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Magoosh vs Manhattan Prep GRE
Our comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the Manhattan Prep and Magoosh GRE prep courses
If you’re doing your research on GRE prep courses and your decision has come down to Magoosh or Manhattan Prep, your biggest concerns are likely how effective Magoosh’s study materials are and how they stack up against Manhattan Prep’s coursework. That sound about right? These two courses differ in just about every category, including pricing, amount of practice work, and level of resources. So how do you decide? We’ve done the hard work for you and analyzed all of the features of each course in this detailed comparison.
One of the most important aspects for students when shopping prep courses is price, and Magoosh is a clear winner on this front. Magoosh offers just two course formats – their 1 Month Premium and 6 Month Premium courses. It’s not a big selection, but I really like how Magoosh keeps things simple. The two courses are the exact same, except for content access period and price.
The 1 Month Premium package gives you one month of access (obviously) and costs right around $149. On the other side, I’m sure you can guess how much access the 6 Month Premium course gives you, and it costs $179. If you’re trying to decide between these packages, go with the 6 month package – for $30 more, it’s a no brainer.
In comparison to Manhattan Prep’s analogous prep options, Magoosh’s 6 Month Premium course is about one-third the cost of Manhattan’s similar self-paced program, and almost 1/8 the cost of their full course with live instruction (but more on their pricing below).
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Quality of Magoosh’s Coursework
When it comes to lessons and study materials, Magoosh is vastly different than Manhattan Prep. Whereas Manhattan uses the traditional approach of live classes, hardcopy books and mountains of prep materials, all wrapped around a neatly organized study plan, Magoosh relies on an agile library of online-only content. That’s not to say Magoosh’s materials aren’t robust in their own way. They offer hundreds of video lessons, practice problems, simulated exams, and some helpful performance reports.
But where Manhattan offers a well-developed lesson plan with a detailed schedule, Magoosh’s curriculum is much more free flowing. They give you an open archive of video lessons to choose from, and it’s up to you to pick what and when to study. To be clear, Magoosh does provide suggested study schedules and their online platform even suggests lessons and practice problems, but it is not as rigid as Manhattan Prep’s Interact program – not even close. So whether Magoosh’s style of teaching will work for you will just depend on the type of student that you are. If you have no problem driving your studies and are self-motivated, then Magoosh will work just fine (at least it did for me).
And in terms of the actual quality of these study materials, let’s start with the video lessons. While the production value of these videos wasn’t my favorite, I did really like the content. These lectures take the form of a PowerPoint-type slideshow, and as the instructor voices their lesson over the slides, they make notes in red and exemplify key points. It’s a pretty old school approach to video lectures, but the content is definitely there. In addition, Magoosh’s instructors are clearly very well versed in GRE prep, and our team found no issue with their instruction. Lastly on quality, the practice problems and tests Magoosh provided were excellent. They closely resembled real GRE questions and I feel that they are perfectly sufficient for preparing students for the real GRE.
Of course the quantity of these materials can’t stand up to the mountains of work provided by Manhattan Prep, but that’s a key decision most students will have to make. Is 1,400 practice problems and 3 full-length tests enough, or do you need the tens of thousands of problems you get with Manhattan Prep? That likely comes down to your study timeline, target score, how you prefer to study, and a bunch of other factors. But most students, I think this level of practice work will be adequate.
I’ll also be the first to say that, NO, Magoosh’s coursework is not as pretty or well-developed or powerful as Manhattan Prep’s; but it is a dang good course and study platform for the money. And that is what Magoosh really comes down to at the end of the day – value. That is why they land on our list of best GRE prep courses. They are a fraction of the cost of Manhattan Prep and provide some surprisingly good study tools for the price tag.
One of the most noteworthy components on the Magoosh GRE prep course is their custom practice session tool. This feature allows you to create completely customized practice problem sets any time you want. You can filter a number of different variables, such as question difficulty, type, number of questions and more, and the program will spit out a quiz tailored to you. This allows narrow, targeted practice work, which I loved to see.
