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Magoosh vs Princeton Review GMAT
Our in-depth evaluation of the GMAT courses from Magoosh and Princeton Review, with emphasis on how they compare
A typical scenario that future business school students find themselves in is trying to decide between the GMAT prep courses from Princeton Review and Magoosh. The usual situation goes something like this: “I know Princeton Review is good, but Magoosh is half the cost. Is it worth it?” Well, we address just that question in this detailed comparison of the two courses, breaking down key differences and providing our thoughts on which one to go with.
Let’s start this article with a quick discussion on one of the most important factors between these two GMAT courses: pricing. And as you likely know, this category is pretty straightforward, as Magoosh is the obvious winner.
The Magoosh self-paced plan costs around $250, and their premium plan, which includes live classes, costs around $600. Conversely, Princeton’s self-paced course is priced closer to $800, with their live class options starting at around $1,400.
In other words, by going with Magoosh for your GMAT prep, you’ll likely save anywhere from $500 to $800 in total over Princeton Review.
However, it is noteworthy that both Magoosh and Princeton Review regularly offer sales and special promotions, so be sure to look out for coupon codes and deals before buying. I regularly see both of these courses discounted by 10% to 15% off.
How Each GMAT Prep Program Works
The interesting thing about Princeton Review and Magoosh is that despite the major disparity in price, from a high level, the courses don’t actually look that different. Let me explain.
When considering how each GMAT program generally works, the courses from Magoosh and Princeton are pretty similar in terms of both features and study materials. Both companies provide video lessons, live online classes, a guided study plan, practice problems, practice tests, and support, among other mutual features.
In other words, from a checklist-type of perspective, you’re sort of getting the same course. However, when it comes to delivery, the two GMAT courses are pretty different. Princeton Review uses a very streamlined and linear approach to teaching based around gated learning modules, while Magoosh offers more a DIY, self-study type of format.
Basically, Princeton Review tells you exactly what to study and when, sequencing your learning into linear modules, while Magoosh allows you to select what you want to study and when – if at all. In short, it’s highly structured vs laissez-faire.
That said, however, my analogy is bit of an oversimplification and there are more subtle differences. To explore those, let’s look at where each company wins over one another.
Where Magoosh GMAT Wins
Let’s begin our more in-depth analysis with Magoosh.
Clearly, the biggest win for Magoosh over Princeton Review is pricing. Magoosh is far more affordable than Princeton Review and, honestly, Magoosh is one of, if not the, best values in the entire GMAT prep industry.
It’s just hard not to like their price point. But you don’t need me to tell you that, so let’s move on.
Fantastic Problem Explanations: Text and Video
While Princeton Review might beat Magoosh in terms of the total number of practice questions you get (discussed further below), I actually think Magoosh beats Princeton when it comes to the explanations of those practice problems.
In short, Magoosh provides problem solutions for every single practice question in both text and video format, while Princeton’s only include text.
In my opinion, these Magoosh video explanations are a game changer, especially for visual learners. Often, text explanations alone just won’t get the job done (especially for math problems), and these Magoosh videos break down problems in a very clear and efficient manner.
They provide a quick, engaging means of reviewing your practice work with a visual component that makes the material more digestible.
Better For Multiple Exam Sittings
Another small, but important advantage for Magoosh is their content access period. When you purchase a Magoosh GMAT course, you receive access for 12 months.
By comparison, Princeton’s courses come with just 120 days of access. Thus, if you plan on taking the GMAT multiple times, perhaps because you’re a nervous test taker and plan on treating your first attempt as a trial run, or you’re just banking on taking the highest of multiple scores, this will be a benefit.
Similarly, if you have a crazy schedule and plan on slowly studying when you can over an extended period of time, Magoosh is going to be the better option.
Better Score Promise
In a similar vein to the access period, Magoosh offers a better score guarantee policy. If you’re looking for some serious score increase insurance, Magoosh offers a +50 point total score guarantee.
So long as you meet their requirements (always read these), Magoosh will give you a full refund if your score doesn’t improve at least 50 points.
