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Hi everyone!

Does anyone have expierence with the Magoosh Tutoring app? Is it worth it? I did horrible on my first round of the GRE (specifically qual) and need to do better before applications for grad school start. 

any advice would be appreciated! :)

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I am using Magoosh right now and absolutely love it. I took the GRE once before and used Kaplan to study and did not get the scores I wanted. So this time I started studying with Magoosh and love it and see myself improving. Totally worth spending the extra money. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I love Magoosh! For the price and the amount of practice problems/explanation it provides, is a great value. I strongly recommend. Additionally, Magoosh has some free study apps that I also found helpful.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hey! Short answer, from my point of view, Magoosh is the gold standard when it comes to quantitative prep. [Long answer below.]

A few caveats to that:

- This holds for folks who have either already taken the GRE/know what to expect, and/or do best under a self-guided prep regimen. For those who haven't taken the GRE before or have limited experience with standardized tests in general, or have trouble knowing why they struggle with what they do, or knowing what they need to focus on [or focusing on it even once they do], I recommend some sort of in-person prep. That can, and perhaps should, always be complemented by a series of self-guided lessons. [The first time I took the GRE I used Kaplan, which I still recommend for those seeking in-person classes.]

- Note that I say 'quant prep'. In my opinion, Magoosh's verbal prep is not the best. Here I'm going to disclose my verbal score, only because it's relevant to the point I'm making: the first time I took the GRE [with Kaplan, without Magoosh] I got a 167V. The second time I used Magoosh, but almost exclusively for quant with little to no verbal prep, and got a 170V. [My official GRE score report indicated that I missed one verbal question on the exam.]

Now for the clincher: I really only used Magoosh verbal if I wanted a bit of a break from quant or by default, when taking one of its full-length practice tests. My verbal studying consisted only of watching the Magoosh verbal videos and doing maybe an hour, total, of verbal question sets [over a period of several months]. Several of these questions had 'holes' in them, if you will. For instance, a few failed to acknowledge the various, occasionally arcane, definitions for a single word; a few others tripped over the critical 'says vs. implies' distinction, to which Magoosh itself alerts students in its videos—same with the 'choose the two words that are closest in meaning and best complete the sentence' thing—etc. In short, its verbal questions are not as well-designed as its quant questions [which can't totally be avoided, since the verbal section is more subjective anyhow].

But at any rate, Magoosh estimated my verbal score would be about a 162. There's a big difference between 162 and 170, especially on the verbal. Its assessment of my quant performance was much more accurate—it pegged me slightly lower, but that's because Magoosh's quant questions are more difficult than the ones you see on the GRE, not because they're less well-vetted [as is the case with its verbal]. That, I much prefer.

So: if you want self-guided quant prep, definitely use Magoosh, figure out the areas where you struggle most, and continue to drill those on Magoosh while you also seek out multiple explanation/prep methods for those individual concepts via other media [in terms of rigor, I recommend Khan Academy, Varsity Prep, and Manhattan Prep to a lesser extent]. Above all, teach yourself, and force yourself to learn more than the GRE requires.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for verbal prep, I'd go with Kaplan, although I haven't poked around that much since I tend to do okay on my own there without studying. [Present tense because I'm taking the GRE again soon, for multiple reasons. I'm applying for a PhD and think my Q could still be higher; I want to qualify for tutoring both V and Q, which requires as close to a 340 as possible; and—nerd alert—I've come to really, really love the sense of mastery that comes along with quantitative prep. This was not always innate.]

- Part of the reason I really dig Magoosh quant prep is that it explains the more abstract, conceptual underpinnings of basic mathematical principles. That is, they don't just throw formulas and mnemonics at you. This saves you critical time on the exam that you would otherwise spend recalling material that, yes, you 'know,' but may not understand well ['wait, what happens when I have a fraction with a negative exponent but a radical in the denominator ogawdhaaaaalp me crap crap crap look at the clock counting down nooooo...'—none of that hot nonsense if you use Magoosh].

However, even given the fact that they push you a bit harder to truly grasp the material, it's easy to get 'lazy' and fall back on rote memorization once you've mastered the elementary concepts. You still need to make a concerted effort to guard against that.

