The Magoosh test prep system is based on a simple, yet relatively new concept in modern education: no matter how astute, a student will not learn as well as they might if they were able to engage with the material.

How do you make test prep material engaging? For Magoosh, the answer is simple: by bringing the test prep system into the 21st century through a 100% online and digital learning platform that is effective, easily accessible, and perhaps even a little bit enjoyable.

The following go-to guide can help you determine if the Magoosh education system is the right test prep program to help you on your way to the program of your dreams.

About Magoosh

As far as test prep systems go, Magoosh is relatively new to the game. Founded only in 2009 in Berkeley California by a group of students at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, the prep materials were quite literally developed by the students, for the students.

The company’s moniker is an homage to one of the original founder’s Iranian origins, as the term magush in Old Persian denotes a wise or well-educated individual.

Originally limited to a program consisting of only GMAT math practice questions and accompanying video explanations, today, the company offers comprehensive test prep materials and counseling services for the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, IELTS, LSAT, and Praxis exams.

In the company’s 10-year run, more than 1.5 million individuals have used Magoosh services to prepare for standardized testing, and the company was ranked one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc. Magazine.

The Magoosh system – how it works

The Magoosh system utilizes modern technology to offer a study platform where students can easily access everything they need to succeed. This includes a vast database of video lessons and digital practice tests.

Upon subscribing, students are issued their own customized (and customizable) account that allows them to track their progress over the length of the course. At this point, a new user can choose to follow a specific study schedule, decide which problem areas to focus on or a more general approach, and follow lessons as recommended by the Magoosh team based on their performance and activities.

The Magoosh system is based on three elements: progress tracking, adaptive learning, and expert assistance.

Progress tracking is administered through the student’s own customized platform dashboard. This dashboard works to record and display the student’s overall performance, including both the accuracy of questions answered and the pace at which the individual is answering those questions.

Magoosh’s concept of adaptive learning is evident in the variability of the lessons. Rather than requiring that the student adapts to a rigid educational framework, the program itself can be adapted to the student’s style of learning. This includes the user’s ability to flag questions, take notes, and access extra material and resources for each question and lesson.

In addition, written transcripts are provided with each of the company’s self-produced videos to cater to students with different preferences. Practice sessions can also be customized and automatically adjusted based on the performance of the user.

Finally, unlike other prep systems, the online digital platform allows for easily accessible assistance by one of the Magoosh team experts. Users have the option to send a message from their dashboard to a team member if they find they are struggling with a question or concept within the material. A Magoosh expert will then reply within just a few hours.

Course features

With a Magoosh SAT prep subscription, users have access to various course features, including:

  • A study schedule that can be adapted to a timeline
  • More than 200 video lessons
  • Video explanations for every question
  • Up to 3 Magoosh-developed practice exams
  • Over 1,500 practice questions
  • Timed quizzes
  • A data-driven score predictor feature
  • Performance analysis reports
  • The cost-free Magoosh app, compatible with both Android and iOS devices
  • A score increase guarantee of +100 points
  • A risk-free trial, including a money back guarantee
  • Email assistance from Magoosh’s team of tutors

Pros

A cursory search of online reviews for the Magoosh test prep system shows that the product enjoys considerable popularity and favor among users for a variety of reasons. Some of the pros often associated with Magoosh include:

1. Flexibility
When it comes to flexibility within a prep course, Magoosh simply can’t be beat, whether it’s flexibility in schedule, material, or accessibility.

All the material that a user needs to complete the Magoosh course is 100% available online. Unlike other leading prep systems, this means that there are no supplementary DVDs or textbooks that must be purchased and no specific meeting times. On the contrary, the course can be completed anywhere and anytime a user has access to his or her smartphone, tablet, or computer.

2. Study Schedule Selection
Another big plus of the Magoosh system is the range of study schedules that is available for users to choose from. Unlike comparable programs, users who only need a one or two-month program are not pigeon-holed into a 3-month subscription.

Instead, Magoosh offers a range of study plans, from 1-week plans to 6-month plans. Within each plan, students can then either set their own schedule or schedule lessons according to Magoosh’s recommended timeline.

3. Price
Though prices vary according to which test prep system is purchased, users looking to utilize the SAT prep course can purchase a month-long subscription for $79. The 3-month subscription is then $89, and the year-long subscription is available for only $99.

No matter which subscription length users choose, these rates sit well below the monthly rates of comparable programs with similar material access, making the program a great value for most students.

4. iOS, tablet, Android, and computer-accessible
With the purchase of a Magoosh subscription, the program is available for download through the convenient app to most smartphones and devices, including a laptop and tablet.

