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PrepScholar vs Magoosh SAT & ACT
Our side-by-side comparison of the PrepScholar and Magoosh SAT & ACT prep courses
There is no doubt that a good score on your SAT and/or ACT will be a key component of getting into your dream college. And in order to achieve the best possible score, you’ll likely need to turn to a prep course for help. With PrepScholar and Magoosh both offering effective, budget-friendly options, how do you choose? In this detailed comparison, we will provide you with a closer look at the SAT/ACT prep courses of both PrepScholar and Magoosh, as well as our team’s nod to the overall victor.
In order to most effectively compare these two SAT/ACT prep providers, it is important to see a side-by-side matchup of the features each offers. Let’s take a look at their respective hallmarks, and see how they measure up against each other.
Quality of Curriculum
Overall, our team believes that PrepScholar offers a slightly more comprehensive SAT/ACT curriculum. Their prep program includes a bundle of robust coursework, with detailed lessons that are delivered through their tried and tested “Learn, Practice and Review” approach. The concept is simple, but effective. You are steered through the text and video lessons, after which you take a quiz to check your level of learning. Then, you revisit the lesson by reviewing the information and making determinations about your grasp of the material and learning from your mistakes. By contrast, Magoosh delivers your content primarily through a less rigid structure of video lessons and a bank of practice questions. That said, if you are a disciplined learner, Magoosh’s approach should work just fine for your needs.
We also really like PrepScholar’s adaptive technology. Starting with the initial diagnostic test and continuing through your practice exams and mastery of the material, your program is customized to your specific needs, and constantly adapts to changes in your skill level. Magoosh, on the other hand, offers a generic, suggested schedule for working your way through the material. If you are self-motivated, this might work for you, but we were really impressed with PrepScholar’s personalized study plans. It should be noted that just because we give a modest edge to PrepScholar here, doesn’t discount the fact that we believe Magoosh offers some very good SAT/ACT prep resources. In fact, we really like their video-based problem explanations and the quality of their practice materials. We just like PrepScholar’s “Learn, Practice, Review” approach to studying better, as well as their customized study plans, where we really see added value. Advantage: PrepScholar.
Pricing & Course Options
The first concern of most students (or more likely their parents) looking for a prep course is cost. After all, high school students typically aren’t rolling in money, and their parents are interested in finding the best course for their student at an affordable price. PrepScholar and Magoosh both offer attractive price points for their prep offerings, but in the end, Magoosh wins out here.
With 1-month, 3-month and 12-month SAT subscription plans that run about $100, $120, and $130 respectively, and the same ACT subscription plans for about $80, $90, and $100, Magoosh definitely reigns supreme when it comes to value pricing. By comparison, PrepScholar’s self-paced SAT and ACT courses are just under $400 individually, with an option for dual prep for both exams at about $600. Either way, both courses offer extreme value when compared to competitors like Prep Expert. Advantage: Magoosh.
With both PrepScholar and Magoosh, your instruction is delivered primarily in the form of video lessons. While Magoosh stands out for the number of video lessons (200+ for SAT and 250+ for ACT compared to PrepScholar’s 50+ for SAT and 40+ for ACT), our team actually found them to be a bit lackluster in comparison to those of PrepScholar.
Magoosh’s videos consist of short, old-school, PowerPoint-type lessons. We found them to be very informative in terms of content, they just weren’t as engaging as the PrepScholar videos, which might make a difference for students who are easily distracted. Advantage: PrepScholar.
No Prep Books
Neither PrepScholar nor Magoosh offer hardcopy textbooks with their SAT and ACT prep courses. Magoosh, however, does have a standalone ACT prep book that can be purchased separately on Amazon. While it is not designed to track with their course, it would certainly be worth purchasing as a supplement to their course, especially if you are the type of student who benefits from the use of textbooks. If the hardcopy book was included with their prep package, we could declare a winner in this category. Advantage: Tie.
Live Classes & Tutoring
As far as live class instruction and tutoring goes, PrepScholar is the winner here. Up until recently, Magoosh did not offer live SAT or ACT classes, with 100% of their offerings being self-driven and online. However, they have recently rolled out a live class package that adds 16 hours of live instruction to their standard prep bundle. While we did find these classes helpful, they just don’t feel quite as well developed yet as PrepScholar’s classes. Perhaps with a couple years to work out the kinks and get the curriculum streamlined they will match PrepScholar, but for now we prefer PrepScholar’s top notch instructors, polished lesson work and small class sizes (capped at 9 students). Advantage: PrepScholar.
