How to make the most out of earning from Prolific

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First off what is Prolific? How do I make the most out of Prolific?

If you’ve just signed up, or you want to start earning money for simple online research studies, this post is for you. Prolific is my favourite survey site because the surveys are interesting, the money is good and there are no ads. It will give you all the insider tips and tricks to get the most out of your earning potential. It won’t make you millions but you can make a little side income to see you through. Most of you have come here because you need something that will give your maternity pay a boost. Once you’ve signed up (if you haven’t, here’s the link then come back), you might think the cash and studies will come rolling in but there are some things to do first. If you want some quick tips, scroll down to the end.

What is Prolific?

Prolific Academic is an Oxford University project.  It was set up originally for University students who need to complete research for their studies, and where better to go for that information than the internet.  Academics use it to find recruits for their studies. It only covers academic studies, so they are generally very varied in nature and cover a wide range of topics.  I find that the Studies on Prolific are sometimes far more interesting than surveys elsewhere due to this. They’re not so consumer focused and asking about your car insurance!

The surveys or studies as they are called vary from researcher to researcher and it is very rare you will find two the same. Some studies will last a couple of minutes and others require you to be invited back over a few days or months.

I’ve been paid as little as 50p or over £7 for a single study. The reward for the studies usually corresponds to the amount of time it’s expected to take. The reward usually works out to £5 an hour, but you’re not doing it for an hour. It’s such an easy way to earn during those night feeds and long breastfeeding marathons and baby naps on you. 

Most of the studies do take concentration, they are not like your usual surveys where you can just breeze through, often there will be quality checks to ensure you are actually reading the text. When I first started I didn’t understand one of the questions and they rejected it. If you do not concentrate, answer incorrectly or rush through then you may also see your survey rejected.

Signing up to Prolific

First off, Signing up to Prolific is the first step. It’s pretty straightforward, just click sign up, then there’s a drop down menu where you can choose to participate in studies, or recruit participants. You choose “I want to take part in studies” and fill in your details. You can opt out of promotional emails but still get the studies.

Register here!

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to set up an email address that you use only for survey sites/apps. It helps keep you on top of what you’re doing and means that any emails relating to online money earning won’t be muddled in with your normal emails. It also means you are less likely to miss anything, and you can be in business mode when you check them. If you want to change your email later, you can do that in your dashboard.

Verifying your email

Go to your account and select Trust, you can then choose if you want an email or text to verify. It’s a good idea to verify your account straight away. You can verify via email, phone (SMS) and Facebook.

You can also see an overview of how much money you have in your Prolific account.  Studies are manually approved so earnings won’t be paid until the researcher has completed going through the submissions. It’s usually a few days. The good thing is Prolific automatically approves payments after 21 days.

Your Dashboard is also where you can cash out.  You can cash out any amount from £5 upwards.

Answer the Pre-screening questions

It’s really important that you answer all the pre-screening questions.  Prolific is a rare site in that all the demographics are taken into account BEFORE you get offered any studies.  That means, you only get studies you’re eligible for and in order for them to know which studies you’re eligible for, you need to answer the pre-screening questions. Go back and check the ‘About You’ page at least once a week in case any new questions have been added.


Occasionally you may get a bonus payment from a study.  You will usually be alerted to this possibility at the start of the study but sometimes they come as a surprise.

Most bonus payments are fairly small but I’ve had a one that was over £1.

Bonuses are shown below the Studies on the Manage Studies page.

You can see:

  • The date you were awarded the bonus
  • The title of the study you were awarded the bonus for
  • Name of the researcher &contact button
  • Amount of the bonus

Bonus payments are added to your balance.

Making money from Referrals

Once you’ve been signed up for a couple of weeks, you can start referring people.  You’ll earn 10% of your referral’s first cash out. If you sign up under my referral link, I’ll get 10% of your first cashout. You don’t need a blog, you can share your referral link on social media, talk about it in person and send it to friends, send it to your email contacts and more.

You can only refer people once you’ve verified you account using all 3 options that Prolific offers, email, phone & Facebook.  The referrals tab should show up a few hours after you’ve completed all the verifications.

On the referrals page you can find:

  1. Your referral link
  2. Buttons to share your referral to social media or via email.
  3. A list of all your referrals (email addresses)
  4. The status of your referrals
  5. The status of your referrals and the amount you’ve earned via them.

Participating in Studies

When there is a study that you’re eligible to take, it will appear on the Studies page. You may also get an email inviting you to a study, but this is not always the case. You need to log in to your account and check the studies tab on a regular basis. There is a browser extension called Distill monitor which will alert you when you are eligible for a study. Desktop only.

When you have an available study, you will be able to see:

  • Title of the study
  • Name of the Researcher
  • Amount you’ll be paid for completing the study
  • The average amount this would earn you per hour.  This is worked out using the reward amount & the average completion time.
  • The amount of spaces left in the study.  You’ll sometimes be shown a study that is already full.  If participants return the study, or don’t complete it within the required time frame, places will open up again.  Therefore, it may be worth your while to reload the page a few times to see if a space opens up.  Studies tend to get filled very quickly.
  • The maximum amount of time you can take to complete this study.
  • The average completion time.  I find that studies usually take less time than is stated.

If you want to take the study, click on the “Select This Study” button.


You’ll then be taken to the study information page.  On this page you can see all the information from the previous page, plus a description of the study.

You’ll also be able to see what devices you can take this study on.  Almost all the studies can be taken on computers (laptops, desktops etc), fewer can be done on tablets and some are not available to take on mobiles.  Some people have found that studies still work on mobiles even when they say that they don’t, so it may be worth your while to try.

To take the study click Reserve” 

Then, copy your Prolific ID. Click “Start Study” You usually have this filled in for you, but copy it just in case. It will open in a new window, so you can click back to the details any time.

When you reach the end of a study, there should be a completion link that takes you back to Prolific.  Sometimes this will be the complete button, sometimes the study will ask you to click on a link.  Sometimes, you’ll have to copy & paste the link or code.  If you have to copy the code, go back to the study page and paste it where it says “Study Code.”  Then “Submit Study”. If you have to exit without completion, you can quit but you won’t get any payment for your time.

The Important Part – Getting Paid

You can see how much you have in your Prolific account on the Account page.

Pending Balance

When you complete a study, the reward amount will be added to your Pending Balance.  It will stay there until the study is approved by the researcher.  Prolific will approve the study after 21 days if the researcher has not done so.

Cashing out

Click on the “Get Paid” button to cash out.You can cash out any amount over £5.  Prolific charges a small fee to cash out to PayPal. When you click “Get Paid”, you’ll have the option to choose which method to use. Click “Get Paid” again & you’ll be redirected back to the Account page with a message that your money is on it’s way.  It can take up to 5 days to receive payments.

You’ll also receive an email confirming that you’ve cashed out.


Tips to remember

  • Sign up as a PARTICIPANT.
  • Verify your account.
  • Complete all your PRE-SCREENING questions.
  • Check the STUDIES page regularly.
  • If you haven’t had any studies for at least a week after signing up & you’ve done all of the above, email prolific to ask if there’s an issue with your account.
  • Invite referrals
  • Check back on the About You page regularly

Have fun earning on Prolific! Any questions, please ask. If you’re interested in more genuine money making opportunities check out this post ‘7 Proven ways to make money online during Maternity leave.’

I’d love it if you pinned this:

Prolific is a genuine research study site that PAYS well for participation with NO ADS! Read how to get selected for studies, and how to make the most money!

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