In GRE prep, you’ll notice that you have some strengths and some weaknesses. Everybody does. And to best prepare for the real exam, one of the best things you can do is focus on turning your weaknesses into strengths (or at least being average in those areas!). This tool is the best bet to accomplish this, as you can hammer these problem types and review detailed explanations for each question, including a video explanation. I found myself spending tons of time on tailored practice sets and reviewing video explanations after each problem. It’s a great resource and I was shocked at how good it was given Magoosh’s budget pricing.
One other feature that I think needs to be recognized is Magoosh’s user interface and experience. While it clearly isn’t as good as Manhattan’s, once again, for the price, we were pleasantly surprised. Their platform is agile, clean and pretty modern.
The dashboard isn’t cluttered with too much stuff (which Manhattan’s dashboard borders on doing), and they did a great job aggregating the most important aspects of the course in an easy jumping off point. The responsiveness is snappy, and I was really impressed with the program overall.
Unlike Magoosh’s simple menu of course options, Manhattan Prep provides 4 different formats to choose from. These are the:
Just Math Course
GRE for MBA Course
The GRE Interact package is Manhattan’s ultra-basic, self-paced course and includes just the essentials. This means video lessons, practice problems and a number of practice tests. In other words, it the package most directly comparable to Magoosh’s offerings. Though despite the similarities, Manhattan’s packages range in price from around $299 up to $499 depending on access.
For those struggling with just the math proportion of their GRE prep, Manhattan also offers a Just Math Couse that focuses on the essential quantitative aspects of the GRE. This package runs for around $800.
From there, the Manhattan Prep packages really increase in price. Their Complete Course, which covers both math and verbal content, and includes live class, costs around $1,400. And their supercharged GRE for MBA Course costs nearly $1,600. These courses are undoubtedly some of the most robust offerings I have seen in the GRE prep space, but also don’t even come close to matching Magoosh’s value.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
The Manhattan Prep Lessons and Study Materials
The quality of Manhattan Prep’s study materials is just about best-in-class. The quality here really cannot be questioned. Their GRE Interact course is the basis of their curriculum, and even the Complete Course relies heavily on it (with the addition of live classes and hardcopy books). This course is built around a number of learning modules across three difficulty levels. So for each topic, you’ll tackle short modules in increasing difficulty, until you’ve mastered the topic at hand.
Each module uses the same systematic approach to learning, which I loved: Learn It > Drill It > Prove It. The “Learn It” section of each module is built around a video lesson, which I found to be highly effective. Your instructor appears onscreen and as they speak, graphics, notes and other visual elements appear beside them onscreen. This format is highly engaging, and I thought it was especially powerful for material comprehension and retention. You get the benefits of non-verbal communication from watching your instructor, as well as the visual elements of seeing notes and cool digital effects. For visual learners, these lessons are fantastic.
In the “Drill It” section you are provided a number of drills to hammer home to reinforce what you just learned in the lesson. Once you knock these drills out, you then move on to the “Prove It” section, which is basically a glorified quiz. You need to hit 90% on this quiz to test out of your subject and move on to the next. All in all, this is a fantastic structure and delivery that I think will work for just about every student.
And in terms of the practice material quantity and quality, again, Manhattan Prep is on point. Their questions closely replicate real GRE questions in terms of content and difficulty. But the more astounding thing here is the volume of practice work. Manhattan offers 100,000+ practice questions – yes, you read that correctly. I am not even sure how this is possible, and I didn’t even come close to finishing that many problems (I don’t know how anybody could), so I can’t verify that. But if true, this level of practice is just bananas.
Overall, the Manhattan Prep GRE coursework is incredibly effective and high quality, and we had little to complain about other than some gripes around their practice problem explanations. In terms of how Manhattan Prep’s study material quality stacks up against Magoosh, I would say it mostly comes down to what type of student you are, how long you plan to study for, and how you learn best. One course offers a lighter curriculum and level or resources, while the other is designed to crush it with prep material.
