Test Prep Insight is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Magoosh vs Kaplan GRE
A detailed comparison of the Magoosh and Kaplan GRE prep courses
As far as GRE prep courses go, there may not be any two courses more different than Magoosh and Kaplan. So how do you choose when the two courses you’re considering are as different as Kaplan and Magoosh? We take a close look at the study materials both companies provide and give you a side-by-side view so that you can make the right decision as to which prep course is best for you.
Given this is a comprehensive comparison, we’ve added helpful jump-to links above for easy navigation.
Video Review: Kaplan or Magoosh For GRE Prep?
In the video above, John (from the Test Prep Insight team) breaks down our team’s thoughts on these courses as to how they compare. For more detail, please continue reading our full written comparison below.
Studying for the GRE requires time and discipline so it’s important you choose the best prep course from the start. Below find the major reasons why Kaplan is the better choice than Magoosh for GRE prep.
Kaplan Course Options & Pricing
Kaplan offers a greater selection of course options as compared to Magoosh. They give you three different GRE prep packages to choose from, as follows:
The differentiating factor among the Kaplan course options is the format. Every student learns differently, so Kaplan gives you a choice as to which way you want to take their prep course.
On that point, the core curriculum across all three prep packages is more or less the same – it is just the delivery format that changes.
You’ll either get the instruction through one-on-one tutoring, via live online lectures, or at your own leisure through self-paced study. The content is the same, it is just the way you consume it that is varied.
In terms of pricing, it’s no secret that Kaplan’s GRE offerings cost more than Magoosh’s. In fact, in some cases, they cost 3x as much, but it should also be stated that Kapan’s offerings are more robust (in terms of volume and quality of coursework that they deliver).
Better Video Lessons
The Kaplan video lessons are top of the line in terms of both production quality and depth of coverage. While Magoosh’s video lessons consist of a PowerPoint-type slideshow with a voiceover and onscreen notes, the Kaplan video lessons are much more advanced (as are the video lessons from Manhattan Prep).
The Kaplan instructor appears onscreen before a digital whiteboard which follows the teacher’s lesson and updates frequently to visualize concepts, issues and problems.
Then, to mix up the instruction, the teacher will grab a marker from time to time and handwrite notes in a luminous ink write in front of them, exemplifying how a concept plays out in the form of a problem or question.
The dynamic and interactive delivery of lessons makes for an incredibly engaging experience. These lessons cover the same topics as Magoosh’s videos, but go into much more depth and the production quality is night and day.
In addition to some superb video lessons and coursework, Kaplan also offers live class instruction.
For the record, Magoosh used to offer live classes as well, but no longer does. Therefore, if live classes are important to you, Kaplan is clearly the way to go (Princeton Review also offers live GRE classes).
Plus, the Kaplan instructors are all incredibly knowledgeable with respect to GRE exam concepts, and highly trained to deliver that content in an easily understandable fashion.
Kaplan GRE Channel
While we’re on the topic of video lessons and live instruction, I have to mention the Kaplan GRE channel. This is one of my favorite features of the Kaplan courses.
Essentially, the Kaplan GRE channel consists of extra, supplemental live lessons that dive deep into specific topics, testing strategies, and question types. And the nice thing is that these live sessions are offered almost seven days a week.
Plus, even if you can’t make the live class sessions, the recordings are turned into on-demand videos that you can watch later. Overall, I just found these bonus live sessions to be super helpful, especially if you’re struggling with a particular subject or question type.
GRE Prep Books
The Kaplan’s GRE prep books are unparalleled. They provide extraordinary detail on just about every topic covered on the GRE, as well as a host of practice problems and drills.
This is something that you just don’t get with Magoosh (they only offer digital booklets).
So if you’re a fan of printed textbooks when learning, this is going to be another check in the Kaplan column.
Kaplan GRE Practice Tests
As anyone who has ever taken a standardized exam before knows, practice tests often serve as the most effective study tool. Kaplan offers students seven full-length, adaptive practice tests, whereas Magoosh only offers three.
Therefore, the fact that Kaplan provides more 2x the practice opportunities is a big deal. Taking and reviewing practice tests are often where students make the biggest gains.
Plus, what’s nice about Kaplan is that they even offer an official test day experience.
Essentially, students receive a one-time pass to take one of their practice exams at an actual Prometric testing center. That way you can simulate what test day is really going to feel like from the moment you wake up to the moment you walk out of the testing center.
Bottom line, if you place a high value on practice tests (which you should), Kaplan has a major leg up over Magoosh.
Now that you have a better idea of what Kaplan has to offer, let’s turn the tables and discuss the advantages of using Magoosh for your GRE prep.
