Course Hero Review – is it a scam?

Course Hero is an education technology website that allows students and educators to upload and share study resources with each other.Course Hero

In our Course Hero review, we’ll let you know if it’s worth using.

Back before the internet, college and university students were limited to their classmates and campus resources like professors and the library. You had to leave your dorm room and seek out help from these sources.

When the internet was invented, someone decided that crowdsourcing education was a good idea, and so sites like Course Hero sprung into existence. Students share their study materials on the site and get to see other people’s study materials in exchange.

It sounds too good to be true, and some people have even lobbed scam accusations at the site.

Read the rest of our Course Hero review below to see what I think.


1.) What is Course Hero? Course Hero is an education technology website where students and educators can upload documents and share study resources. It was founded in 2006 by a Cornell student named Andrew Grauer so he and his fellow students could share resources. Course Hero is now based in Redwood, California.

2.) How does Course Hero work? Course Hero is crowdsourced, meaning you have to contribute to Course Hero’s library of resources and/or community of students and educators to take advantage of everything on the site. Users earn unlocks and tutor questions through a variety of actions, such as rating other’s resources or sharing their own.

3.) What types of study resources/documents are on Course Hero? Course Hero has study guides, practice problems, video lessons, and class notes in basically every school subject.

4.) Does Course Hero have a mobile app? Yes. They have an app for iOS and Android.

5.) How many study resources does Course Hero have? Course Hero has over 25 million course-specific study resources.

6.) How do you earn free tutor questions? At the start, you are given 2 for creating an account, 2 for verifying your email, and 5 for logging into the mobile app for the first time. As for uploading documents, you are given 3 questions for the first 10 documents, 6 more when you upload 30 total documents, and 6 more when you reach 60 documents. After that, you are given 8 per friend you refer, 1 per tutor question you tag to a course.

7.) How do you earn free unlocks? You earn 5 per 10 documents you upload, 3 per quiz you create, 1 per 5 of your documents being unlocked by others, 1 per 5 of your documents receiving a thumbs-up, and 1 per 5 pieces of other peoples’ content you rate.

8.) Do tutor questions expire? Yes. They expire within 30 days of them being credited to your account.

9.) Can I redeem tutor questions for cash if I don’t want them? No.

10.) How long do unlocked documents stay unlocked? They stay unlocked for your entire subscription.

11.) What are Practice Problems? Practice Problems gives you additional study material. It pulls information from Course Hero’s library of resources and creates small problems sets for you to study with. Practice Problems is currently free, as it’s still in beta.

12.) How many times can I do practice problems? You can redo the same practice problems as many times as you want by clicking restart. Once you exit a problem set, the problems will change.

13.) How does tutoring work on Course Hero? All you do is type out your question, pick the subject it’s for, and submit it on the tutor screen. A tutor should have an answer for you in minutes. If their answer is sufficient, you can accept it.

14.) What if a tutor doesn’t answer my question sufficiently? You can follow up with your tutor for additional clarification. If they still don’t answer your question, you can flag the answer as “unhelpful”. Course Hero sends a Question Processor to evaluate the situation. Usually, the question will be canceled and you’ll get your tutor question back. You can follow this process if their answer is incorrect as well.

15.) How do I become a Course Hero tutor? You’ll need to fill in their application form with some basic personal information, your country of residence, your highest level of education, a brief description of your teaching or tutoring experience, and where you heard of Course Hero.

16.) How many hours do tutors work? Tutors set their own hours. You can work as much or as little as you want.

17.) How much do tutors make? Course Hero claims their top tutors make $500 per week. Your results will be a lot less at first, though, as you need to earn ratings for your tutoring. The higher your rating, the more money you can earn.

18.) What subjects can I teach as a tutor? Subjects include art/humanities, business, engineering/tech, foreign languages, history, math, science, and social studies. There are a ton of specialties within each subject you can choose from.

19.) Do I need to be a professor or certified tutor to become a Course Hero tutor? No. Course Hero does not provide strict requirements, but you need to at least be educated beyond high school in your subject of choice. The more credentials and experience you have, the more likely they’ll accept your application.

20.) How long until I hear back regarding my tutor application? They receive a high volume of applications, so they can’t guarantee you’ll get a response, let alone within a certain time frame. Again, the more credentials and experience you can display, the faster you’ll get a response.

21.) How much does Course Hero cost? Course Hero has a free subscription with limited access to Course Hero resources. However, you can earn tutor question and unlock resources by uploading your own documents and referring others to Course Hero.

22.) Does Course Hero have a free trial? No. Course Hero basic membership is free.

23.) Are there any upsells? Course Hero’s Premier subscription is the only upsell. Premier subscribers get 30 unlocks per month. You get 10 tutor questions on the monthly plan, 20 tutor questions on the 3-month plan, and 40 tutor questions on the yearly plan.

