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Target Test Prep vs Magoosh GRE
A detailed comparison of the GRE prep courses from Target Test Prep and Magoosh
When it comes to GRE prep, a lot of people like to keep things cheap. The $1,000 courses from Kaplan, Princeton Review and other GRE prep companies simply cost too much. That is why folks turn to Magoosh and Target Test Prep – two affordable, yet quality prep providers in the GRE prep space. In this review, we compare the features of both courses head-to-head and give you our thoughts on which course is better after using each.
The Magoosh GRE prep course isn’t the fanciest or most complex prep course I’ve reviewed. Far from, actually. Magoosh’s coursework is simple, straightforward, and frankly, effective.
To keep things high level, the Magoosh GRE course is built around three core elements: video lessons, practice work, and a review function.
The video lectures are housed in a library-style catalog, where you pick and choose which ones you want to watch. There are around 100 of them in total, and each covers one of the subtopics tested on the GRE in about 4 to 8 minutes.
They are succinct, punchy, and clearly communicate teaching points in just a few short minutes. Though I like them, I do have to admit that they are a little old school in their delivery, and thus, a hair dry.
Then there’s the practice work. Magoosh provides around 1,600 practice problems and 3 full-length GRE practice tests. These numbers aren’t anything special, but two things I really like about Magoosh’s practice work are (1) the questions are highly realistic of real problems, and (2) the problem explanations are fantastic.
You get solutions in both text and video format, and they are tremendously useful. I was especially a fan of the video solutions.
Beyond the video lessons and practice work, you also get a study schedule, review function that provides insights on your performance, and a few other small tools. But by and large, this course is about the good old one-two punch: video lessons and practice material. Learn, practice, repeat. Pretty simple.
The Magoosh GRE Advantages
Now that you know how the Magoosh GRE course is structured generally, let me quickly break down where I see Magoosh beating Target Test Prep.
The clearest advantage for Magoosh lies in their instructional materials. Where Target Test Prep uses text-based lessons to teach, Magoosh uses video.
Now to be clear, the Magoosh videos are not exactly eye-popping 4K videos with killer graphics. Far from, really. They are slideshow-style and move a little slower. In other words, they’re a little dated.
But honestly, ask yourself, would you rather read a lesson or watch it in video format? Would you rather read a chapter from a textbook or watch a YouTube video on the topic? I’m guessing 80% of people would prefer video. Me too.
And given that Magoosh has over 100 video lessons, all solely focused on content review and test taking strategies, it’s a big advantage.
More Engaging Program
Piggybacking on my last point is the matter of engagement. Largely because the Magoosh course is video-based, it is more engaging in my opinion.
I sometimes found it hard to keep focused through an entire written lesson with TTP. The little interludes of video sample problems help, but some concepts are dense and technical, and reading about them wasn’t fun. Or even the slightest bit engaging for that matter.
In contrast, my attention never really seemed to wane with Magoosh. It was just a more lively, engaging program in my opinion.
More Realistic Questions
In judging practice work between these two companies, I found Magoosh to have the edge in terms of realism.
Target Test Prep’s practice material is perfectly fine, but on average, Magoosh’s problems seemed to better match the style, length and content of real problems on the GRE.
Given how important it is to practice under exam-like questions, I personally think this gives Magoosh a major boost.
Across the entire Target Test Prep GRE course, you are tasked with completing 40 learning modules. Each module (except the final few, which are practice test-based), follow the same general pattern.
You start with a diagnostic quiz to set your baseline and get warmed up. Then you work through a lesson. Again, however, unlike the Magoosh lessons which are video-based, the Target Test Prep lessons are text-based.
They do occasionally work in sample problems with video solutions into the text lesson, but by and large, these teaching points take a text format.
Then after each lesson you work on a practice problem set to make sure you understand the concepts taught in the lesson. And finally, you wrap up with a review session to review your mistakes and learn from your weaknesses.
It’s a pretty simple and straightforward program. Outside of the main lesson work in the modules, there really isn’t much to the TTP program.
They have a Qbank and performance metrics, but that’s largely it. Finish your 40 study units, and you’re ready for the exam.
The Target Test Prep GRE Advantages
Now that you know how the TTP course works and where Magoosh has its advantages, let’s discuss where Target Test Prep wins.
Focus on Math
For whatever reason, Target Test Prep places a much greater emphasis on quant (math) than verbal (English).
The explanation could be as simple as the fact that there are more individual math subtopics tested on the exam than verbal subtopics, but I’m not sure.
Either way, I like it. I would guess based on experience that 90% of people find the math portion of the GRE exam harder than the verbal section, so I like this heavy weighting.
Target Test Prep does not shy away from the quant topics, and this can be very beneficial. If you struggle with math and need extra attention, Target Test Prep might be a good fit.
Very Detail Oriented
While the shorter Magoosh video lessons make the course more engaging overall, it also makes it a little more cursory. Video lessons go by quickly and you really don’t dive that deep into other material.
In contrast, the Target Test Prep text lessons are very detail heavy. Again, this has the effect of making them more dry (and honestly, a little boring), but if you want to get into the weeds on these topics, Target Test Prep is definitely going to be your jam.
Their lessons are very detail oriented and nitty gritty.
Structured Learning Path
In terms of structured learning, I believe Target Test Prep has an advantage. The Magoosh course is more flexible about how you learn, but that isn’t necessarily a huge plus. They do have suggested study schedules, but it’s generally up to you to drive your own studies. This can bother some people, particularly those that like structure.
In contrast, Target Test Prep guides you through the material in a very orderly way. The 40 study units are neatly organized on a nice little path and you just follow along.
For those that want more of a hand holding-type experience, Target Test Prep will likely be a better option.
Target Test Prep offers three prep options: GRE Flexible Prep, GRE Dedicated Prep, and GRE Maximum Learning.
The GRE Flexible Prep is a monthly subscription plan that costs roughly $150/month. The GRE Dedicated Prep option carries a one-time price tag of around $450 and gives you 4 months of access. Then lastly, you’ve got the GRE Maximum Learning package, which costs about $500 and gives you 6 months of prep time. All packages grant you access to all of Target Test Prep’s materials.
Magoosh also has three plans to choose from. They offer a 1-Month Premium self-study plan that costs approximately $149; a 6-Month Premium self-study course that costs around $179; and a Premium + Admissions course that costs $260.
Putting all this in perspective, Magoosh offers a much more affordable prep course. Their flagship 6-month course costs just $180, while the equivalent Target Test Prep GRE Maximum Learning package costs $500.
Verdict: Target Test Prep or Magoosh GRE? Who Wins?
Between these courses, I have a clear favorite – Magoosh. Not only does the Magoosh course cost a fraction of what Target Test Prep charges, but I also found it to be more engaging and effective.
While I lost attention at times during Target Test Prep’s text-based lessons, Magoosh’s video lectures held my attention throughout. It could be the fact that the videos are only about 6 minutes long on average, but either way, it works.
When coupled with Magoosh’s realistic and quality practice work, to me, it makes the decision pretty easy. For those on a budget prepping for the GRE, I would go with Magoosh.
Is Magoosh better than Target Test Prep for GRE?
Yes, in my opinion, after using and reviewing both prep courses, the GRE course from Magoosh is ultimately better than that from Target Test Prep. I prefer the Magoosh video lessons and problem explanations, giving them the edge.
What is the best affordable GRE prep course?
There are a number of cheaper and more affordable GRE prep courses today. Among the half dozen or so we’ve purchased and reviewed, Magoosh is definitely up near the top. Target Test Prep isn’t bad, but we do think Magoosh has a clear advantage in this value course category of prep materials.