With the app, all lessons and videos are readily available, including a flash card app that makes it easy and convenient to study where, when, and how you want to.

5. User-Friendly
The Magoosh system is well-designed, and the user-friendly interface is streamlined for easy navigation to keep students from wasting time during use. The customized dashboard clearly displays all relevant information, including notes, tests, practice quizzes for each component of the test.

In addition, users can easily view their progress as well as projected score at any time on the dashboard.

6. Updated Material
The practice questions found on the Magoosh program are developed to mimic those found on the SAT. Their questions are ranked in order of difficulty, and users can easily isolate and flag the questions they need the most practice with to achieve their target score.

One of the major advantages of Magoosh’s material, however, is the fact that it is continually updated. Unlike other programs that are printed in physical copy and only updated when the new edition is printed, the digital Magoosh platform allows for continual, daily improvements and updates to the material so that users have access to only the most up-to-date information.

7. Personalization
Of all the advantages of the Magoosh system, the complete customizability is perhaps the most relevant for users. Each student can pace their study program according to their own study habits rather than adhere to a pre-determined pace.

In addition, users can skip ahead of material they do not need to review and return to material they need more practice with at their own discretion.

Some of the features that can be further customized include:

  • Dashboard
    The dashboard can be easily adapted to a user’s needs and will incorporate more information into the interface over time as the course progresses.
  • Practice Sessions
    The practice sessions are also easily adapted according to what the user needs to focus on in their preparation. This includes changing the level of difficulty of the questions and changing the number and type of problems.The program utilizes a handy feature that allows students to place practice questions in practice mode, where each question is accompanied by a subsequent explanation of how the answer was derived.
  • Notes Section
    Users can place notes and flags on any question, making it easy to return to that exact question for later review or clarification.

8. Explanation Options
Through their various explanation options, Magoosh caters to all types of learners. Some of the explanation modes available to users include:

  • Videos
    Each practice question is accompanied by a 1-3 minute video explanation that offers a more in-depth look at how an answer was derived than a simple text explanation. This feature is particularly helpful for the math section of the SAT.
  • Alternative solutions
    For many more common math problems, there is often both a mathematical and a logical solution. The Magoosh system trains users to identify these problems and develop solutions that are less complex and time-consuming than pursuing a mathematical solution.
  • References
    Magoosh practice problems are accompanied with links to free tutorials, explanations, and related material to help students achieve a more in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the material.
  • FAQ’s
    Questions also include a list of frequently asked questions that refer to common mistakes and misconceptions about the problem for quick reference.

9. Risk-free trial
Everybody learns differently, and despite the Magoosh system’s relative success among students across the US, the system may simply not be for everyone. Students themselves, the program designers at Magoosh are aware of this, which is why they offer their product with a free trial. In fact, if you purchase the Magoosh system and decide to cancel your subscription within 7 days for any reason, Magoosh will provide a full refund for your purchase, no questions asked.

Cons

Despite its popularity, the Magoosh test prep system does suffer from a few drawbacks, including:

1. Self-guided
While the flexibility to go at one’s own pace is often a major plus for users, it can also be a con for those who are not used to or struggle with the concept of self-guided studying. Self-motivation and the ability to commit to holding yourself accountable for the work are a must, and if you are an individual who requires a guided approach to learning, this may not be the program for you.

2. Fewer practice tests than other systems
While other programs typically offer between 6 and 8 practice tests for subscribers, the Magoosh program only allows users to access 3.

3. Score Guarantee
The Magoosh website offers a score improvement guarantee that can be a bit misleading. Though the company affirms that users will see their score improve by a minimum of 100 points, it is important to keep in mind this is only guaranteed for those users who have watched every single one of the 200-some videos and completed each of the more than 1,500 practice questions.

In other words, the entire course must be complete, tip to tail, before a user is guaranteed a 100-point approval (and the subsequent money-back guarantee if that improvement is not met).

4. Passive Video-Watching
While the video explanations are certainly helpful, it is important that users realize that passive video-watching is not a substitute for active participation, and it is important to actually try (and struggle through) problems unguided to develop skill retention.

Remember, simply understanding how a problem was completed does not mean that you automatically can do the same. In other words, no amount of understanding of theory is a substitute for experience.

The Takeaway

By developing a system that brings education out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st century, the Magoosh team has developed a product that is both convenient and effective.

The California-based company’s on-demand subscription plan is one of the most flexible, yet affordable options available on the market, and when used diligently, it can be a valuable addition to any standardized test prep study plan.