Cambly vs Preply: Pros & Cons – Tutors’ Edition

Cambly vs Preply, comparing the two language tutoring sites from the tutors' perspective
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Cambly and Preply are two of the top online language tutoring companies out there right now. I have tutored on both of these platforms and, over time, I’ve noticed some things I want to share with you. This page will focus on the pros, cons, and similarities of these two websites as they are from the tutor’s point of view. Some of these are facts and others are opinions or subjective experiences. Either way, it may help you, potential tutors, to make a clearer decision. So let’s get ready and see what we think!

Check for yourself: Cambly; Preply

Read other tutor reviews: from Preply tutors; from Cambly tutors

Similarities

First off, the most obvious similarity between Cambly and Preply is that they are both language learning platforms, and pretty good ones at that. Both sites are largely popular and sought after by students from all over the world. For the tutors, these sites make available a connection and video/audio test so that tutors can be sure these things are functioning. They also both have teaching materials ready to use and good support teams to help tutors, including groups for fellow teachers to assist each other.

The platforms allow tutors to essentially choose their own work times and days, though in different ways. Both platforms, like most language tutoring sites, do require that tutors use a PC or laptop to conduct the lessons. No phones allowed. Still, they both offer opportunities to connect with people from around the world and enrich our understandings of each other, all while offering professional growth and experience. What’s more satisfying than that?

the Preply tutoring company logo
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Preply: Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • most students search for longer-term tutors & are generally more serious about learning
  • tutors are informed about the student before 1st lessons (where they’re from, what their level and goals are), this eases the uncertainty
  • students can take a placement test which helps tutors understand strengths & weaknesses from the start
  • lessons are normally an hour, so tutors get paid for the full lesson
  • now they have automatic & obligatory lesson confirmations, so you receive payment quicker
  • tutors cash out at any point
  • tutors set the price of their lessons
  • fewer restrictions to share contact information as long as the students confirm lessons on Preply (some students prefer lessons on Zoom, Skype, etc.)
  • the lesson materials setup is a little more sophisticated
  • it’s super easy to make notes in the system and jot down important information for future reference
  • personal opinion, the platform just looks nicer, I love their whiteboard and conversation topics features
  • other languages available to tutor in besides English
Disadvantages
  • tutors have to do a free trial lesson (“free” for them but not for the students), they only earn from the second lesson onward
  • Preply receives commission on all lessons, it starts at a pretty large percentage (I think 33% now) but drops (as low as 18%) as you continue to do more lessons
  • not much else, when getting a student you don’t enjoy you might feel more obligated to stick with them because students generally pay for a package and schedule in advance, also the lessons are usually an hour which can be a lot with students you’re not fond of
the Cambly English tutoring company logo
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Cambly: Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • allows tutors to meet many students from all over the world at a faster rate than most sites, lessons are usually shorter so more students can potentially be met
  • the atmosphere is generally more relaxed since the students come mostly for conversation practice
  • it has been making great improvements in its teaching materials and interface
  • there’s an element of surprise with constantly meeting new students, many interesting people and topics are met and discussed
  • downtime during priority hours can be used to learn more about tutoring (they have a blog for that), learn some other skill, read, or do any other desktop activity
  • there’s an obligatory pre-lesson check for the internet and video/audio, and to make sure tutors are dressed properly, this can be a great reminder
  • lots of influencers promote Cambly and you’re likely to get on someone’s YouTube channel or blog at some point, it can be a nice publicity boost
  • tutors earn for every lesson by the minute, no free trials (for tutors, yes for students)
  • allow for scheduling a lesson with recurring students if you should get any, it does happen
  • ratings are now based on the last 200 student ratings received which helps as tutors continue to do lessons and improve
  • the dashboard shows how many minutes tutors have spent with students all time plus all the money they’ve ever earned, this can be a confidence booster showing your progress
  • tutors on the Cambly groups (like on Facebook) are generally very sweet and helpful
  • they are very protective about sharing information or “meeting” outside the platform, they offer great help for tutors suffering “awkward situations” and are always on the lookout
Disadvantages
  • the rating system can be a little iffy since students can rate even for shorter lessons, this can feel like too much control is with the students, although they have been improving the rating system
  • if tutors happen not to be online at the moment the lesson starts, they aren’t allowed to continue that priority hour (needed to get online and teach), this hurts future availability for those, sometimes unexpected things happen and this can be a bummer
  • tutors may get lots of short lessons and you’re only paid per minute, so you often don’t receive for the entire priority hour you scheduled
  • tutors may potentially have to wait for long periods of time until they can reach a single student some days and not get paid for waiting time
  • only allow cashout after earning a certain amount ($20) and only on Mondays
  • most students (in my experience) don’t continue with the same tutors which is a shame since most of them are really nice and you might want to keep up their lessons
  • although the atmosphere is often relaxed, there may be students who are out with friends, kids playing with the phone, people out in the street, or someone just forcing an English session in before bed, these casual situations can be challenging to navigate since their attention might not be fully on English practice
  • also, since it’s more casual there’s a higher chance of getting someone who is out where the connection is bad and the video quality is poor or choppy
  • every now and then there’s someone on the support groups that is irritated with new tutors asking the same old questions and can be a little offensive, it’s rare but something to be aware of
  • they are very restrictive about sharing information or “meeting” outside the platform, I know this is for the safety of students and tutors but can be a drag in some situations, plus it can feel like you’re always being spied on

In Conclusion …

So, I know the lists look really lopsided up there, but the best choice comes from personal preference. With Cambly, I really love the wide range of people I’m able to meet from all walks of life. I’ve gotten calls from guys at hookah bars and teenagers at recess and vendors at shops.

There’s a connection to people’s everyday life that I’ve experienced nowhere else. I’m just a bit socially anxious, and so the constant feeling of not knowing who I’m going to meet next can be hard on the nerves. Still, that factor could be great for someone else. You might notice that I saw a lot of great things about Preply, but who knows? The fact that they receive commissions on every single lesson and you have to do lessons that you don’t earn for could be a deal-breaker for many.

On the flipside to Cambly, I also enjoy the stability of knowing who you’re going to talk to each time. Both sites have people monitoring lessons to ensure safety, but I never felt “watched” on Preply as I did on Cambly. Either way, I love both of these platforms for their own reasons. I recommend both to any tutors out there, or try to find a better one. There are so many English teaching sites and there’s bound to be one that fits you like a glove.

**I hope I helped you gain some insight on these two fabulous (and a little flawed) websites. Happy tutoring! Read more interesting posts on the Blog and stay tuned for Preply vs Cambly, Students’ Edition! Comment what you think the better site is, or tell us about a site you like even more than these two. Contact me directly at tietewaller@gmail.com or to collaborate with me! Thanks again, and take care of each other.