In total, PrepScholar has more full length practice exams than Magoosh. They offer 10 for the SAT and 5 for the ACT, whereas Magoosh has up to 3 for the SAT and up to 4 for the ACT. The quality of the questions on both PrepScholar’s and Magoosh’s practice tests is superb, and they closely mimic those found on the real exams. The practice exams offered up by Magoosh, however, are simply made up from the questions in their question bank. So in all likelihood they probably contain questions that you’ve previously answered during your studies, which we see as a downside.
In contrast, PrepScholar’s practice exams are made up of questions that are dedicated specifically for the practice exams. It should also be noted that the number of practice questions delivered by Magoosh (1,750+ SAT and 1,300+ ACT) pales in comparison to those included with PrepScholar (7,100+ SAT and 2,400+ ACT). Advantage: PrepScholar.
User Experience & Interface
Both of these courses provide uncluttered, user friendly dashboards. The simple design of Magoosh’s platform allows you to effortlessly navigate through each of the 4 sections of the test and practice exams. With PrepScholar, you choose from 3 tabs at the top of your screen to access your content lessons, strategy lessons, and progress tracking.
Both have bright colors and are visually appealing. The overall look and feel of both digital platforms is clean and pleasant, making it impossible to declare a winner here. Advantage: Tie.
Generally, with value courses, you don’t often see the inclusion of supplemental materials. And with such low price points, you can understand why. Magoosh, however, defies this school of thought by including some really good additional resources, most notably their mobile apps (yes, that is plural). Not only do they offer an exam prep and practice app, where you can access your lessons and practice questions, they also have a flashcard app, so you can get the most out of studying on the go. On the flip side, PrepScholar does not have a mobile app, which is unfortunate given that their prep course is 100% online. A few other Magoosh resources worth mentioning are a PDF of math formulas, a vocabulary builder, and an SAT eBook. Advantage: Magoosh.
Content Access Period
With all of PrepScholar’s courses (except the Complete Premium), you will have access to your course materials for a one year period. The Complete Premium gives you an additional year, for a total of two years of access, but it will also cost you about $180 more. With Magoosh, your content access period is directly related to which subscription plan you select.
If you purchase a 1-month subscription, you will have access to your course content for 1 month. If you purchase a 12-month subscription, your access will be for 12 months. The needs of each student must be taken into consideration when determining individual preferences regarding desired access period and related costs, making it rather subjective and nearly impossible to declare a winner in this category. Advantage: Tie.
Provided you have previously taken the SAT or ACT, both companies offer money-back score guarantees. PrepScholar and Magoosh both promise a 4-point increase on your ACT. The difference lies in their SAT assurances, where PrepScholar guarantees a score increase of 160+, but Magoosh only commits to a 100+ increase. In either case, both are generous guarantees as compared to other prep providers like Kaplan and Princeton Review, and should give you comfort in knowing that you will likely get a better score after completing their courses. Advantage: PrepScholar.
Verdict: Magoosh vs PrepScholar SAT & ACT
When it comes to comparing two of the best value courses for the SAT and ACT, we had to really dig deep to come up with a frontrunner. Both PrepScholar and Magoosh each offer comprehensive coursework with detailed video lessons and top-notch practice questions. Where PrepScholar offers a better overall quality of curriculum, which is enhanced with their adaptive technology and customized study plans, Magoosh stands out for their extra resources, especially their mobile apps. What PrepScholar brings to the table though, and what ultimately tips the scales in their favor, is the crazy amount of practice questions included with their course. That, combined with the fact that they offer more full length practice exams than Magoosh, is why we give the advantage to PrepScholar as the better SAT & ACT prep course.
Which prep course is better, PrepScholar or Magoosh?
Though both courses rate out highly on our scale, we found PrepScholar to offer a better overall SAT & ACT course.
What’s the difference between PrepScholar and Magoosh?
The two main differences between PrepScholar and Magoosh are in their study plans and quantity of practice questions. PrepScholar’s study plans are customized to your needs, while Magoosh offers more generic suggested schedules for studying. PrepScholar also has thousands more practice questions than Magoosh.
Do both Magoosh and PrepScholar have score increase guarantees?
Yes. Both course providers offer very similar score guarantees, with PrepScholar’s SAT score promise being a little more generous.