24.) How much does a Premier subscription cost? It normally costs $39.95 per month. However, you can opt to pay for 3 months at a time or a year at a time. Paying 3 months at a time costs $59.85, which is equivalent to $19.95 per month. Paying a year at a time costs $119.40, which is equivalent to $9.95 per month. You can change or pause your subscription at any time.

25.) Do Premier unlocks roll over from month to month? No. Your unlocks reset to 30 every month no matter what.

26.) What is the educator platform? Course Hero allows educators access to their library of documents so educators can customize their course materials. Educators can earn unlocks and unlock documents the same way students can.

27.) What is Course Hero’s refund policy? If your GPA for the semester in which you first subscribe to Course Hero Premier is less than your GPA from the academic term immediately prior to your subscription, Course Hero will give you a full refund. To request this, you’ll have to provide them with copies of your transcripts. Tutor answers are non-refundable. You may cancel your subscription at any time to avoid being billed for your next month, 3 months, or year.

28.) Does Course Hero have an affiliate program? Yes. Affiliates can earn 10% commissions per referral. To become an affiliate, you have to join through an affiliate network they’ve partnered with. To use Course Hero branded banners and other marketing materials, you have to create a Course Hero account and register for a developer API key. Alternatively, they have a “refer-a-friend” program. Each referral through this program earns you 8 free tutor questions.

29.) What is an affiliate network? Affiliate networks are intermediaries between affiliate marketers and companies with affiliate programs. They help companies reach a much larger audience for more sales. Examples include Clickbank and CommissionsJunction.

30.) Which affiliate networks offer Course Hero’s affiliate program? Skimlinks, VigLink, ShareASale, FlexOffers, and CommissionJunction.

31.) What is Course Hero’s BBB rating? A+

32.) Is Course Hero a scam? No. Due to its crowdsourced nature, it has to be a legit platform or it would go under because people would stop contributing in order to gain access to other documents.

33.) Isn’t using Course Hero considered cheating? No. It’s similar to having a large study group where everyone’s sharing materials and ideas. Course Hero claims they don’t tolerate cheating, plagiarism, or copyright infringement and they will permanently ban anyone who engages in any of those actions.

34.) What constitutes cheating on Course Hero? Cheating includes copying and submitting materials as your own work, uploading recordings of lectures in the same term you recorded them, using Course Hero resources when told not to use outside help, and using Course Hero in a way that violates the academic honor code of your instructor and/or school.

35.) Comparable companies: Chegg, Kahoot, Quizlet, StudyBlue

Course Hero Review – Overview

Course Hero is a crowdsourced online learning platform for students and educators to share study resources like notes and study guides.

Similar to Facebook, Course Hero started in a dorm. In 2006, a Cornell student named Andrew Grauer started Course Hero so he and his fellow students could share course materials in case people didn’t pay attention in classes.

Now, Course Hero boasts over 10 million student users contributing to and studying on its platform.

It works by incentivizing students to share their study materials through an unlock system. Students gain access to the documents they need by sharing their own study materials, allowing the platform to thrive.

As you’d expect, Course Hero has had its fair share of criticism.

There’re the accusations of scams.

Some think Course Hero’s resources cause students to care less about learning and more about grades, while others simply accuse the site of allowing mass cheating.

I can see where they’re coming from, but keep reading our Course Hero review for more info.


Course Hero has both its main website and a mobile app. Course Hero’s main features are its library of crowdsourced study materials uploaded by students, its team of online tutors you can either seek help from or join, its scholarship opportunities, its educator accounts, and their new practice problems feature that is still being beta tested. Users earn unlocks and tutor questions to access the first two.

The types of study materials on Course Hero include notes, essays, homework help, study guides, and lab reports.

These documents can be viewed in full and downloaded with earnable unlocks. When you unlock a document, you have access to it for the entirety of your subscription. Earning tutor questions let you seek help from Course Hero’s online tutors.

Most documents let you see a page or two to make sure the document you’re about to unlock is relevant to what you’re looking for.

To find study materials, you can type what you’re looking for into Course Hero’s search bar.

Alternatively, you can search by school, subject, or book. Searching by subject is a great way to find specific study guides, while searching by book is useful for English or literature classes.

Further study materials are available in the form of their practice problems.

Course Hero draws on its library of study materials to create practice problems. After you complete a problem set, you can repeat the same problems as many time as you want by clicking restart. Once you exit a problem set, you can do another problem set with brand new questions.

This is currently free as Course Hero is in the middle of beta testing it, so take advantage while you can.

For personalized help, tutors are available 24/7 to answer your homework questions.

To get help from a tutor, ask your question, pick the subject you need help with, and a tutor will help you out. You can rate your tutor afterward. If you tried your best to get an answer from the tutors but they couldn’t help, you can have your tutor question given back to you.

Usually, tutors are fast about answering questions. In fact, several tutors are able to help you at the same time.

But to speed up the process, you have to be as specific as possible in your questions.

