offer tutorials on 80 disciplines, and here loses. All tutorials contain multiple sections for easy reading and understanding of the information. These sections also cover various aspects of a particular discipline. Most of the textbooks contain texts, so you can easily consolidate the theoretical knowledge.
  • Literary notes. Here you can find over 350 literature reviews. Each review includes a summary of the literature. This way, you can quickly find out what the book is about. Unfortunately, there is no information on the date of publication of the book and the author’s biography. Therefore, you will have to spend time looking for this data, which is very inconvenient. Writers provide information about the characters, but the description of the characters is concise and will not work for an extensive essay. You can also find chapter retellings, quizzes, and reference books.
  • Preparing for the test. Quite an exciting service, because each of you can prepare for the test without expensive tutors. The company offers preparation for exams at the following academic levels: middle school, high school, college, professional. There are many tests here: SAT, ACT, GMAT, and others – the Test Preparation section is also divided into several sections. For example, you can read the description of the test. Therefore, you can know in advance what to expect from the tests.

We want to draw your attention to an essential aspect – CliffsNotes does not have special licenses that would confirm the company’s authority or testify to the authors’ competence. Therefore, trusting their papers, you run the risk of making mistakes when writing projects. Consequently, we are ready to answer the popular question – Is legal? No, the CliffsNotes team is made up of people with no academic achievements. Prices and Discount

CliffsNotes claims to generate profits from the ads they publish. Therefore, they provide tutorials, guides, and literary reviews for free. However, there is a fee for exam preparation plans. If you are a resident of the United States, then you will have to pay for a book on tests from $ 17 to $ 20. The company is engaged in international transportation, and then their services will cost you more. If you compare CliffsNotes with online stores that resell books on examinations from previous years, then the pricing policy of CliffsNotes is high. In cheaper alternatives to, you can buy similar books for $ 11.

How about the promo code? Well, the company does not offer discounts to either newcomers or regular users. So be prepared to pay the full cost, and this is where a problem comes in, by the way. 

Payment Method and Secure

Many of these companies offer several payment methods. However, in CliffsNotes, you will not find a payment section. This is very inconvenient for the buyer because it is much better to pay through one platform and prove that you paid this particular company in case of problems.

To pay for their services, you will have to go to the official Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website. Then in this algorithm, you can make a purchase:

  • Create an account on the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website. If you are already registered there, please enter your account.
  • If you are a teacher, create an individual account. If you are a student, then select this item. The company requires you to agree to the terms of use and enter the captcha.
  • Select your academic level and the Test Preparation section.
  • Click – Buy. The company will add the item to the shopping cart.
  • Place an order, specifying personal information: name, delivery address, phone number, city, postal code, etc.
  • Pay for the order. You can use debit or credit cards and online wallets.

The buying process is pretty simple, but you need to register and spend valuable time on unnecessary steps. Is the company of safe when you pay? There is no mark on the website to confirm that the payment is secure. There are also no reliable methods for encrypting visitors’ data. Therefore, do not risk your own money, because books may not get to you.

Special Features

In addition to the above services, the company provides special features:

  • Exam preparation plans. Thanks to this plan, you can allocate time and prepare better for the exam. If you choose to prepare for the SAT, the company will offer you a 2-month plan, a 1-month plan, and a 1-week plan. These plans do not provide advice on how to complete the tests. There are also no trial tests, so the value of this service is rather dubious – just another opportunity to earn extra money.
  • Exam preparation books. For each of the exams, the company produces dedicated paperback books. The books are quite large – at least 400 pages. The book contains a description of tests, research on the subject, and the tests themselves.
  • Mobile app. In Google Play, you can find the CliffsNotes application, but its rating is very low – 2.4 / 5. People often wrote that the application does not open, knocks out various errors, and loads pages poorly.

Yes, the company has many exciting ideas, but they have not been fully implemented. If the company had focused on a few services and allocated enough time to them, there would be more significant benefits to students.

