So you want to boost your GRE score.
We all know how important the GRE is to getting into grad school. It is one of the critical portions of your application and only a few points can mean all the difference between getting a letter than begins “We’re pleased to inform you…” and one that begins “We regret to inform you…”
I’m in that same boat. I’m currently applying to grad school as well, and I want to boost my GRE score by 6 points. I did a lot of research on all the tools out there, and I’m trusting Magoosh for my GRE prep. I trust it so much that I recommend it to anyone who asks.
In this post, I’m going to review the Magoosh GRE program in detail – giving you an in depth look at it to help you decide if its right for you.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase a Magoosh subscription using the link I’ll receive a small commission. I recommend Magoosh because it helped me raise my score by 16 points, but the comission is a nice bonus.
For quick reference, follow these links
- How Does It Work?
- Who Is It For?
- Is It Easy to Use?
- What are the Pro’s & Con’s?
- Are there other good options?
- What do other people say?
- The Final Decision
Magoosh is a membership website that gives you access to 200+ comprehensive video lessons focusing on the three areas of the GRE: Math, Verbal, and Writing g. Also, there are over 1000 realistic practice questions and videos explaining the answer; if you still have doubts, you can email and they will answer within a day or so – they’re very supportive and friendly!
Access lasts for 6 months – which should be enough time to study for the GRE. You also get free study schedules that focus on different needs and are based on how much time you have to study.
Since it is online you can log in anytime on any computer, phone, or tablet.
If you’re not sure about it, try the 7-Day Free Trial. It’s free, what do you have to lose? The set-up is super easy and you don’t have to put in a credit-card. I’m sure though that after the free trial, you’re going to want to.
How does it work?
For me, the heart of Magoosh is the huge library of lesson videos. They’re divided into three major sections that correspond to the test. The lessons teach you all the concepts covered in the GRE in short videos (5-12 min) that really break the concepts down.
You can check out the complete library of lessons here: http://gre.magoosh.com/lessons and you can even watch some of them for free to get a feel for them!
The Math Lessons:
If Math is what you’re worried about (like me) there are 191 video lessons explaining everything from the most basic concepts to advanced stuff as well. Honestly, I was okay at Math in school (A’s and B’s), but I didn’t know much about GRE math.
The videos start with basic concepts (fractions, decimals, etc) and explains them again using concepts that will help you on the GRE. The videos even include practice questions (and explanations) to periodically check for understanding) these have been the best part of the program for me. At the end of each section is a quiz with 5 questions using the material you just practiced.
Watch a sample math lesson here on an awesome mental math trick!
The Verbal Lessons:
There are 74 videos tackling all the different types of verbal reasoning questions. The videos are great at breaking down everything into super simple, step-by-step instructions. The explanations are very detailed. Plus, they even include practice questions and explanations in the lessons. At the end of each section, there is a quiz with 5 questions related to the material from that section.
Honestly, they’re not as good as the Math Lessons, but they still do a good job. You’ll really want to spend a lot of time practicing vocabulary though!
The videos cover
- Text Completion (5 types)
- Sentence Equivalence
- Reading Comprehension
- Paragraph Argument
Watch a sample verbal lesson here (I know the guy is a little boring, but they lessons are g00d).
Analytical Writing Videos:
Writing is a pretty difficult thing to teach. Magoosh has 10 videos that give you an overview of the task, and then focus on writing strategies and tips for each section. Also, some of the best videos in the section show you how to analyze the tasks in order to approach them properly.
The stuff in the videos is useful, but honestly the only way to improve your writing is to write. Check out my post on writing practice here
Video lessons to TEACH the material AND test prep
When you look at the list of video lessons, you might think “Fractions” Oh, I know that! But when you watch the video, the instructor applies the material to the exam. After reviewing the basic points of fractions, the instructor shows you how they might appear on the exam in parts of other problems. Also, everything starts super easy and gets more difficult as the videos go on. Plus if there is a related concept that you need to work on, there will be little recommendations next to the video. There are even points in the video where you’re supposed to stop and then work on practice problems!
After the video lessons, these are the most important part of Magoosh in my opinion. Have you ever tried to answer a test question, got it wrong, and wondered why? You spend hours trying to figure it out and are never really sure if you’ve got it. That doesn’t happen with Magoosh!
Each of the 900 practice questions, has its own individualized explanation video. The explanation covers how to answer the questions, shortcuts to getting the answer, and common mistakes. Also, below each video is a link to the lessons you might need to watch and links to any blog posts that Magoosh has written on the topic.
