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Magoosh vs Princeton Review GRE
See which GRE prep course is right for you in this detailed Princeton Review vs Magoosh comparison
Don’t underestimate the GRE. Though a lot of students have a tendency to think of it as a glorified SAT, or blow it off because it isn’t a large part of their grad school application, the GRE can be a sneaky hard test. And to do well on it, you’re going to need a prep course. But deciding which prep course is best for you can be a difficult decision. That’s why we are comparing two of the top GRE prep courses – Magoosh and Princeton Review – in this detailed post.
Given that this is a detailed comparison, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.
Video Review: Magoosh Or Princeton Review?
In the above video, team member John covers the major pros and cons of each GRE prep package, and who Magoosh and Princeton Review might be best for. For more detail, continue reading our full written comparison below.
Comparing Magoosh and Princeton Review is kind of hard given how different these two companies are. While Magoosh prides itself on providing extremely flexible, digital-first, high-value courses with serious bang for the buck, Princeton offers deep experience, a robust curriculum and some top-notch instructors.
Which prep course is best for you is probably going to depend on your unique circumstances, preferences and study habits, but let’s take a closer look at each course on a variety of criteria. And let’s start with the areas in which Princeton Review beats Magoosh.
GRE Study Materials
Magoosh and Princeton take vastly different approaches to their GRE study materials. As one would imagine based on each prep course’s pricing structure, while Magoosh takes the budget approach, Princeton spares no expense in their GRE course curriculum. Nevertheless, in their own right, both programs offer a quality product.
Although priced at only a fraction of the cost of Princeton’s basic online prep course, don’t be fooled into thinking there is no way Magoosh can offer top level GRE study materials.
In fact, Magoosh gives you basically everything you need to get an excellent score on the GRE (same story with Achievable GRE).
The primary component of Magoosh’s study materials is their video lessons. While somewhat lacking in production quality, the videos lessons are substance rich, very comprehensive, and cover every topic on the GRE.
The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and do an excellent job of breaking down problem sets and complex subject matter. Short practice problem sets follow each video lesson to further reinforce what you just learned.
Beyond the video lessons and problem sets, Magoosh also offers a superb customizable problem function that allows you to create practice sets based on a variety of metrics, excellent in-depth problem explanations, and a very cool review function that gives you a snapshot picture of how you’re performing at any moment in time on any of a variety of filtered variables.
Overall, even at its’ price point, Magoosh offers a very impressive package of study materials.
However, Princeton Review dominates with the sheer quantity and quality of its’ study materials. Princeton’s core curriculum is broken down into 4 sections that generally align with the GRE: math, verbal, essay, and strategies.
Each of the 4 sections is further divided into units based on subtopics and concepts, and follow a clear and repeated structure of: “essentials, lessons and drills”.
The units lead off with a short video lesson covering the “Essential” foundational principles. The videos are very clean and professional with high production quality. The topics are presented in a natural flow, the instructors are excellent and the mode of delivery is incredibly effective.
Following each “Essential” video is a “Lesson” component of the unit broken into the repeated pattern of: getting started, discover, explore and stepping back – essentially diving deeper and further reinforcing each subtopic or concept.
Lastly, following the “Lesson” is a series of “Drills” utilizing Princeton’s proprietary “Drill Smart” program. The “Drill Smart” program is an adapted performance technology intended to operate just like the real GRE, and we found it to be a very valuable tool.
In total, Princeton’s study materials are without peer in the GRE prep space, and its’ course structure of engaging essential videos, dynamic and interactive lessons, and adaptive drills hammer home the subject matter like no other prep course does.
GRE Prep Books
The comparison between Magoosh and Princeton Review is relatively easy when it comes to prep books: one course provides hardcopy books (Princeton Review) and one doesn’t (Magoosh).
That said, Magoosh is upfront about this matter and prides itself on being a strictly 100% digital online prep course. In fact, Magoosh pitches this as an advantage – you can study anywhere, at anytime, on any device.
On the other hand, Princeton provides hardcopy textbooks with its Fundamentals and GRE 162+ courses (though notably not their Self-Paced or 10 Points+ options).
These books track the lessons of the two course options and offer in-depth concept explanations, strategies for approaching different tested material, and example practice problems.
We found these books to be well-written and neatly organized, and helpful overall, but not necessarily a highlight of the course.
And just as a note for those that are looking at Princeton’s Self-Paced option, they do offer a “GRE Premium Prep” study book, which can be purchased through Amazon.
They market this standalone book as an alternative to their prep courses, but we’re pretty skeptical of this claim.
We purchased the book, and although it does contain written lessons, practice problems and some practice tests, we really only found the study book to be the functional equivalent of a supplement, as it doesn’t come close to providing the comprehensive curriculum of the prep course itself, or what is needed to perform well on the GRE.
So we would suggest giving that book a look only as a complement to the Self-Paced course.
GRE Practice Tests
Both Magoosh and Princeton offer practice tests that are close replications the actual GRE. For one, they both provide GRE exam-style questions and real test day experience through their simulated computer programs that use adaptive technology that increases in difficulty as you perform better – similar to the real GRE.
However, while Magoosh offers only 3 full-length practice tests, Princeton offers an industry leading 8 full-length tests.
Further, we found Princeton’s questions were slightly better than Magoosh’s in mirroring the GRE style, content and format (Manhattan Prep offers realistic practice tests as well).
That wasn’t a major disparity, but enough worth noting. In addition, Princeton provides an interactive score report that is very helpful in breaking down your performance and allowing you to filter down on different variables to better access your strengths and weaknesses.
