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Magoosh SAT Prep Review
Our detailed review of the Magoosh SAT prep course
For the bargain hunting parent seeking an SAT prep course with the perfect balance of affordability and study resources for their college-bound high schooler, the Magoosh SAT prep course sounds like a dream. For just a shade over $100, you get access to hundreds of video lessons, thousands of practice problems and full-length practice SAT exams, among other study materials. But with all of these resources offered at such a low price point, this naturally makes you wonder, “How good is this Magoosh SAT course, really?”. We answer that question and more in this detailed review.
Until recently, Magoosh offered just one prep option – their “Magoosh SAT Prep” package. To be clear, this prep package does come in three different formats – the 1 Month, 3 Month and 12 Month packages – though the course itself remains the same. As you can probably guess, the aptly named packages each correspond with their level of access. In other words, the 1 Month package gets you one 1 month of access to Magoosh’s materials, the 3 Month course gets you 3 months of access, and the 12 Month option gets you 12 months of access. Pretty simple. And in terms of pricing, the three packages cost right around $100, $120 and $130, respectively.
However, just recently Magoosh has shaken up their basic offerings menu to provide live classes. This is a big change for Magoosh, and shifts away from their historical student self-driven approach to prep. This new course option combines 16 hours of live class instruction (meeting twice per week for two hours) with their standard online prep package, and prices out at around $400.
The bottom line on cost is that Magoosh offers one of the best values around. No matter how you look at it, that is a fantastic bargain given the level of resources you get (more on this below). Most other full-scale SAT prep courses cost hundreds (and sometimes thousands) more, making Magoosh a relative steal, whether considering their self-paced course or new live class option. In fact, this is why Magoosh lands on our list of best SAT prep courses as our team’s value pick.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Review of the Magoosh SAT Coursework & Study Materials
At its low price point of right around $100, Magoosh offers a very impressive bundle of coursework. But whether the structure of such coursework will work for you depends on the type of student that you are. Rather than designing a cohesive curriculum that provides a linear path from beginning to end in your studies, Magoosh takes a more laissez-faire approach to how students’ progress through the coursework.
Specifically, Magoosh maintains a library of video lessons, quizzes and coursework, which students can attack in the order they see fit. Magoosh does not force you to proceed through the work in any certain order – it us up to the students to drive their learning and progress. If you want to start with math material, then start with it. Or if want to focus on the reading section, hammer reading for a few straight days. In other words, you choose your own prep path. Now whether this will work for you totally depends on the type of student and individual that you are.
If you are motivated and a self-learner, or a visual learner that does well with video lessons, I personally think Magoosh will be a great fit for you. But if you need personal guidance and lots of hand holding, Magoosh may not be the best match. And if you are somewhere in between, there is still a good chance Magoosh will work for you, as the daily study sessions are only 20-30 minutes in length. So if you (or your high school student) aren’t the most self-motivated or perhaps not the greatest at learning on your own, Magoosh can still work if you can hold it together for a just a half-hour per day.
With respect to these short study sessions, there are two primary forms of learning with Magoosh – video lessons and practice work. The video lessons are the foundation of your instructional work, and in total, there are more than 200 of them in Magoosh’s library. You access these video lessons from a catalog of lectures generally grouped by subject matter, under tabs corresponding to the section of the SAT exam.
Generally shorter in length (4 to 12 minutes), these lectures are designed to hold a teenager’s attention. I love this decision by Magoosh to keep the videos short, but I am not crazy about the format. The videos are PowerPoint-style lectures, where your instructor verbalizes their lesson over a series of slides on a particular subject. As the instructor speaks, they make notes on the slides in red ink, marking them up with key points for emphasis.
To be honest, these are not the most exciting videos in the world. There are no digital effects, people onscreen or cool transitions. And the picture is a little grainy and dated. As such, they are not the most engaging. But what they are is informative and effective. These bite-sized videos hammer the most important SAT topics and give you everything you need to know in digestible chunks. So while not a thrill to watch, they are saved by their short length, which helps to get the first-rate content across.
Throughout the library of video lessons, Magoosh sprinkles in short quizzes to test your knowledge on the lesson just covered. So for example, if you just watched the short video lesson on right triangles, you may have to take a quick 5-quesiton quiz on the subject. These quizzes are fast and help to reinforce the content. In my opinion, these quizzes are a huge help for material retention and I actually wish there were more interspersed throughout the video lectures. They are very helpful to demonstrate the point just made and help the material sink in.
Between video lectures you work on practice questions. To get to the practice problems, you create custom practice sessions under the individual exam section tabs. This is one of the best features of the Magoosh SAT course. You can completely customize a practice set by question type, difficulty, timing and more. This allows you to narrowly focus on weak spots or areas where you have a chance to make significant improvement.
As for the practice questions themselves, they are very good. I think the Magoosh practice questions very closely resemble real SAT questions, and I give kudos to their in-house SAT experts who created them. I found them to be near twins of real questions, offering the opportunity to practice with exam-like materials.
