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Magoosh vs Kaplan GMAT
Determine which GMAT prep course is right for you between Kaplan and Magoosh
If you plan on attending graduate school, chances are you have heard the name Kaplan before. The company is one of the biggest names in the test prep industry and has been for decades. Magoosh, on the other hand, is fairly new to the GMAT prep space, but has been making a name for itself with its insanely affordable price points. In this article, we cover the pros and cons of each prep course so you choose the one the best fits your learning style and score aspirations.
Given that this is a lengthy, detailed comparison, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.
Note:For clarity purposes, when our team references Kaplan in this article, we’re also referring to Manhattan Prep since the two companies combined their GMAT courses last year under the Kaplan brand.
Video Review: Magoosh Or Kaplan For GMAT Prep?
In the video above, John from the Test Prep Insight team compares the GMAT prep courses from Magoosh and Kaplan/Manhattan Prep. For more detail, be sure to continue reading our full written comparison below.
To keep this article narrowly focused and actually helpful, we are going to cover the key areas where I see each company winning and having an advantage over the other, rather than simply providing an overview of each prep course.
So with that in mind, let’s start with Kaplan – our team has them beating Magoosh in five important categories.
The first win for Kaplan over Magoosh are their video lessons. In short, they are just plain better than what Magoosh offers.
The Kaplan lessons feature an instructor on-screen, the lessons are interactive, and the production quality is top-notch. Plus, not to mention, the substantive material is point.
Whereas the Magoosh video lessons, on the other hand, are somewhat boring since they take the form an old-school PowerPoint type presentation. Bottom line, if you’re a visual learner, our team recommends Kaplan. For the record, our team also prefers the video lessons from Princeton Review over Magoosh’s too.
The second win for Kaplan are their live classes, and this is an easy one because Magoosh simply does not offer any live classes. However with Kaplan’s Complete Course, students get access to nine, three-hour class sessions for a total of 27 hours of live instruction.
And the best part about Kaplan’s classes, in my opinion, is that they intentionally limit the class size in order to maintain a healthy balance between personalized attention and active participation. Honestly, I think they are some of the best live classes in the entire GMAT prep space (along with the Princeton Review GMAT classes).
Related to the last two points, the third win for Kaplan are their instructors. All of Kaplan’s instructors are 99th percentile scorers and know the GMAT inside and out.
However, it’s much more than just their knowledge level. It just seems all the Kaplan instructors are able to make the video lessons and classes fun and engaging by incorporating jokes and humor.
It’s almost as if they’ve been trained to keep the lessons light and amusing as opposed to just sitting there with a monotone voice rambling for hours.
All in all, I have to hand it to Kaplan and their training process – their instructors are truly amazing.
GMAT Prep Books
Kaplan also beats Magoosh when it comes to GMAT prep books, and really this is another easy win for Kaplan since Magoosh does not offer its students any hardcopy prep books.
Now to be fair, Magoosh does offer a few digital booklets, but really, the digital booklets don’t even compare to the hardcopy prep book bundle that Kaplan provides.
Not only are Kaplan’s books better integrated into their course, but they’re also more detailed and comprehensive. The books are packed with helpful lessons, practice problems, strategies, and other tips and tricks.
As such, if prep books are important to you, take note. I know personally, I’m a big fan of prep books. I love being able to take them with me on-the-go, highlight key points, and dog-ear pages to revisit later.
More Practice Material
Lastly, Kaplan absolutely spanks Magoosh when it comes to practice material. They offer over 4,000 practice problems and 6 practice tests, whereas Magoosh only offers 1,300 and 2, respectively.
In other words, Kaplan provides 3 times as much practice material as Magoosh, and considering the importance of taking and reviewing quizzes and practice tests during GMAT prep, this ends up being a major advantage for Kaplan.
Now that you have a good understanding of what Kaplan offers, let’s turn the tables and discuss Magoosh. I have them beating Kaplan in five categories.
Magoosh Is More Affordable
The first category in which Magoosh wins is very important – pricing. The Magoosh GMAT course costs around $250, whereas Kaplan’s start at around $1,000 and go up from there.
As such, you’re looking at around $750 in savings minimum by going with Magoosh over Kaplan.
Now to be fair, that’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges or a Toyota Corolla to a Tesla. They’re just completely different. Magoosh is a budget, DIY course, whereas Kaplan provides everything you could ever want in terms of study materials and features.
Although Magoosh offers far less practice problems than Kaplan, I have to give them credit for providing both text AND video solutions for each problem.
For reference, Kaplan only provides text explanations for each problem, so the fact that Magoosh one ups them by offering video solutions is a pretty big deal, especially if you are a visual learner.
Score Improvement Guarantee
The third win for Magoosh is their score guarantee. Essentially, if you complete the Magoosh course, the company guarantees that your score will improve 70 points or you get a full refund on your tuition.
Now there is fine print behind that guarantee, so be sure to check that out prior to purchasing, but still, that’s a pretty nice insurance policy for a budget GMAT course, especially considering Kaplan does not offer any sort of score guarantee.
Magoosh also offers some nice bonus resources, like 24/7 email support, for example.
Essentially, if you ever get stuck on a problem or don’t fully understand a specific concept or testing strategy, you can email one of Magoosh’s GMAT tutors, and they’ll typically get back to you with a detailed answer within a few hours.
Overall, it’s just nice safety net in case you get stuck during your studies.
Content Access Period
The last win for Magoosh is content access period. The Magoosh course comes with 12 months of access, whereas Kaplan only offers 6 months.
Therefore, if you plan on studying over an extended period of time, or you know that you’ll need or want to take the exam multiple times, keep this point in mind.
What is the difference between the GMAT courses from Magoosh and Kaplan?
Price and study materials are the primary differences between the GMAT courses from Magoosh and Kaplan. The Magoosh course is a budget, DIY offering, whereas Kaplan’s courses are more expensive, but also much more robust in terms of study materials and features (i.e. prep books, live classes, practice tests).
Which GMAT prep course is better - Magoosh or Kaplan?
After testing and evaluating the study materials from both companies, our team thinks Kaplan offers the more complete and effective GMAT prep courses from top to bottom.
Do Magoosh and Kaplan offer GMAT classes?
Kaplan offers live GMAT classes, however, Magoosh does not.