Kaplan was founded in 1938 and has since grown into one of the world’s leading test-prep companies. They offer in-person classes, online courses, self-paced study programs, apps, and books. Magoosh is much newer and smaller in scale than Kaplan. However, they take a modern day, millennial approach to their program and are quickly making headway in the test-prep industry.
Although Magoosh and Kaplan both offer private GRE tutoring, I will not be reviewing that in this article. Instead I will review Magoosh and Kaplan’s prep courses, allowing you to see what they offer and compare the two programs in order to figure out which one is best for you.
Overall, Magoosh will provide an affordable GRE study plan that will help you build your critical reading and math fundamentals skills. However, Kaplan’s practice questions, strategies, and full-length exams are more on par with the actual GRE. Hence, if you are not on a tight budget, I recommend going with Kaplan and utilizing all they have to offer.
Magoosh does not offer instructor-led online or in-person GRE courses–probably because they are a smaller team and relatively new to the industry when compared to Kaplan.
But Magoosh does offer two different online self-paced GRE prep options. The one-month and six-month packages are identical in what you will receive upon purchase, minus the length of access.
Also, students do have the option to sign up for six-month access to just the Verbal and Analytical Writing resources or just the Math. Overall though, enrolling in Magoosh’s Six Month Premium Package will definitely get you the most bang for your buck.
Kaplan has an abundant amount of resources for their students, from The GRE Channel providing live instruction, to the QBank that provides customized quizzes. If you are looking for more diverse prep options, Kaplan is the company for you.
Kaplan offers several self-paced programs for students to enroll in. This is a very economical way to prepare for the GRE by targeting your biggest needs. I have always felt that Kaplan has one of the best books for students who need math fundamentals help, and their online prep class is no different. In order to prepare for the Quantitative Reasoning section, Kaplan offers the Rapid Review Live, Math Foundations, or an Advanced Math course.
Since Magoosh only offers a self-paced GRE study program, I will provide a side-by-side comparison to Kaplan’s equivalent class. However, if you know that you will find it hard to stay on track without a scheduled class, I have provided an overview of the other courses Kaplan offers.
1 Month Access – $129
6 Month Access – $149
6 Month Access – $899
Kaplan offers a Live Online GRE complete course and an In-Person GRE complete course. The in-person classes are not offered everywhere, but if you live in a major US city, you should be able to locate one near you.
Both programs will help you build your math and reading fundamentals and offer quite a bit of video instruction. It is important to know that Magoosh only offers video instruction. Hence, this could be a bonus for you if you prefer videos over reading text.
Magoosh’s lessons and explanations to questions are all done through what looks like a PowerPoint and an instructor voiceover. The videos are relatively simple, with no animations or visual of the tutor speaking. Some students might like to see an instructor speaking because it helps them stay engaged. If this is the case for you, Kaplan’s videos would be a better fit. However, I noticed some of the videos for Kaplan with filmed instructors moved at a slower pace than the videos for Magoosh.
Overall, Kaplan’s GRE prep programs have more tools for students to utilize than Magoosh’s, including questions, quizzes, lectures, and full-length exams. All of these resources will be more in line with the actual GRE than Magoosh’s as well. However, there are several cool aspects to Magoosh I would like to point out.
Magoosh emphasizes helping students put together a study plan. On the Dashboard of a student’s account will be a list of the lessons to complete for that day. If you are feeling worried about putting together your own study schedule–no need. As long as you find the time, Magoosh will keep everything organized for you.
Despite Magoosh being a much smaller company, there are just as many tech-savvy aspects to their program as Kaplan’s. For example, Magoosh will statistically track your progress via a pie chart and compare your pace to that of other students. Also, they will allow you to make custom quizzes where you can choose the question type, content, number of questions, time, and whether or not the explanations are displayed between questions or at the end.
A characteristic specific to Magoosh is that they offer email assistance to students, taking more of a hands-on approach to their self-paced program than Kaplan. As long as a student’s inquiry is regarding one of Magoosh’s practice questions, a Magoosh tutor will help them through the problem via email.
However, Magoosh’s practice questions are not as well-rounded as Kaplan’s. Kaplan’s GRE practice questions cover a wider variety of topics and are more similar to those that appear on the actual exam. Some of Kaplan’s questions are a bit harder than what you would find on the GRE. With that said, Magoosh’s questions are good practice for testing your math and reading fundamentals, but they lack the intricacy of the ones written by ETS.
Magoosh does not offer proctored exams like Kaplan. An add-on to Kaplan’s self-paced courses is a proctored exam called “The Official Test Day Experience.” This provided the opportunity for students to take a full-length GRE (written by Kaplan) at a testing center. The entire experience will mimic what you will go through on your actual test day. Also, Kaplan has done an immaculate job at having their practice online exams visually look like the actual GRE.
Although Magoosh offers up to three full-length GRE exams (written by Magoosh) the questions that make up the exams come from the same pool of practice questions that make up the program. The algorithm will put together your practice exam based on the questions you have yet to answer.
You will want to make sure to create three practice exams and save the rest of the questions to tackle as practice problems. If you are not on top of this, you might not be able to create full-length exams with questions you have not seen before.
Kaplan is going to offer more refined strategies than Magoosh. Although Magoosh provides test-taking tips, I found their instructors did not always take into account the GRE format. For example, in a text completion lecture, the instructor was physically crossing off irrelevant information in the sentence. Although he went about this as if it was a strategy to utilize on test day, this is not something students can actually do.
In conclusion, if budget is one of your primary concerns when searching for an online GRE course, Magoosh’s program might be your winner. However, if you are trying to score in the top percentile, you will need all that Kaplan has to offer. Their programs are more expensive than Magoosh, but you will be more prepared for your GRE.