But better than the practice questions themselves are the explanations of the problems. Magoosh offers both a text explanation and video explanation for every practice question. Given there are over 1,750 practice questions in their arsenal, it is mind boggling that Magoosh can pull this off (especially at this price point). That means you gets thousands of short video solutions, which is a huge benefit.
I do like the text explanations and found them to be quite thorough, but the videos take the cake. The videos clearly show step by step how you solve the problem and the reasoning behind a question. These videos are in the same boring format as the video-based instruction, but they are quite short (usually just a couple minutes in length). In essence, you get a 2- or 3-minute visual breakdown of each question by an SAT expert. You really can’t ask for much more than that.
Around working practice problems you can also review your progress under Magoosh’s “Review” section. This page offers you a detailed look at data around your performance and how you stack up against your peers (in terms of pacing and % correct). You also get a predicted score based on Magoosh’s best estimate. I found this Review feature and the accompanying metrics to help helpful, but not the most useful tool ever. I looked at it from time to time to make sure I as staying on track and keeping up with peers, but that was about it.
That is generally it for the coursework. You watch video lectures and work practice problems (for a recommended 2.5+ hours per week), and within a couple months you should be ready for the exam according to Magoosh. Though again to be clear, you are never specifically prompted to work on specific lessons or practice work by Magoosh.
They do make suggestions on the dashboard as to what they think may help, and do offer suggested study schedules, but you are not directed to complete material in a certain order like you are with Kaplan and Princeton Review. Whether you like this or not likely depends on the individual. If I had one wish, it would be that Magoosh incorporate some sort of optional curriculum into their digital platform that allows you to be placed on a directed program. But without it, it’s not the end of the world.
Overall, I really like the Magoosh course for what it is. It is not going to give you the most robust curriculum that you follow from end-to-end, and the video lessons don’t have the best format or delivery, but Magoosh gives everything you need to succeed. The lectures are incredibly informative, the practice work is realistic, and you get some top shelf problem explanations to help you learn from your mistakes. There is no reason most learners wouldn’t be just fine with Magoosh. And at this price point, you really can’t go wrong.
SAT Practice Exams
In addition to an abundance of high-quality practice questions, Magoosh SAT students also get access to up to 3 full-length practice tests. I say “up to 3” because Magoosh does not have dedicated practice exams with fresh content. Instead, Magoosh generates the practice exams from your bank of 1,750+ practice questions. So there is a chance you may have come across a practice exam question before during your studies.
This is a little disappointing as other prep providers like Prep Expert and PrepScholar offer standalone practice exams for students to get a true exam-like experience with new content. But at Magoosh’s low price point, you can’t really expect the world. It is also worth noting that I was big fan of Magoosh’s interface for the practice exam. They don’t have you print out and take a paper and pencil exam, but the interface and format of the practice test was very easy to use.
If you’re the type of student that likes to thumb through paperback textbooks to learn, you may be a little disappointed to hear that Magoosh does not offer a textbook with its SAT prep course (hard copy or digital). This is too bad, as I think a workbook could be a solid addition to this course. And in fact, Magoosh does offer an ACT workbook (through Amazon), but for some reason doesn’t have an SAT counterpart. Like the practice exam matter, this is a little disappointing, but somewhat expected with the price tag.
Interface and User Experience
User interface and experience is one of Magoosh’s greatest strengths. Many online-only prep companies feel that they have to go overboard on the features and functionality of their website to make up for the fact that there is no in-person or textbook component of the offering. This often results in a busy dashboard or cluttered pages. Thankfully, Magoosh doesn’t fall into this trap.
Magoosh instead chooses to do more with less. Their digital platform is clean, simple and super user friendly. They don’t clog up your dashboard with useless links and tools, or put a million features on the navigation bar. They just give you what you need and get out of the way so you can focus on the material. I love this about the Magoosh course. I honestly think my cousin’s 4-year old could navigate this portal with ease.
The navigation bar at the top of your screen directs you to one of the four sections of the test (which each houses lessons and practice work), the practice exam home screen or back to the dashboard. It’s really that simple. And within each main page, the functionality is very intuitive. I really like this ease of use with Magoosh’s platform.
And fortunately they don’t sacrifice aesthetics to get there. Though they take a minimalist design, the look and feel of the platform is pleasing on the eyes. The bright colors and simple layouts make it visually appealing. Overall, I really like the simple design and execution of the Magoosh platform, which is a good thing, as you’ll spend significant time in their portal.
Magoosh Live SAT Classes
Until just recently, Magoosh’s SAT prep was completely self-directed, where students are given everything they need online and allowed to drive their studies. And to be clear, that is still going to be the case for the vast majority of students that sign up with Magoosh. Their self-paced programs with a price tag of just over $100 are too appealing to pass up.
However, if live class time is critical to you, and you need the accountability and commitment that comes with regular live sessions, Magoosh now offers live online classes. These classes meet twice per week for two hour sessions (generally Tuesdays and Thursdays, but check their offerings), and a Magoosh SAT pro guides students through lessons that touch on many of the same points in the self-driven prep work.
