Are you taking the GRE soon? If you want more complete and intensive preparation for the test, maybe a prep course is what you need. Today, we will compare two of the best GRE prep courses online: Magoosh and Kaplan.
We’ll determine which one has more to offer and is better in terms of effectiveness and value for money. I’ll also show you some screenshots of the courses to give you a glimpse of what you’re going to get.
Ready? Let’s begin.
Magoosh vs Kaplan GRE: The Basics
Kaplan and Magoosh are two of the most preferred GRE prep courses online. Kaplan is one of the oldest prep course companies in the country, founded in 1938. Magoosh, on the other hand, is one of the newer and emerging test prep courses, established in 2009.
Both prep courses specialize in standardized test preparations. Whether you’re preparing for the GRE, SAT, GMAT, or MCAT, Kaplan and Magoosh have courses to offer to you.
Magoosh is a purely self-paced course, although they also offer tutoring services. This prep course is video-centric. A majority of the instruction it provides is delivered through videos. Magoosh also provides study plans, practice questions, and full-length practice tests.
Kaplan’s options are more flexible than Magoosh. It has live courses, self-paced courses, and tutoring services. It even gives students a test-day experience, in which a full-length mock GRE is administered with a setup similar to the actual test day.
To have an idea of what Magoosh and Kaplan have to offer, take a look at this comparison table:
Live instruction (online and in-person)
1 month or 6 months
Score improvement guarantee
+5 score improvement
Student support options
Email, chat, forum
If you look at the table, you will notice that Magoosh and Kaplan have huge differences in terms of quantity of content. This, however, is understandable, given that Magoosh is way more affordable than Kaplan.
If you want to know which prep course is more worth taking. Stay with me further in this article as we take a closer look at both Kaplan and The Princeton Review based on the following:
- Curriculum and Effectiveness
- Ease of use
- Student Reviews
Kaplan vs Princeton Review GRE: Curriculum and Effectiveness
Between the two courses, only Kaplan has live course options offered on two packages: the regular Live Online and the Live Online Plus.
If you take the Plus course, you’ll get 3 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring and 2 GRE books. The Plus option, however, costs $300 more than the regular package. Kaplan’s live course provides 21 hours of live instruction and 40+ hours of videos on the GRE channel.
Magoosh, as mentioned, does not offer live courses. If you’re looking for that live classroom experience for your GRE prep, then Kaplan is ideal for you.
Both Magoosh and Kaplan offer self-paced courses. The quantity of content in their packages has a huge difference, however.
Kaplan provides 2500+ practice questions, while Magoosh provides only 1400+. Also, Kaplan provides 4 more full-length practice tests than Magoosh. Both courses provide higher score guarantees, but Magoosh particularly guarantees a 5+ score increase on your GRE.
At this point, you probably think that Kaplan has more advantages than Magoosh due to the quantity it provides. The thing is, the difference in quantity is huge because the difference in price between the two courses is also huge. Magoosh’s 6-month course costs $179, while Kaplan’s regular self-paced course costs $449.
Source: GRE Magoosh
Choosing the winner for this category is tough, but because of the huge difference in pricing, I’ll give the edge to Magoosh.
Magoosh has always been considered one of the best GRE self-paced courses. For its low price, the quality of instruction and the quantity of materials it provides is very much worth it.
Kaplan provides 7 full-length practice tests, while Magoosh provides only 3. If you’re willing to pay for a higher price, take Kaplan’s course, mainly for their practice tests. Kaplan provides the Official Test Day Experience, a mock GRE administered with test-day conditions.
Kaplan’s Official Test Day Experience is a great way to boost your confidence for the GRE. As mentioned, however, you might need to pay a little more than what you would pay for Magoosh.
I consider Magoosh the most accessible GRE prep course online. You can access it on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. Magoosh also provides mobile apps specifically for vocabulary and flashcards (1).
Source: GRE Magoosh
The flexibility Magoosh provides is advantageous for students who are always on-the-go and do not have access to a computer. Plus, the apps are very easy to use and error-free.
Magoosh does not provide any hardcopy books with their courses. Kaplan, on the other hand, gives hardcopy GRE prep books on their GRE course, particularly on the Plus package.
The books they provide are GRE Math Foundations and GRE Advanced Math. These books will cost you $600 if you buy them separately online without the course.