Princeton Review, on the other hand, only offers a “You’ll Score Higher” guarantee. In other words, they promise a 10-point increase, the lowest increment possible. The one exception to this, however, is the Princeton Review GMAT 700+ course, which promises a score of 700 or better (though like Magoosh, make sure to read the fine print).
Knowing the advantages Magoosh has over Princeton Review, let’s now flip the script and talk about where Princeton Review wins.
Volume of Study Material
Above all else, there’s one big highlight that encompasses four different areas – Princeton Review’s volume of study material. Simply put, they beat Magoosh in almost every category when it comes to quantity.
Let’s start with the number of practice questions as the perfect example. Princeton Review offers over 3,000 GMAT practice problems, whereas the Magoosh courses only come with around 1,300.
This is a clear and obvious win, which benefits those types of students that learn best by just doing.
Then you’ve got practice tests. Princeton Review offers 10 full-length, computer adaptive practice tests that closely mimic the actual exam. By comparison, Magoosh only offers two.
Not to mention, Magoosh’s practice tests are generated using the same pool of 1,300 practice questions. As such, there’s a chance you might see a question on one of your practice tests that you’ve already come across during your normal coursework.
Live class time is another quantifiable area where Princeton Review beats Magoosh. Depending on which Princeton course you end up choosing, you’ll get anywhere from 27 to 47 hours of live instruction.
On the other side, Magoosh’s Live + Premium course comes with just 16 hours of live instruction. Thus, if you’re the type of student who prefers learning in a live class setting (where you can interact with teachers and peers, and ask a bunch of questions), or if you simply need a fixed class schedule to help hold yourself accountable and stay organized, then I think Princeton is the better option.
Lastly, let’s discuss GMAT prep books and hardcopy study materials. In short, Princeton Review goes straight to the source and gives each student a copy of the GMAT Official Guide from GMAC, which contains over 1,000 real GMAT questions and strategies from the makers of the exam.
Magoosh, on the other hand, doesn’t provide any hardcopy prep books, only digital booklets. Therefore, if you’re more of an old-school type of student that prefers learning via hardcopy prep books, then Princeton Review is probably a better fit for your learning style.
For those of you that prefer highlighting key points, dog earing pages, and taking notes in the margins of a physical book, keep this in mind.
Should you choose Princeton Review or Magoosh for your GMAT prep? Well, I think the answer to that question depends largely on two factors: (1) your budget and (2) what score you’re targeting.
If your budget is $600 or less, clearly go with Magoosh. As mentioned above, I believe Magoosh is one of the best values in all of GMAT prep. However, if money is not an issue, I think the decision boils down to your target score. If you’re just looking to score in the 600’s so you can get accepted into a local MBA program, or there’s a specialty grad program you’re eying that doesn’t require a top-tier score, I’d suggest saving the money and once again choosing Magoosh. Their course is plenty good to get you there.
If, however, you’re looking to score 700+ and get accepted into a top-rated MBA program, I think Princeton Review is the way to go. Their courses, while more expensive, are also much more robust in terms of features, content and instruction. I personally think Princeton’s GMAT course, especially one of their live class packages, is going to give you the best shot of scoring high on the GMAT.
Which GMAT prep course is better - Magoosh or Princeton Review?
While we generally like the GMAT courses from Princeton Review and Magoosh, giving both high grades among all GMAT study options, Princeton Review likely has the better overall course (in terms of depth of coursework, features, and content). HOWEVER, given that Magoosh is roughly half the cost, their value makes the decision very difficult.
Is Princeton Review that much better than Magoosh for GMAT prep?
Whether Princeton Review is so much better than Magoosh as to warrant paying the hefty price tag is a very tough call. Magoosh offers a solid course and is not far behind Princeton Review in terms of effectiveness despite being a fraction of the cost.
Do Magoosh and Princeton Review offer GMAT score guarantees?
Yes, both Magoosh and Princeton Review offer score increase guarantees for their GMAT courses. Magoosh offers a +50 point total score guarantee, while Princeton Review offers a more general “better score” guarantee. The one exception is Princeton Review’s 700+ course, which promises a score of 700 or better.