Manhattan Prep GRE Live Classes
Perhaps the clearest differentiator between the Magoosh and Manhattan Prep offerings is the live class work. Whereas Magoosh’s program is 100% online and offers no live class sessions, Manhattan Prep boasts 24 hours of live class time for their Complete Course. For students that need the accountability and commitment that comes along with taking a live class, this will be an easy decision to go with Manhattan Prep. Some students just can’t seem to focus on their own or drive their studies, and if that sounds like you, I’d give the Complete Course my attention.
The Manhattan live classes are small and have a very intimate feeling. With just a handful of students in each class, they feel more like a study group than a class, per se. This provides a great opportunity to pick your instructor’s brain and ask questions, but it can also be a little stressful if you’re shy. If you’re the bashful type, do know that you will have to participate, engage with other students, and answer cold questions. That said, you get to know your classmates pretty well and it’s not that big of a deal. In terms of the actual classes, they are fantastic. They move fast and cover a ton of great content. My instructor was an incredible communicator and gave some great test taking strategies that I am not sure you get with the self-paced version only. And note that you will get about 12 hours of homework between classes, so make sure you have time to get this done.
Magoosh and Manhattan Prep offer extremely different GRE prep courses, and which one wins ultimately comes down to your situation. I believe if you can drive your own studies and do not need endless amounts of study material to burn through, Magoosh wins here. Their value simply cannot be beaten and they provide incredible bang for your buck with the quality of their prep materials. But if you need the accountability of live classes or plan to study for months to get that top end score, Manhattan Prep will be the better route. And if you fall somewhere in the middle, here is our point-by-point summary:
Study Materials – Advantage: Manhattan Prep. There’s no arguing here that Manhattan Prep provides more and higher quality study resources. That said, Magoosh shockingly doesn’t trail by much and earns high marks from our team.
Price – Advantage: Magoosh by a mile. At a fraction of the price of Manhattan Prep’s offerings, Magoosh is the clear value pick here.
Classes and Books – Advantage: Manhattan Prep. Given that Magoosh doesn’t offer live classes or hardcopy books with their prep package, Manhattan wins this category. Do note, however, you can always pick up Magoosh’s print GRE prep book for under $20 and supplement your studies.
Practice Exams – Manhattan Prep wins on quantity (6 > 3), but in terms of quality, this is a tie. We found both companies practice tests to be highly realistic of the real GRE.
User Interface – In terms of the dashboard only, we give Magoosh the nod for their clean and user friendly dashboard. But in terms of overall user experience for the whole site, you cannot deny the cool factor of Manhattan’s Interact program.
Online Content Access Period – Tie. Manhattan Prep offers different access periods for different packages, but apples to apples with Manhattan’s Interact program, you get 6 months of access with both courses.
Refund Policy and Score Guarantees – Advantage: Magoosh. By a long shot. While Manhattan Prep provides no refunds or score guarantees, Magoosh provides a rock solid +5 point total score guarantee (or your money back) and a full refund within 7 days if you’re not satisfied.
Which GRE prep course costs more – Manhattan Prep or Magoosh?
The Manhattan Prep GRE packages are much more expensive than Magoosh’s packages, with their Complete Course costing over 7x as much. That said, the quality of Manhattan Prep’s Complete Course is incredible.
What’s the main difference between Magoosh and Manhattan Prep GRE prep courses?
The main difference between the Magoosh and Manhattan Prep GRE prep packages is the series of live class sessions you get with Manhattan Prep. They both offer video lessons, practice problems and simulated tests, but Manhattan ups the ante with live class work.
Which GRE prep company is better, Manhattan Prep or Magoosh?
We think that both companies offer strengths in different areas and which course is “better,” ultimately depends on the student.