Live GRE Classes
Magoosh used to offer live GRE classes but no longer does. We’re not sure why Magoosh decided to remove their live classes.
Nevertheless, this results in another easy win for Princeton Review since they offer 24 hours of live online instruction with its flagship Fundamentals prep course, and 45 hours with its’ GRE 162+ package. As you would expect with Princeton, the classroom experience is excellent.
The classes are thoughtfully planned, well executed and extremely effective. The instructors are very knowledgeable, engaging and are masters at holding your attention through a fast-paced class. We highly recommend the classroom component for anyone who may need more structure in their studies, or who simply favor a live course.
Refund Policy & Score Guarantees
Both Magoosh and Princeton stand behind their course products and have a refund policy and a score guarantee. Magoosh offers a very simple 7-day money back refund policy. If for any reason you are unhappy with its’ course, simply send them an email and your tuition will be fully refunded. No questions asked.
Magoosh also offers a simple guaranteed 5-point increase in your score – or your money back (to qualify for the score guarantee, among other conditions, you must have previously taken the GRE).
Similarly, Princeton offers a 100% refund of your tuition on its’ Self-Paced course if requested within 7 days of purchase.
However, with its’ other program offerings, Princeton only offers a full refund of your tuition if cancelled prior to the scheduled start date of the course.
Princeton’s score guarantee generously covers all four of its’ course options: Self-Paced, 10 Points+, Fundamentals and GRE 162+.
Provided you follow certain requirements, for example: having previously taken the GRE, attending all classes, completing all homework, taking all the practice tests; and you don’t get an improvement in your GRE score, Princeton offers your choice of a full refund of your tuition or the option to retake the course free of charge.
PLEASE NOTE: Both Magoosh and Princeton Review’s Refund Policy and Score Guarantees come with many conditions and qualifiers, so please read the fine print.
We should mention though that Princeton Review does offer GRE tutoring in case you need one-on-one instruction.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Extra GRE Resources
Typically, the term “value prep course” translates to limited extra resources. However, such is not the case with Magoosh.
Surprisingly, Magoosh offers several helpful resources such as: a custom study planner and recommended study schedules (based on study timeframes from 1 week to 6 months), subject flashcards, a mobile app crammed full of practice material, 24/7 email support, related blog, and very helpful test taking tips under its’ general resources.
Overall, we were genuinely impressed with the scope and quality of Magoosh’s added resources.
Princeton’s included resources are also extensive and add significant value to its’ course materials.
A few of Princeton’s many added extra resources include: access to two 1.5-hour GRE Math Fundamentals live online courses (available on any of its’ course options), its’ Vocabulary Hit Parade workbook on the most commonly seen vocabulary terms on the test, test taking tips, a practice schedule, and extensive student support.
Princeton has been prepping students for the GRE for over 35 years and they are truly experts in providing students with every tool they need to succeed.
Content of any prep course is important, but equally important is the delivery of the content – and both Magoosh and Princeton do an excellent job in the form of their delivery.
Magoosh’s dashboard, interface and user experience are all above and beyond what you would expect from a budget-friendly prep course.
The dashboard is clean, simple and offers direct access to many helpful tools. From the homepage you’re just a click away from suggested lessons, including “Quick Practice” options that allow you to immediately jump into practice problem sets. Overall, the look is sharp with excellent user functionality.
Princeton’s user interface is every bit the equal of Magoosh, and in many ways superior. The online content is structured very simply but professionally, and is extremely easy to use.
The homepage is well designed, and tabs for your dashboard, practice tests, coursework, schedule and resources are easy to spot and quickly navigate you to your desired location.
The interface is very intuitive with some cool features and resources. It’s very obvious that Princeton has dedicated a lot of time and money to the online user experience, and it definitely shows. But given Magoosh’s value, dollar for dollar, they win.
Online Content Access Period
Magoosh provides 6 months of content access with both of their course offerings. Technically, they also offer a one month package, but unless you really only need a couple weeks of study time, we’d suggest paying up for the full 6 month course. It’s only a few bucks more.
Princeton provides students a 120-day (4 month) access period across all of its’ course options. However, with its’ higher end Fundamentals and GRE 162+ courses, Princeton adds as a bonus access to all course materials during your early enrollment period.
So, if you enroll a month before your GRE course scheduled start date you effectively get 5 months of full access.
Verdict: Magoosh vs Princeton Review For GRE Prep?
Although Magoosh and Princeton Review both offer high-quality study materials to help students score high on the GRE, the decision between the two is quite easy in our eyes.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for the better overall prep course, there’s no question Princeton Review is the winner.
The Princeton Review GRE prep package is just more robust than Magoosh at the end of the day.
With that said, Magoosh is still a great GRE prep option. If you’re working with a limited budget and can’t afford to splurge on a course from Princeton, Magoosh is likely the best budget prep option on the market.
Which GRE prep course is better - Princeton Review or Magoosh?
In our opinion, the Princeton Review GRE prep course is better than its Magoosh counterpart. The depth of Princeton’s coursework simply can’t be matched by Magoosh. With that said, the Magoosh GRE prep course is well-suited for students working with a limited budget.
Which GRE prep course is more affordable - Princeton Review or Magoosh?
The GRE prep course offered by Magoosh is considerably cheaper than Princeton Review. However, Princeton Review does offer a more robust study package for students.
Do Magoosh and Princeton Review offer higher score guarantees?
Yes, both Magoosh and Princeton Review offer higher score guarantees with their GRE prep packages.