Magoosh Course Options And Pricing
The Magoosh GRE course offerings are simple and straightforward. They offer two different packages:
Premium Self-Study GRE Course (1 month or 6 months)
Premium + Admissions
That’s it. While Kaplan and other test prep companies offer 3+ course packages with varying formats, different levels of accessible practice problems, and other features, the two Magoosh prep packages are nearly identical, with the lone difference being that one includes various help and resources as it relates to admissions. Other than that, you are getting the same study material and resources.
The Premium Self-Study GRE Course runs for around $180, while the Premium + Admissions package costs around $200.
In direct comparison with Kaplan’s course pricing, Magoosh is the CLEAR winner. Their self-paced course is less than one-half the cost of the comparable Kaplan self-paced option.
Magoosh GRE Lessons & Study Materials
Unlike Kaplan’s traditional method of test prep with in-person classes, hardcopy prep books and take-home assignments, Magoosh takes a different approach.
Rather than having a robust core curriculum that is followed in a linear fashion, Magoosh gives you a library of lessons to choose from.
To be clear, they do offer a suggested order of viewing video lessons and taking follow-up quizzes, but it is not as developed as Kaplan’s course in terms of guidance.
You are free to jump ahead, go back, or just pick your topics at random depending on where you need work. It is a much more laissez-faire approach to studying. However, while the lesson work is more freewheeling, the content is all there.
Every topic necessary for the GRE is covered, and covered well. The video lessons, while short in length and of average production quality, are effective.
The instructors are clearly very knowledgeable and do a great job breaking down even complex subject matter. All in all, we were impressed with the video instruction given the low price point.
In addition to the video lessons, Magoosh offers over 1,400 practice problems and 3 full-length practice tests. Obviously this doesn’t stand up toe-to-toe with Kaplan’s numbers, but these are still respectable amounts nonetheless.
Customized Practice Sessions
One of Magoosh’s premier features is their custom practice function. You can generate personalized quizzes broken down by question type, difficulty, number of questions, and much more.
It is an extremely beneficial tool that allows students the chance to focus their work on areas where they need improvement.
While this type of feature is not unique to Magoosh – in fact, Kaplan has one also – it is worth noting that you get some of the same cool features with Magoosh as you do with Kaplan for a fraction of the price.
Despite the cost difference, you get very similar tools of comparable quality.
Although Kaplan gets the win in terms of volume of practice material, our team actually gives Magoosh the edge when it comes to practice problem explanations.
Magoosh offers both text and video solutions for each practice problem, whereas Kaplan only provides text. Therefore, if you are a visual learner, this is something to keep in mind.
GRE Score Guarantee
Despite the budget price tag, Magoosh actually offers a better score guarantee than Kaplan.
Basically, if you complete the Magoosh course, they guarantee a score increase of at least 5 points or you get your money back, whereas Kaplan simply offers a higher score guarantee (i.e. one point).
Email Support From GRE Tutors
Our team also likes that Magoosh offers a suite of extra GRE resources, including 24/7 email support from GRE tutors.
That’s right, if you ever get stuck on a GRE practice question or you just don’t understand a specific concept, you can email one of Magoosh’s expert tutors, and they’ll usually get back to you within a few hours with a detailed response.
GRE Admissions Help
If you do opt for Magoosh’s Premium + Admissions prep package, here’s what it comes with:
Personal statement samples
Q&A with Magoosh admission experts
While these resources may not appear important while you’re studying, they certainty will be after you take the exam and receive your score. And the nice thing is that these resources come with 12 months of access.
Magoosh and Kaplan are very different prep courses, but in the end, we have to give Kaplan the win. Their prep courses are just more comprehensive in terms of both volume and quality of study materials. This especially holds true if you’re looking for live classes or hardcopy prep books.
Therefore, if you’re serious about scoring high on the GRE, Kaplan is clearly the way to go.
With that said, if money is tight and you can’t afford any of the Kaplan courses, Magoosh is an excellent choice as well. Their prep courses are nothing to sneeze at and offer tremendous bang for your buck.
Which GRE prep course costs more – Kaplan or Magoosh?
The Kaplan GRE prep courses cost more than the Magoosh prep courses. Looking at the closest comparable prep packages (Magoosh’s Self-Study Premium course and Kaplan’s Self-Paced course), Kaplan costs roughly 2.5x as much at around $450. That said, Kaplan offers more in-depth and effective GRE study materials than Magoosh.
What’s the main difference between Magoosh and Kaplan GRE prep courses?
The primary difference between the Magoosh and Kaplan GRE prep courses is that Kaplan offers live classes and hardcopy prep books, as well as more GRE practice material, while Magoosh makes its name with a budget price tag.
Which company provides more study material, Kaplan or Magoosh?
Kaplan offers more study material than Magoosh. While Magoosh provides students a respectable 1,600 practice problems and 3 full-length practice tests, Kaplan offers 2,500+ questions and 7 practice tests as well as many more hours of video lessons and live classes.