May 23, 2024
Interested in using CourseHero for your studying needs? Read on to learn about their free and paid options, hidden fees and features, and tips for maximizing your studies. Also, compare CourseHero against other free study sites and understand the pros and cons of their free option.


If you scroll through social media or browse online study groups, chances are you’ve seen someone mention CourseHero. It’s an online platform that provides access to millions of study resources, such as study guides, lecture notes, and textbooks. But what’s the catch? Can you actually use it for free? That’s the question we’ll be exploring in this article, delving into CourseHero’s features, limitations, and potential hidden fees. So whether you’re a college student or a lifelong learner, read on to find out if CourseHero is the study platform for you.

Breaking Down CourseHero’s Free and Paid Features: What You Need to Know

First things first: let’s talk about CourseHero’s free option. If you sign up for a free account, you’ll be able to browse and view study documents, as well as ask and answer questions in CourseHero’s online community. However, keep in mind that some materials may be blurred out or require you to upload your own notes in order to gain “unlock” access.

If you’re looking for more comprehensive features, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription. With a CourseHero subscription, you’ll have access to:

  • Unlimited document views and downloads
  • 24/7 homework help from tutors
  • Expert Q&A with course-specific educators
  • Practice problems and study guides

When deciding whether to upgrade, consider how much you’ll use these features and how essential they are to your study needs. If you’re only looking for occasional help, it might not be worth paying the subscription fee.

Is CourseHero Actually Free? Deconstructing the Fine Print

As with any online platform, it’s important to read the fine print. CourseHero does have a subscription fee, which is $9.95 per month for a monthly plan or $59.95 per year for an annual plan. However, you may be able to access some materials without paying depending on your own contributions to the community. When you upload documents, you’ll earn “Unlocks” which can be used to access other papers or notes.

Another limitation to keep in mind is that CourseHero doesn’t have access to every study material. It all depends on how many users have uploaded documents on certain topics. With that in mind, you may need to use multiple platforms or search engines to find the specific resources you need for a given subject.

Finally, reviews of CourseHero do have concerns about the platform having “hidden fees”. When ending a subscription or crawling through the website, there are chances that fees could occur for certain features. So be wary and read everything carefully.

How to Use CourseHero’s Free Option to Maximize Your Studying

Regardless of whether or not you’re paying for a CourseHero subscription, there are ways to make the most of their free option. Here are some tips:

  • Browse and preview documents to see if they’re relevant before using an “unlock”
  • Use CourseHero’s online community to ask and answer questions or consult others’ insights
  • Upload your own notes or papers to earn “Unlock” credits towards accessing more materials
  • Consider using previews as a supplement rather than a replacement for reading your textbooks or attending class

While the free options aren’t comprehensive, they can still provide valuable insights and content for your studying efforts. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written study guide or practice quiz!

CourseHero vs. Other Free Study Sites: Which is the Best for You?

Of course, CourseHero isn’t the only study platform out there. Here are some other options to consider:

  • Quizlet – a site featuring flashcards and quizzes for a wide variety of subjects and topics
  • StudyBlue – a platform similar to CourseHero that provides study resources and quiz features
  • Khan Academy – a non-profit organization that offers free online courses and educational videos on a wide variety of subjects

When deciding which platform is right for you, consider what features are most important to your studying needs, as well as what fits your budget and time constraints. Some of these options may have more limited resources or access than CourseHero, but they may be a solid alternative for those not looking to pay a subscription fee.

The Pros and Cons of CourseHero’s Free Option

As with any platform, there are benefits and limitations to using CourseHero’s free option. Here are some of the pros and cons:

Advantages of CourseHero’s Free Option

  • Access to millions of study resources from a variety of subjects
  • Community-based support options, including online Q&A forums
  • Opportunities to earn “unlock” credits by uploading your own materials

Limitations of CourseHero’s Free Option

  • Limited access to certain documents depending on user uploads
  • Blurred or blocked content that requires an “unlock” to view
  • Paid subscription required for more comprehensive features and full access to resources


So, is CourseHero actually free? Yes and no. While you can sign up for a free account and gain access to some content and community features, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee for more comprehensive access to resources or expert help. It’s up to you to decide whether the paid features are worth the investment, or if sticking with the free options will suffice for your studying needs.

Whichever route you choose, make the most of the resources available to you. Use CourseHero as a supplement to your textbooks and lectures, rather than a replacement. Explore other free study sites to see what options work best for you. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to contribute your own insights and resources to share with others on the platform.

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