The tutors are fellow Course Hero users, meaning you can become a tutor and get paid to help others.

As a tutor, you’ll be helping your fellow Course Hero students.

Tutors get to pick their subject and set their own hours. You don’t need to show up anywhere either, so it makes for a decent side hustle.

Course Hero claims their top tutors earn $500 a week on average. That’s not bad side cash for an easy job you can do on your own time.

To become one, all you have to do is fill out their short application. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a response, though. Course Hero gets a ton of applications every day, and they can’t possibly respond to all of them.

I’d recommend listing all your relevant credentials and experience when you’re applying for a tutoring position. The more reasons you give them to hire you, the more likely you’ll get a timely response.

Unlocks can be earned a few ways.

For every 10 documents you upload, you earn 5 unlocks. Once these are uploaded, you earn 1 unlock for every 5 people that unlock a document of yours. 5 thumbs-up rating earns you another unlock.

You can even make quizzes for your uploaded study materials, which earn you 3 unlocks per quiz.

Most of your tutor questions are earned during the account creation process, while some can be earned through uploads.

Creating your account and verifying your email earn you 2 tutor questions each, while logging in with the mobile app for the first time nets you 5 more.

As for document uploads, you get 3 questions for the first 10 uploads, 6 more when you hit 30 total uploads, and another 6 questions when you hit 50 total uploads.

Sometimes, tutor questions will be relevant to a course on Course Hero. If you accept the tutor’s question, you can tag the tutor question to a course if prompted and earn back your tutor question.

Lastly, you can refer friends and earn 8 questions per referral.

Both unlocks and tutor questions take an hour or so to credit to your account once you upload a document, so don’t be alarmed if they don’t show up right away.

If you need help paying for school, they’ve got scholarships on there too.

Course Hero’s scholarships are really easy to apply for if you meet their application criteria. Most of them require a short answer, but some of the larger ones involve a bit of essay writing.

They change up the scholarships all the time, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re in school.

Educators can use Course Hero as well.

Course Hero offers accounts to educators so they can customize lesson plans using materials in Course Hero’s library. Unlocking these documents works the same for educators as it does for students.


Course Hero’s main upsell is it’s Premier subscription. A Premier subscription gives you 30 unlocks a month, but your unlocks don’t roll over. Monthly subscribers get 10 tutor questions, quarterly (3 month) subscribers get 20 tutor questions, and yearly subscribers get 40 tutor questions.

Unfortunately, tutor questions don’t roll over. Once you use them, you’ll have to buy more or earn them as if you had a free membership.

For what you get, Premier doesn’t seem to be worth the price. If you’re a student, you probably don’t have the money or the willingness to spend the money anyways.

You might as well skip the upsell and earn your unlocks and tutor questions the free way.


Course Hero’s basic subscription is free. The Premier subscription has 3 pricing options. You can $39.95 per month, $59.85 per 3 months, or $119.40 per year.

Opting for the 3-month option saves you $20 per month. The yearly option yields you $30 in savings.

If you’re a college student who’s always seeking out additional study resources, that yearly price might be worth it. If you simply have a hard semester, then the 3-month option might be better.

The monthly option isn’t really a great value unless you’re desperate and don’t have a lot of study documents yourself. You can always upload study materials and refer friends to earn free unlocks and questions.

Speaking of unlocks, you can only buy more of them if you have a Premier membership. Tutor questions can be bought at $3 a piece if you don’t want to earn them.

Affiliate Program

Course Hero has an affiliate program where affiliates can earn 10% commissions per referral. The affiliate program is run through various affiliate networks. These include Skimlinks, VigLink, ShareASale, Flexoffers, and CommissionJunction.

The affiliate networks Course Hero works with could change, so keep an eye out for that.

Course hero also provides you with branded icons and banners to market their site. To gain access to those, you must have an account and register for a Course Hero developer API key.

The refer a friend program isn’t exactly an affiliate program, but it does earn you a lot of tutor questions. Since tutor questions don’t roll over even for Premier subscribers, make sure to have a steady referral stream if you need a lot of tutor help.


Course Hero is definitely not a scam. In fact, it can’t be a scam or it wouldn’t exist in the first place.

Think about it.

If students didn’t benefit from Course Hero, then students wouldn’t contribute study materials to the platform. Course Hero would soon go under.

Based on their 10 million+ users, it doesn’t look too scammy to me.

I think crowdsourced education enhances the learning experience. It’s like having one large study group that’s willing to share all their resources with you and only you, as long as you give a little bit back.

Now, I can see why people equate using Course Hero with cheating. But how is browsing notes or getting tutor help online any different than sharing your notes with your classmates or visiting a tutor on campus?

Not to mention Course Hero bans anyone found violating their strict standards on cheating and copyright infringement.

Crowdsourced education is powerful, and Course Hero is a great example.

However, I’ll Paypal you $500 if you show me a better business to start than our method.

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