Quality of Service

Some of the guides and tutorials are well written and contain interesting facts. However, upon closer analysis, we found that these materials raise more disciplinary questions than they answer. Most of the literature reviews are very short and do not fully cover the topic. For example, there are no facts in the reviews that would describe the essence and purpose of the book. If you used their essay materials, the professor would reject your paper.

Note that the authors of CliffNotes sometimes write questionable facts, and if you rewrite this information, teachers may accuse you of lying. For example, one of the reviews describes a scene that was never present in the source. Thus, relying on CliffNotes materials, you risk getting a low grade.

The company advises, in its defense, that students are better off reading the books themselves and using the website as an additional source of information. A company that positions itself as a training assistant is not like that and disclaims its obligations when problems arise.

If the company has committed itself to provide short notes, then it must be truthful. The student does not have a lot of time to analyze all the books. When they get to this website, they will not understand the accuracy and reliability of the written facts. The company understands this and enjoys the confidence of students.

Based on this, we are ready to answer another popular question – Is good? No, because the guides are not very informative. Notes contain only the surface of the iceberg and do not highlight difficult points. For example, there is no advice on structuring and formatting a thesis, dissertation, or other academic paper. Therefore, here you will hardly get high-quality help.

Customer Service Review

CliffsNotes decided that they did not need a support service that would instantly answer user questions. In addition, the company did not develop an online chat where people could report their problems, and agents helped to solve them. CliffsNotes has created an email communication form. However, this is a long-outdated form and does not guarantee that you will receive a response. The letter may end up in spam. If the letter reaches the addressee, be prepared to wait for an answer in a couple of days, a week. Therefore, CliffsNotes loses compared to competitors in terms of communication.


The company makes no guarantees. If you want to get your money back because you didn’t like the exam preparation books, you can’t do that. There is no refund policy. There is also no preview of the materials, so you buy a cat in a poke. Therefore, guarantees are another disadvantage of CliffsNotes.

Pros and Cons 

To finally understand if CliffsNotes is easy to use, we have compiled the following table:

The company has existed for a long time and has a fascinating history of creation.Exam preparation books are overpriced.
An extensive list of services.Lack of 24/7 support.
An extensive list of tutorials in various subjects.There is no money-back guarantee.
Original special features.Bad online reputation.
The website is easy to use.Lack of discounts.
The company does not have a license confirming the authority of the materials.
You cannot pay for books on the website.

Our Verdict

Having analyzed all aspects of the assessment, we are ready to give a verdict. The company has both strengths and weaknesses. For example, the list of services is quite extensive and distinguishes the company from its competitors. You can also find many guides for different disciplines. However, the weaknesses outweigh. The main disadvantage is the lack of a license that would confirm the authors’ competence and the authority of the guides.

Moreover, they are poorly written. In case of problems, you cannot get quick help. To pay for the books, you have to go to another website – the company shifts the responsibility to another firm. Therefore, in many ways, is cheating. Therefore, our rating is 16/100. We strongly recommend that you do not use the advice, guides, and tutorials of these writers because they are not authoritative in academic circles.

Choose Reliable Tutorials Service With Our Help

For many years, we have been helping students avoid cooperation with scammers. If you are confused by the functioning of a company, let our experts know about it, and we will objectively evaluate it. We also offer a list of good tutorial companies that have a high rating by all criteria. They do not cheat, and they provide guarantees and support.


If you still have questions about how works, read the answers below. They will help you decide on cooperation.

Is Legit?

Is legal? No, they work as an amateur company. CliffsNotes does not have special licenses that would confirm the company’s authority or testify to the authors’ competence.

Is Scam?

The company does indeed create guides and tutorials in a variety of disciplines. However, they do not take responsibility for paying for the books. Therefore, is cheating.

How much does it cost to use

Most of the guides and tutorials are free. Exam preparation books cost from $ 17 to $ 20.

Is safe?

Is the company of safe when you pay? We did not find a sign that would confirm safety. Additionally, we did not find any encryption methods. Therefore, you run the risk of losing money and not getting books.

  • Professionalism of Writers
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