Magoosh GRE Prep Course: Is it really worth it ?

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Overview

Magoosh has become one of the fastest growing companies in the US in recent years. There is good reason. Their GRE test prep courses and videos are accessible, user-friendly, and well reviewed. They are also a more affordable option than many of their competitors, and seem to be a good fit for GRE most students.

Materials

The Magoosh GRE test prep courses are completely online. There are no books or software to carry around or order. Just the website and the app.

There are two areas that Magoosh materials absolutely excel. These include their mobile app and their explanations that go way beyond typical text explanations.

Magoosh App. Once you subscribe to a Magoosh test prep course, you have access to their test prep portal. You also get access to their iPhone, iPad, and Android app. All of their lessons, flashcards, and quizzes are all available on the app. The Magoosh GRE test prep courses are completely online, with no books or software to order or carry around, giving you the flexibility to study on the go.

Beyond Text Explanations. When testing the Magoosh GRE test prep course, I was particularly impressed with their answer explanations. Sometimes a certain explanation, when written, is still not completely clear. Fortunately, Magoosh offers 1 – 3 minute video explanations that go beyond your typical text explanation. They do everything they can to clarify particularly challenging questions.

These videos offer an explanation, but also a demonstration that immediately helps to eliminate most confusion. They also explain the “why” behind the explanations, which, for me, helps me remember the solution. Part of the video usually touches on the basics behind the problem and any rules and equations that are important to remember.

With the math section, specifically, it is often very difficult to understand an explanation without seeing it written out. Seeing the solution, as it is being solved and explained, is usually much more valuable than just the text explanation.

They also do a great job of giving alternative solutions. One of the most important skills to learn when studying for the GRE is when to use actual math, and when to use logic. Your typical test prep explanation will only show the math-based solution. The Magoosh videos also demonstrate the logic-based solution, and tell you why the logic-based solution could be better (and when you’re up against the clock, usually the logic-based solution is faster). When a  math-based solution is necessary, the videos will often give you shortcuts to help solve the problems.

If you find that the video and text explanations are still not enough for a particular question, the course offers a link to one or two blog posts that further explain the solution, as well as additional explanations and suggested lessons to review. They also offer Frequently Asked Questions about the problem, addressing common mistakes and answer traps, which I found particularly helpful as understanding why not is almost as important as understanding why a certain equation solves a problem.

Pricing

Magoosh is one of the less expensive options for an extensive self-paced course. At $149 for a six-month premium subscription, there are very few options that give you as much for less.  The $149 premium package covers the entire GRE, all of their excellent course materials, and access to their mobile app. They also offer a shorter 30-day plan for only $129. It offers the same materials and app access, just for a limited amount of time. They also offer tutoring packages that start at $100.

Free Resources

Most test prep providers offer some free resources, and Magoosh is no different. Take a look at their resource page, and you will find an extensive library of free information and guidance. Their blog also offers tips and strategies from experts and students who have been there before. Topics include how to score higher, extra practice questions and explanations, and advice about grad school and the application process.

One of my favorite things is their sample study plans that range from one week to six months. They offer guidance on pacing, what to study, and some free practice materials. Most of the study plans include material that you would only have access to if you purchased the course, but could be an excellent resource, even without paying for any extra material.

Best Features

Flexibility

The Magoosh GRE test prep courses are 100% self-paced and online. You determine where, when, and how you are going to studying, offering the most flexibility possible. All you need is a computer or mobile device and Internet access.

Customizable

One of the best parts of the Magoosh GRE test prep courses is the customization. From every area of the site, you will find that it is tailored to your study plan, your skills, and the progress that you have already made.

You are always able to go at your own speed, and can rewatch or skip ahead while watching the videos, depending on your strengths and weaknesses.

Beyond the flexibility of the study time, Magoosh offers an extremely customized dashboard, notes section, practice sessions, and suggestions.

Once you log in, you’ll immediately see your personalized dashboard. This is where Magoosh really shines. Here you will find your progress, suggested lessons and your estimated score (based on how well you have done on previous quizzes and practice problems), and a summary of results so far with a comparison to other students.

