CliffsNotes review

CliffsNotes does not offer writing services, so its use in a study process is very limited.

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Unlike most other websites we have reviewed for you, which are not older than a couple of decades old, CliffNotes was launched in 1958, which makes it 61 years old in 2019. Of course, it was not originally started as a web service — at first, it was a collection of book reviews and tips for students.

Then, when the internet started to become a force to be reckoned with, Cliff’s Notes moved its operations to the online realm. Right now, the service positions itself as a one-stop-shop for the education needs of the students around the world. However, the selection of services offered by Clif Notes is not as large as we’d hoped.

You will not find any academic writers ready to complete your essays and other assignments at CliffsNotes. Instead, the website has a sizeable collection of study guides on numerous subjects, as well as literature notes. Moreover, CliffsNotes can be used for test prep if you have SAT, ACT, or GRE test coming up.

Pricing and

We were pleasantly surprised to see many of the materials at Cliff Notes being available absolutely for free. In fact, you don’t even need to create an account in order to access those materials. The free materials include literature reviews and study guides. The study guides are pretty complete and contain not only information about the work, but also tests and other study tools to help you better understand the topic. The test prep feature, however, is only available at a price.

At CliffsNotes, you can access the following paid features:

Study guides

You can get access to the complete literature reviews and study guides, complete with tests, lesson plans, and other things to help you understand the piece.

Test prep

Take part in practice tests and study the most relevant materials for your SAT, ACT, or GRE test. Each test course is priced differently, so make sure to pay attention to that.

Professional exams

If you are getting ready to start a career in the military, real estate, or police, you will have to take a series of tests, and Cliffs Notes can help you prepare.

Mobile app

The mobile app, which is only available for the iOS platform, is itself free, but you will need to pay $1.99 for each course or guide you want to access through it.

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Quality of work execution

A quick look at the materials posted on the CliffsNotes website reveals that the quality of writing there is slightly higher than average, although it is often unstable. Some materials are very well-written and it’s clear that they are the result of a professional job. They contain numerous facts and can be very helpful in your quest to get a deeper understanding of literature and particular works. However, that is not always the case with Cliffs Notes.

Some of the study guides and tests published on the website significantly lack the quality and refinement needed to achieve success in the study process. We have encountered more than one work where everything, from the vocabulary choice to the punctuation, had problems. Given that the ratio of good to subpar study guides is about 50/50, you will need to be rather careful when looking for high quality materials needed for your next assignment.



Considering the fact that most CliffsNotes services are available on a paid basis and that you have to spend a significant amount of money to access the relevant materials on the Cliffs Notes website, we expected the service to offer some substantial guarantees.

Instead, the only guarantee we found on the website is that all study guides and test prep materials are written by real teachers. However, since there are no teacher bios on the website, there is really no way for the customer to confirm this fact.

Payment options

We checked the website back and forth, but we could not find any information on which payment options are offered to the customers. We would assume that you can pay for the materials with a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card, but the lack of a PayPal logo anywhere on the website makes us think they don’t support these safe and secure payments.

What was even more troubling to us is that we could not locate any evidence that CliffsNotes offers refunds to the customers. Their decision to limit the refunds is understandable, since there are users who will pay for a membership, download the necessary materials, and then cancel the membership and try to get their money back. However, that is not the only case where you could need a refund. You can make the payment by accident or make a double payment, but it is highly doubtful that you can get your payment reversed.


We tried to get a 100% fair opinion about Cliffs Notes, which is why we looked at hundreds of reviews of the service on the internet. There are no testimonials on the CliffsNotes website and we had to look for reviews on third party websites, but, at the end of the day, we found everything we needed to know about the service from them. The public opinion on CliffsNotes is uneven and largely depends on the individual customer’s expectations.

Customers who were looking for a knowledge database to use in their studies were generally satisfied with the CliffsNotes service. They found the selection of materials versatile and adequate, and the various test prep tools are also considered to be rather helpful by users of all academic levels. However, many customers actually required an essay writing solution and were disappointed to see that this is not what Cliffs Notes offers at all. There are no academic writers ready to write your assignments, which is definitely something to take into account when making the decision.


We have gathered for you the
Pros and Cons


Study materials

With the many literature study guides posted on CliffsNotes, you can get the help you need.

Test prep

We really liked the feature that allows you to prepare not only for standard ACT or SAT tests, but also professional exams.

Limited services

Study guides and test prep are the only two things you can ever get from Cliffs Notes.

App prices

When you download the CliffsNotes app, you need to pay for each study guide individually, which can turn out to take a toll on your budget.

No writers

What you see at Cliffs Notes is all you get — there is no dedicated writer to help you individually.


CliffsNotes is not a bad service is you know exactly what you are looking for. If you don’t need a professional academic writer to do your assignments and only need study guides to support your educational quest, you can be rather happy with Cliffs Notes. However, even in this situation, we consider the selection of subjects and works on the website rather limited, which means you may not always find relevant materials for your studies.

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