- A corollary to the above: as a result, even if you 'get' things like order of operations—or if a part of you feels somewhat insulted by the videos explaining things like proportions or Algebra I or what have you [raises hand bashfully]—DO NOT SKIP THESE VIDEOS. Watch ALL the videos. I was chastened by the number of careless errors that I made in early practice tests that, upon review, I saw were the result of my stress-induced inability to properly differentiate something like the commutative vs. distributive property. That's just an example, but again: watch all the videos. Do all the practice questions. Repeat the practice questions. Watch the explanations for the questions that you answered correctly as well as incorrectly. Record 'lectures' to yourself on your phone and listen to them while running, driving, etc. Play with the GRE, and replace thoughts like 'here, the GRE wants to trick me by ____' with 'here, the GRE is giving me a hint that _____.' [It's sort of a Jedi mind trick that you have to play on yourself, but essentially, start to view the GRE as a friendly, tutelary entity rather than an antithetical one that's out to crush your grad school dreams.]

- Another Jedi mind trick: if you think you're bad at math, but you do well on verbal, I have good news for you. You're not bad at math. Math is a language. Practice it like a language: become fluent in it; learn 'synonyms' for different expressions; do 'close reading' [ayyy sequences—here's looking at you, again and again and agai(n–1)]; figure out 'grammatical structures' for equations, and [if you've ever learned a foreign language, you know this is critical], don't be afraid to go slowly at first. Work through the questions slowly. Take your time and get the principles right, and your speed will pick up. Above all, tell yourself you're good at math, and act like it. Do it when you're tired. Do it when you're stressed. Do it when you're distracted. Do it when you have to use the bathroom. Do it when you think you can't. Because you'll have to do math during each and every one of those scenarios come test day.

 

Anyhow, that's my long-form advice, which is of course worth precisely what you're currently paying for it. I hope it helps at least one person reading this. :)

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21 hours ago, Artifex_Archer said:

Hey! Short answer, from my point of view, Magoosh is the gold standard when it comes to quantitative prep. [Long answer below.]

A few caveats to that:

- This holds for folks who have either already taken the GRE/know what to expect, and/or do best under a self-guided prep regimen. For those who haven't taken the GRE before or have limited experience with standardized tests in general, or have trouble knowing why they struggle with what they do, or knowing what they need to focus on [or focusing on it even once they do], I recommend some sort of in-person prep. That can, and perhaps should, always be complemented by a series of self-guided lessons. [The first time I took the GRE I used Kaplan, which I still recommend for those seeking in-person classes.]

- Note that I say 'quant prep'. In my opinion, Magoosh's verbal prep is not the best. Here I'm going to disclose my verbal score, only because it's relevant to the point I'm making: the first time I took the GRE [with Kaplan, without Magoosh] I got a 167V. The second time I used Magoosh, but almost exclusively for quant with little to no verbal prep, and got a 170V. [My official GRE score report indicated that I missed one verbal question on the exam.]

Now for the clincher: I really only used Magoosh verbal if I wanted a bit of a break from quant or by default, when taking one of its full-length practice tests. My verbal studying consisted only of watching the Magoosh verbal videos and doing maybe an hour, total, of verbal question sets [over a period of several months]. Several of these questions had 'holes' in them, if you will. For instance, a few failed to acknowledge the various, occasionally arcane, definitions for a single word; a few others tripped over the critical 'says vs. implies' distinction, to which Magoosh itself alerts students in its videos—same with the 'choose the two words that are closest in meaning and best complete the sentence' thing—etc. In short, its verbal questions are not as well-designed as its quant questions [which can't totally be avoided, since the verbal section is more subjective anyhow].

But at any rate, Magoosh estimated my verbal score would be about a 162. There's a big difference between 162 and 170, especially on the verbal. Its assessment of my quant performance was much more accurate—it pegged me slightly lower, but that's because Magoosh's quant questions are more difficult than the ones you see on the GRE, not because they're less well-vetted [as is the case with its verbal]. That, I much prefer.

So: if you want self-guided quant prep, definitely use Magoosh, figure out the areas where you struggle most, and continue to drill those on Magoosh while you also seek out multiple explanation/prep methods for those individual concepts via other media [in terms of rigor, I recommend Khan Academy, Varsity Prep, and Manhattan Prep to a lesser extent]. Above all, teach yourself, and force yourself to learn more than the GRE requires.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for verbal prep, I'd go with Kaplan, although I haven't poked around that much since I tend to do okay on my own there without studying. [Present tense because I'm taking the GRE again soon, for multiple reasons. I'm applying for a PhD and think my Q could still be higher; I want to qualify for tutoring both V and Q, which requires as close to a 340 as possible; and—nerd alert—I've come to really, really love the sense of mastery that comes along with quantitative prep. This was not always innate.]