Kaplan vs Princeton Review GRE: Pricing
Duration of access
Starter (2-3 focus areas)
$350 for 4 hours
$350 for 4 hours
Live Online Plus
Not available as of the moment
Private Tutoring (online)
It’s clear that Magoosh is the more affordable option. For $179, you can already have 6-month access to thousands of practice videos and instructional materials. Although Kaplan offers more practice questions and practice tests, Magoosh’s low price makes it a good deal, considering also that both courses provide 6-month access.
Kaplan vs Princeton Review GRE: User Experience
For you to have a solid grasp of what you’re going to get from both courses, I provided some screenshots.
Above is Magoosh’s dashboard. As you can see, your prep schedule uses a day-by-day approach, so your tasks for the day are on full display in the dashboard. You can also access practice tests for different sections quickly. If you want to join a class, you can see the available class schedules on the dashboard as well.
Now, this is Kaplan’s dashboard. Like Magoosh, it has a simple design and is very easy to use. The curriculum for the section you are studying is already listed, so you can plan your prep ahead. Kaplan also lets you see how many minutes it will take to finish a video lesson or practice test.
Both dashboards are user friendly and are designed for efficient studying, so I’ll make it a tie for this category.
Here is a screenshot of Magoosh’s video lessons, which are simply the best. They are straightforward and fluff-free. Unlike video lessons from other courses that tend to get comical at times, Magoosh’s videos are straight to the point and clear.
The question or problem on the video is displayed on a white screen, and the instructor tells the step-by-step process while writing important information on the screen. What I like about Magoosh’s videos is that the instructor often uses different ink colors for their markers to highlight important texts.
Overall, Magoosh’s videos never disappoint. They really are designed for efficient and effective studying.
This is a screenshot of Kaplan’s video lesson on Functions. Like Magoosh, Kaplan’s videos are clear and well made. The instruction is easy to follow and the instructor clearly presents the step-by-step process in getting the correct answer to a problem.
Unlike Magoosh, Kaplan’s instructor is seen on the video and uses a whiteboard with the problem displayed. One thing they could have done, however, is to make the pen’s color a little darker. The light-colored marker ink makes the written text difficult to read sometimes.
Both video lessons are great. If I were to choose one, however, I’d take Magoosh’s video lessons. They are simpler visually, but they give you what you exactly need for studying.
What makes each prep course unique?
- For Magoosh:
- Score Predictor: Magoosh uses data from about 200,000 students to predict your score on the GRE. This is a great way for you to assess where you need to focus on and what you need to improve.
- Mobile Apps: Magoosh has a mobile app for the prep course itself, for vocabulary, and for flashcards. Magoosh’s mobile apps make preparing for the GRE more flexible. You can access the course anytime and anywhere you want to.
- For Kaplan:
- Qbank: The Qbank is a huge storage of practice questions for the GRE. In the Qbank, you can create a practice quiz with the topics of your choice Plus, you can view practice questions that you have already answered correctly and incorrectly. You can also mark a question ‘saved’ for later.
- Official Test Day Experience: This allows students to take a full-length mock GRE with realistic test-day conditions. This feature by Kaplan is one of the best ways to be familiar with and experience firsthand the timing and format of the GRE.
Magoosh vs Kaplan GRE: Student Reviews
Both Magoosh and Kaplan receive great reviews from students who took the courses. However, Magoosh received higher ratings for its affordability and value for money. Plus, thousands of students were able to increase their scores after taking the Magoosh GRE course.
Many students, including me, can also attest to how Magoosh’s practice questions are actually more difficult than the actual GRE questions. This is because you’ll be able to fully enhance your skills and knowledge on the topics covered by the test before taking the GRE itself.
Magoosh vs Kaplan GRE: Which one is the best?
Here is a summary of everything that has been covered:
After comparing Magoosh and Kaplan in different areas, I choose Magoosh as the winner. Kaplan provides more practice questions, practice tests, and books. Given what Magoosh has to offer at a way cheaper price, however, it’s easy to see why Magoosh is considered by many as the best GRE prep course.
This comparison review does not take anything away from Kaplan’s effectiveness and quality instruction. If you are willing to invest a lot of money for more practice questions and the official test day experience, then Kaplan might be ideal for you.
Overall winner: Magoosh
Frequently Asked Questions