What is the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test, much like the SAT or ACT, but is specifically designed to predict your future performance in graduate or business schools. If you are interested in pursuing a master’s, MBA, or doctoral degree, you will need to take the GRE and achieve great results.

Your final GRE score will be taken into account along with your previous work experience, undergraduate record, and other relevant materials. A poor score can, therefore, negatively affect your graduate school applications.

How is the GRE designed?

The GRE is a multiple-choice style standardized test typically taken online, but traditional tests are also offered just not as frequently. All the questions reflect the kind of material you should be prepared to find in graduate school courses.

The questions are separated into 3 separately timed sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. The analytical and reasoning skills tested in the GRE are vital for your success in graduate or business school. Unlike with other standardized tests, you can skip questions within a particular section and come back to them later. You also have the option to choose which questions you would like to answer first within a section.

Each section has its own grading system:

  • Analytical Writing: a scale of 0 – 6
  • Verbal Reasoning: a scale of 130 – 170
  • Quantitative Reasoning: a scale of 130 – 170

How can I choose the best GRE test prep?

Since the GRE is such an important test in so many student’s lives, there are numerous prep courses available.

There are a few questions you should consider to facilitate the decision-making process:

  1. What score do I want and how much do I need to improve to get there?
  2. What is my budget?
  3. What kind of learner am I?
  4. Does the company guarantee an improved score?
  5. Can I get my money back if the course isn’t a good fit for me?

Let’s take a look at one of the most popular, affordable, and effective GRE prep programs by Magoosh.

Magoosh GRE test prep

Magoosh is one of the leading GRE prep companies available to recent graduates. It is an online on-demand GRE study tool designed to improve student’s scores by at least 5 points. Magoosh students generally see an average score of 6 points higher in each section of the GRE, compared to the other test-takers. According to their internal data, Magoosh users have a median score of 157 for Verbal Reasoning and 159 for math (Quantitative Reasoning). Also, 20% of Magoosh students achieve scores in the top 10%, and 18 alumni earned a perfect GRE score.

Students who choose Magoosh benefit from GRE-similar questions that will help them prepare for test day and refresh the verbal or math skills they may have forgotten since taking the SAT or ACT.

Students can filter questions by type and by difficulty so they can focus on precisely what they need and use their time wisely. There are video and text-based explanations following every single question so students can learn from their mistakes and discover strategies for similar questions.

The Magoosh system also utilizes an adaptive technology to recognize a student’s strengths and weaknesses to adapt the practice questions accordingly. This technology is very similar to that used on the official GRE.

As students complete their practice tests, Magoosh tracks their performance and pace to give feedback. This feedback is visible on the central dashboard and compares a student’s progress and pace to that of other test-takers. This valuable information can help students to re-design their study plans to focus on areas where they might need some extra practice to speed up and stay in line with the rest.

Magoosh is confident users will see an improvement and have a 5-point Score Guarantee in place. If your score does not improve after completing your Magoosh test prep, your costs will be refunded, no questions asked.

Magoosh 1-month plan

The Magoosh 1-month study plan, for $129, is great for students looking for a quick refresh heading into the GRE. Even though the study period may be on the shorter side, it still comes with a +5 points guarantee.

Over 1 month, students have access to over 250 on-demand video lessons, more than 1,200 practice questions, and 3 full-length GRE practice tests. The large question pool covers everything you will need to know come test day, including Math, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.

Students also have access to a weekly or daily study schedule, depending on their needs and study style. These study schedules are a fantastic resource for students who are just starting their GRE prep and are feeling a bit overwhelmed or those who struggle with organizing their study plans. However, these plans are free and can be accessed even if the Magoosh prep plan is not purchased.

Magoosh also offers email assistance and a score predictor within all their prep plans. The score predictor is a tremendous resource as it lets students see how their studying is going and what score they can expect if they keep going on that trajectory. Equipped with this knowledge, they can change their study schedule accordingly and reach the score they need.

Magoosh 6-month plan

The Magoosh 6-month plan is virtually the same as the shorter 1-month plan except more time to access the materials. This plan costs $149 for all 6 months versus $774 for 6 months of the monthly plan.

There are additional study plans to choose from if you are preparing for the GRE for around 6 months in advance. Magoosh offers both general study schedules as well as focused plans for both Math and Verbal skills.

The positives at a glance

  • 7-day free trial
  • Affordable
  • 5-point increase guarantee
  • Accessibility on computers, smartphones, and tablets
  • Practice questions are designed just like the GRE
  • 3 full-length GRE tests
  • Free study schedules that keep students focused and motivated
  • Practice tests and questions adapt to you, your strengths, and weaknesses

The drawbacks at a glance

  • 100% virtual
  • No options for tutoring or in-classroom classes
  • Access is limited to either 1 or 6 months

Final thoughts

Magoosh is a great GRE prep resource. But that doesn’t mean it is a good option for everyone. Whether you are looking to improve your score significantly or just by a point or two, Magoosh is a great option. If you are anxious about your score, it might be better to choose a program, like Magoosh, that offers a 5-point money back guarantee.

When it comes to budget, Magoosh is affordable compared to other prep courses. Magoosh also offers a 7-day money back guarantee if you simply do not like the course for any reason and feel it may not work for you.

If you need face-to-face support, you may want to choose another prep course. If taking practice questions on a laptop doesn’t bother you; however, Magoosh is an excellent option. Email support from Magoosh Test Prep Experts is also available if you need help.

Overall, most students can’t go wrong with Magoosh. It offers the materials and motivational tools necessary to keep students on track leading up to the GRE. So, it won’t hurt to take advantage of the week-long free trial and see if Magoosh is the right fit for your GRE prep goals.