In my opinion, these new SAT classes are worthwhile for the extra few hundred dollars if you’re not the most self-motivated learner. These live classes didn’t blow me out of the water like PrepScholar’s live class sessions in terms of substance, but were valuable. The Magoosh SAT instructor teaching the class I sat in on was fantastic. He was clearly an SAT master and did a fantastic job breaking down concepts and providing some helpful tips. Now, it was clear that Magoosh was still working out a few kinks with their classes being a new offering, but overall, I thought they were rock solid in terms of lesson design and instructor delivery. And honestly, you are going to be hard pressed to find SAT live classes with a bundle of effective online work for less than $400.
Tutoring from Magoosh
Magoosh does not offer traditional tutoring packages like other test prep companies. But what they do offer is 24/7 email support from their SAT experts. If you get stuck on a problem or have a question about a video lesson, you can shoot their team an email and they’ll get back to you pretty quickly. They don’t put a strict deadline on how quickly they will get back to you, but in my experience it was generally about 24 hours.
I emailed them twice during my course and both times I got a next-day response around the same time of day that I sent the email. Both emails were sent mid-week, mid-day, so weekends and nights may be a different story, but I would say 24 hours is probably right around their standard response time. I think this was perfectly acceptable for turnaround time, and actually really liked the answers I got. Both email replies were detailed and gave me everything I needed, and made clear to follow up if I had any lingering questions. They genuinely seemed to care that I got my questions answered.
For most students prepping for the SAT, this should be fine to get their occasional question answered. But if you’re looking for private 1:1 guidance, Magoosh likely isn’t your landing spot. And it really can’t be at this value price point. If you’re after some really personalized support, I would check out Testive – as that is more their forte.
Content Access Periods
Your content access period will be directly tied to the type of plan you purchase with Magoosh, as their plans are access-specific, not resource-specific like other companies. In simpler terms, the 1 Month course gets you 1 month of access, the 3 Month package gets you 3 months, and the 12 Month package gets you 12 months of access. You get the picture. And just to note, the new live class option comes with 12 months of access to Magoosh’s SAT prep materials.
Does Magoosh Have a Mobile App?
Not only does Magoosh offer a mobile app, they actually offer two. This is another surprising benefit and huge strength of this course. The first mobile app (which is available for both iPhone and Android) contains your study materials. Through this app (called the “SAT Exam Prep & Practice” app), you get access to all of your video lessons, practice questions and accompanying text and video explanations. Essentially, this app offers your entire SAT prep experience on your smartphone. This is a major advantage for busy students and an easy way to get in your 20-30 minutes of studying per day.
The second app is a flashcards app that covers both English and math. This is a pretty traditional flashcard-style tool and gives the opportunity for some great quick hit studying of key concepts. This app packs in hundreds of flashcards and allows for remote learning (even when you don’t have wifi).
In my opinion, these apps are a major benefit to Magoosh students. High school students are busier than ever, and sitting down at a desktop computer or a laptop at the end of a long day can be a challenge. So being able to work on your material on your phone from the couch or in bed is awesome. These apps both function extremely well and provide serious ease of use for the Magoosh study material.
Magoosh’s Higher Score Guarantee
Another nice feature of the Magoosh SAT prep course is the higher score guarantee. As added security, if you don’t get at least a 100-point bump after using their prep package, Magoosh will give you your money back. Now, before you go thinking that is a wide open promise for a 100-point gain, there are some requirements. Most notably, you need to have taken the SAT before. The score on that prior test is what establishes your baseline for the increase. If you haven’t taken the SAT before, you’re out of luck, which is a bit if a bummer. But if you have taken the test before, this is a nice insurance policy.
Magoosh’s General Refund Policy
Magoosh offers a generous 7-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy with your Magoosh SAT course. If circumstances change shortly after purchasing your Magoosh course, or you just plain change your mind, you can get your money back no questions asked. This is another nice security blanket from Magoosh.
Verdict: Magoosh SAT Prep Course
The Magoosh SAT prep course is a high value, bang for your buck product that should work extremely well for most students. Jam-packed with over 200 video lessons, 1,750+ practice questions (each with an accompanying text and video explanation) and 3 full-length practice tests, our team was thoroughly impressed with these study material offerings for the price. And Magoosh doesn’t skimp on quality. I found the practice problems to be very realistic of official SAT questions, and the accompanying video solutions are the highlight of this course.
While I wasn’t particularly impressed with the format or production value of the video lessons, they were nonetheless thorough and informative. And fortunately they are very short, so they manage to hold your attention for the length of the lesson. All in all, this is a very impressive prep package for the price. If you’re a motivated self-studier and in the market for an effective, but bargain-priced prep option, Magoosh may be an excellent fit for you.
How much does the Magoosh SAT prep course cost?
Magoosh’s SAT prep options range in price from just around $100 up to $400, depending on how many months of access you need and whether you opt for live classes.
Does the Magoosh SAT course come with a prep book?
The Magoosh SAT course does not have an accompanying textbook, as the course is 100% digital. Everything you need is online through the Magoosh portal.
Is Magoosh SAT prep worth it?
100% yes. Magoosh offers a boatload of high-quality study resources for a super low price. The Magoosh course is one of the best values in SAT prep.