- Part of the reason I really dig Magoosh quant prep is that it explains the more abstract, conceptual underpinnings of basic mathematical principles. That is, they don't just throw formulas and mnemonics at you. This saves you critical time on the exam that you would otherwise spend recalling material that, yes, you 'know,' but may not understand well ['wait, what happens when I have a fraction with a negative exponent but a radical in the denominator ogawdhaaaaalp me crap crap crap look at the clock counting down nooooo...'—none of that hot nonsense if you use Magoosh].

However, even given the fact that they push you a bit harder to truly grasp the material, it's easy to get 'lazy' and fall back on rote memorization once you've mastered the elementary concepts. You still need to make a concerted effort to guard against that.

- A corollary to the above: as a result, even if you 'get' things like order of operations—or if a part of you feels somewhat insulted by the videos explaining things like proportions or Algebra I or what have you [raises hand bashfully]—DO NOT SKIP THESE VIDEOS. Watch ALL the videos. I was chastened by the number of careless errors that I made in early practice tests that, upon review, I saw were the result of my stress-induced inability to properly differentiate something like the commutative vs. distributive property. That's just an example, but again: watch all the videos. Do all the practice questions. Repeat the practice questions. Watch the explanations for the questions that you answered correctly as well as incorrectly. Record 'lectures' to yourself on your phone and listen to them while running, driving, etc. Play with the GRE, and replace thoughts like 'here, the GRE wants to trick me by ____' with 'here, the GRE is giving me a hint that _____.' [It's sort of a Jedi mind trick that you have to play on yourself, but essentially, start to view the GRE as a friendly, tutelary entity rather than an antithetical one that's out to crush your grad school dreams.]

- Another Jedi mind trick: if you think you're bad at math, but you do well on verbal, I have good news for you. You're not bad at math. Math is a language. Practice it like a language: become fluent in it; learn 'synonyms' for different expressions; do 'close reading' [ayyy sequences—here's looking at you, again and again and agai(n–1)]; figure out 'grammatical structures' for equations, and [if you've ever learned a foreign language, you know this is critical], don't be afraid to go slowly at first. Work through the questions slowly. Take your time and get the principles right, and your speed will pick up. Above all, tell yourself you're good at math, and act like it. Do it when you're tired. Do it when you're stressed. Do it when you're distracted. Do it when you have to use the bathroom. Do it when you think you can't. Because you'll have to do math during each and every one of those scenarios come test day.

 

Anyhow, that's my long-form advice, which is of course worth precisely what you're currently paying for it. I hope it helps at least one person reading this. :)

How did you like the Kaplan Verbal stuff? 

The more Magoosh verbal I do the more holes I see in their explanations and questions, so its kind of nice to see others echo this. Ill probably go through the ETS tests after I finish my magoosh course to get a better baseline

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On 6/5/2019 at 9:30 AM, Byrek said:

How did you like the Kaplan Verbal stuff? 

The more Magoosh verbal I do the more holes I see in their explanations and questions, so its kind of nice to see others echo this. Ill probably go through the ETS tests after I finish my magoosh course to get a better baseline

Kaplan Verbal was pretty solid, to my recollection. Part of that had to do with the structure of the in-person classes themselves, however, where we would dissect reading passages line-by-line and get really in depth. One issue with the prep books is that they tend to over-focus on vocabulary, which, if you already perform well on the verbal, isn't going to be much of an issue. ETS seems to be phasing out the 'hey, what abstract and weird word is this and what are some synonyms for it?' sorts of questions. In my opinion, the best way to prepare for any vocab or sentence-completion question on the GRE is to read magazines like The New Yorker. I'm not joking. Read a lot of long-form, high-brow, artistic, literary, and cultural criticism. It will help so much.

I will say that the Magoosh verbal videos were very valuable, but their practice questions—as you note—are not the best.

Also, as a caveat re: ETS material. The prep books themselves are worse than useless. This makes sense, in terms of it being kind of like a standardized test regulatory arbitrage scenario. The regulator is also the competitor. They have a vested interest in manufacturing material that will keep the distribution of their scores relatively consistent. Practically speaking, that means that their explanations are nonexistent—they 'assume' a lot of prior knowledge and often will not provide students with the simplest or most intuitive means of arriving at an answer. If you solve the Quant questions the way that the GRE books pretend you're going to solve them, you'll probably average about 5 minutes per question. Um. 

Their diagnostic/practice tests are also a bit too easy relative to the actual test. My quant score differential was way off for both of their practice tests, compared to my actual score. And not in a good way. (See above comment re: test prep public choice theory...)

I'd recommend using Kaplan, Magoosh, and Manhattan(?) for verbal baseline and prep, as well as reading a lot of elite American cultural/literary reviews.

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