Personalized Home Page
Magoosh calls this the “dashboard” and it is what you see when you log in. It has 3 important sections
1) Suggested Lessons: these are links to video you should watch based on your progress
2) Quick Practice: Just click these buttons and you’ll be brought straight into practice questions.
3) Results Summary: This shows your estimated score range, how many questions you’ve answered, and your pacing/timing compared to averages.
Finally, the last big component of Magoosh is that its entirely online. For me, this is ideal because of where I live and because I’m a full-time teacher. One thing I was worried about in regards to that was being able to ask questions if I needed to. Don’t worry – the customer service team is great at responding quickly. Every time I ask a question I’ve had a quick and polite response that answers my question.
Also, on every webpage there is a “help” tab on the left. When you click it, it’ll open a box to send a message to Magoosh. The best part is, it knows which page/question/lesson you’re on!
Who is it for?
Everyone has a little bit different learning style and way of working. So, you might wonder if Magoosh will fit your needs. In my opinion, Magoosh GRE is for…
Because the program is all online, it does require some self-motivation to get it done. Since you paid something for the program, you’re a little more likely to take advantage of it.
One thing I recommend doing is setting aside a specific time and place for your studying. Magoosh’s study plans make that pretty easy to organize.
Finally, follow Shia Labeouf’s advice and…
If you happen to live far away from a place with in-person classes, Magoosh is definitely for you. I live in Mexico City right now and Magoosh is the perfect option. I think it is great if you’re studying abroad, traveling a lot, or don’t have time to get to class because of your work schedule. Maybe you’re a single parent or you have someone to take care of.
Magoosh is the best choice if you need flexibility.
Is It Easy to Use?
If you’re not tech savy, you might be worried about a whole online prep course.
I have one question for you: Do you know how to watch a video on YouTube?
If you answered yes, then you can definitely handle Magoosh. The layout is really user friendly. Everything is really clearly labeled and easy to find. Also, the video player has a neat feature that let’s you speed up or slow down the video; this is great to give yourself more time to take notes or to skip through something that is review for you.
If you don’t believe me, check out this video tour I made of my Magoosh account
What are the pros and cons?
If you’re looking for a summary of the pro’s and con’s to help you compare Magoosh to another program, here’s my list:
What are other GRE prep options?
I made a table comparing apples to apples – which here means comparing Magoosh to other online, self-paced GRE prep courses. I looked at Kaplan, Manhattan, and Princeton Review.
To be clear, I haven’t used the other services. I just got the information I could from their websites. Looking at the numbers, they all come across pretty evenly except in price. Magoosh is only $99 and the closest competitor is 4 times as much!
|HOURS OF VIDEO||27 hours of Math lessons alone!||8 recorded videos (for $200 you can get 2 hours of 1-on-1 coaching)||27 hours of video||24 hours of video|
|# OF PRACTICE QUESTIONS||1,200||2,500||Doesn't Say||Doesn't Say|
|# OF PRACTICE TESTS||11||7 full-length practice tests (I'm not sure if you get the video's explaining each question)||6||8|
|SUPPORT & CUSTOMER SERVICE||Email & Phone My experience: Magoosh has always responded to my emails within 36 hours||Email Based (My experience: I used to teach at Kaplan, and I had many students who felt like they were charged a lot of money and left to fend for themselves.)||Email Based||Email & Phone|
|MATERIALS||Everything is included in the videos. Magoosh has optional extended practice using the McGraw-Hill's "Conquering the GRE", ETS' Official GRE Guide, and several major newspapers||1 Kaplan Textbook and 2 Kaplan Workbooks||Includes Manhattan's (amazing) GRE prep books - great if you like book learning||Says "materials included"|
|PRICE||$99||$499 - $699||$499||$499 - $799|
What do other people say?
Something that really convinced me that Magoosh was a good option were all the positive reviews left by former students. I’m assuming Magoosh curates them but even with that in mind, the testimonials are impressive.
They show the students previous score (if applicable), what the student’s score was after using Magoosh and then also give a paragraph-length comment.
Check them out on Magoosh’s website.
The Final Decision
You’re probably looking for a wrap-up, bottom-line decision. Here it is.
If you’re motivated enough to stick to a study schedule, Magoosh will help you boost your score and you should definitely sign up for it.
If you still have some doubts, at least try the 7-Day Free trial. You don’t need a credit card and you get 20 free practice questions out of it. What have you got to lose?