Beyond the Dashboard, you’ll find that you can create customizable practice sessions. You can create quizzes and study sessions based on the subject, difficulty level, number of problems, and section. There is a “practice mode,” where you can see explanations and a “quiz mode,” where you don’t.

You will also see a Notes section where you can enter anything you want to remember about a particular question or flag that question for review. This is particularly helpful when you’ve just learned something that you had been struggling with and are concerned you might later forget!

User Friendly

When Magoosh set out to make a GRE prep course, they were determined to not only offer excellent materials, but to make it as user-friendly as possible. They succeeded. The Magoosh GRE test prep app and site are incredibly user friendly, customizable, and easy to use. When testing their course, I never struggled to find what I was looking for and was surprised at how customizable it is.

Every area of the site is accessible from the dashboard: 

From here, you can customize your practice quizzes, see how you are doing compared to other test takers, and get suggested lessons. You are also able to see how you have done on any answered questions and get a score estimate. It is a ton of useful information, all in one place.

The Magoosh site, more than its competitors made the logistics of studying easy, even if the GRE test prep itself is difficult!.

Worst Features

There are two things that I don’t like as much about Magoosh: the number of practice tests,  and the lack of live online or live in person classes. I don’t think that either of these are reason alone to skip over Magoosh, but they are something to consider.

Magoosh offers practice tests using your pool of unanswered practice test questions, but they only recommend creating up to three practice tests so you can save the rest for general practice. Most of their competitors offer 6 or more, so this is something to consider, especially if you feel confident about your skills, but not as confident about your endurance.

The Magoosh GRE test prep is also entirely self-guided, which makes it a great option for those students who are able to keep themselves motivated and on track. You will not have the option of asking a tutor a specific or personal question (unless you purchase a tutoring package), nor will you be surrounded (online or in real life) by other students that are working towards your same goal. If you are a student that needs a little more accountability or wants the formal guidance of a classroom, Magoosh may not be the best GRE test prep for you.

Tutoring Packages

Like most of its competitors, Magoosh offers additional tutoring packages. There are four options to choose from, and they start at a pretty affordable price. Their options include:

  1. A starter option. This is perfect for someone who just needs a quick overview or review session. It is $100 for a one-hour session. Students use it to go over study plans, particularly difficult questions, or a focus on one or two subject matters.
  2. Just verbal. Magoosh offers a verbal-focused lesson for four hours for $350. Perfect for those needing a deeper dive into the verbal section of the GRE.
  3. Just Math. Just like the verbal tutoring package, but with math.
  4. Premium option. This option covers both the verbal and quantitative section, plus essay grading and review. It is $600 for 8 hours ($75/hour), and offers a comprehensive study plan, strategy overview, and a customized review of any issues you have.

With every package, your tutor will connect with you in advance, ask questions about your unique study situation, and come up with the best use of your time together.

Score Guarantee

Magoosh offers a score guarantee on their premium program. If you don’t see a five point increase over your old score, you can get a refund. Take a look at their site for more details and how to qualify for the guarantee.

Trial Options

Aside from the free resources mentioned above, Magoosh offers a seven day trial of 20 of their lessons and 20 practice quizzes. It is a great way to determine if the video explanations and the self-guided style are right for you.

They also offer the option of getting a full refund after seven days of access to their complete course, including the app and all practice problems and videos, no strings attached.

You Might Like The Magoosh GRE Test Prep Courses If:

You are a self-motivated student who needs flexibility.

The Magoosh GRE test prep courses would be great for you if you are able determine a study plan and then stick with it. If you want the option to study wherever and whenever you can, with online only materials. It is also a great solution for you if you typically need an explanation that goes beyond the text explanation, but don’t want to sit in a classroom.

Because of the different types of explanations and the depth that Magoosh goes to explain each and every problem, The Magoosh GRE Test Prep courses are a great option for most learning types and student. If the Magoosh GRE Test Prep options don’t feel like a good fit for you, take a look at a few other options, like Kaplan or Manhattan Prep.

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